A new satellite design will debut with Friday’s launch of a Russian-built Soyuz rocket from French Guiana on a commercial mission to relay video, data and voice messages between the Americas and Europe.
These photos show the Hispasat 36W-1 communications satellite being transferred Jan. 24 from a preparation facility to the Soyuz launch pad at the Guiana Space Center on the northeastern coast of South America.
The 7,100-pound (3,220-kilogram) spacecraft is already filled with its supply of hydrazine fuel for maneuvers once in space. In the days before rollout to the launch pad, ground crews attached the satellite to the Soyuz rocket’s Russian Fregat upper stage and encapsulated them inside the launcher’s nose fairing, which protects the payload during the first few minutes of flight.
Built by OHB System AG of Bremen, Germany, the Hispasat 36W-1 satellite is launching on a 15-year mission for Madrid-based Hispasat. It is based on a newly-designed satellite platform called “SmallGEO” with funding from the European Space Agency in a public-private partnership with OHB and Hispasat.
Liftoff is scheduled for 0103 GMT Saturday (8:03 p.m. EST; 10:03 p.m. French Guiana time Friday) on the 16th Soyuz flight from South America.
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