Arianespace delays satellite launch aboard Soyuz rocket until tomorrow

Arianespace has had to delay its VS26 launch due to the threat of lightning, but it has been rescheduled for the following day.

Published Sat, Dec 4 2021 12:30 AM CST   |   Updated Tue, Dec 28 2021 11:20 PM CST

Arianespace's launch of two Galileo FOC (Full Operation Capability) global navigation satellites has been temporarily delayed.

Arianespace delays satellite launch aboard Soyuz rocket until tomorrow 01 |

The VS26 launch was 8 minutes and 22 seconds from lift-off but was scrubbed due to the risk of lightning in poor weather. It has been rescheduled for 21:19 local time in Kourou on December 4th (00:19 UTC on December 5th).

The rocket used for the mission is a four-stage Soyuz ST-B Fregat and will be launching from the Guiana Space Center, the first Soyuz rocket from there in 2021. Soyuz rockets have been used to launch Galileo satellites before. The first two test-bed Galileo satellites were launched aboard a Soyuz rocket in December 2005 and April 2008, respectively, and were ultimately retired in July 2012. Other Galileo launches have also involved Soyuz, but they can only carry two at a time, so Arianespace has also used its Ariane 5 ES to carry four at a time for multiple launches.

Galileo is a constellation of global position/navigation satellites commissioned by the European Space Agency (ESA) and European Union (EU). 28 satellites currently make up the constellation (including the retired two), and now, more than three years after the last addition, another two are being added with this launch. Galileo-FOC FM23 and FM24 will be the next to join the constellation.

Here you can view the livestream of the attempted launch, and you can expect to find a livestream of the second attempt on Arianespace's channel soon.

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