Russian carrier rocket "Soyuz-ST" today successfully placed in orbit four European communications satellite O3b. This was reported by the company, "Arianespace" that controls the spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, from where the rocket was launched.
After a day delay due to weather "Soyuz-ST" kicked off on Tuesday at 23:27 MSK. After two and a half hours of his fourth stage — Russia’s upper stage "Fregat" brought satellites into equatorial orbit at an altitude of eight thousand kilometers.
The total mass of the four telecommunication satellites O3b Networks is 2.8 tons. These devices, created by Thales Alenia Space, will provide communications and Internet access for users in Asia, Africa, Australia, South America and the Middle East.
Until the end of 2014 into an orbit to be withdrawn eight more satellites O3b. This will provide access to the Internet in the poorest countries of the world. Using lighter satellite / mass of about 650 kg / over conventional geostationary / 4 to 6 tons /, and output them to a lower orbit / 8 thousand kilometers over 35.8 thousand km / should make a connection with them cheaper.
Carrier rocket "Soyuz" was launched from Kourou for the fifth time. Due to the proximity to the equator of the spaceport, "Union" can there be put into orbit heavier satellites than starts from Baikonur or Plesetsk. The first launch of the "Union" was held from Kourou in 2011. In accordance with the intergovernmental agreement signed by France and Russia in 2003, especially for the launch Russian missiles at the Guiana Space Centre was built a new launch complex. At the beginning of the construction of a stone was brought back to the "Gagarin’s Start" at Baikonur.
In contrast to the Russian space centers where the rockets "gather" in a horizontal position on the launch pad, "Unions" in Kourou, you can mount the payload to the launch vehicle, which is in the upright position. This corresponds to the standards of the western sector of space.
The European Space Agency / ESA / does not have its own booster middle class. The use of Russian "Soyuz" allows ESA to provide a full range of services for cargo delivery to orbit.