The launch campaign for Arianespace’s upcoming Ariane 5 flight from French Guiana has entered its latest phase of preparations, with the mission’s four Galileo satellite passengers being installed on their multi-payload dispenser system.
Two of the four Galileo satellites are shown after their installation on the multipassenger dispenser system, with a third being positioned for its integration.
This activity – performed in the Spaceport’s S3B clean room – clears the way for the satellites’ integration as a single unit atop the heavy-lift Ariane 5, which was transferred earlier this week from the Launcher Integration Building to the Final Assembly Building, where payload integration is set to occur.
Designated Flight VA233, the upcoming mission will mark Arianespace’sfi rst use of Ariane 5 to loft spacecraft for Galileo, following seven previous missions with the medium-lift Soyuz – which carried a pair of satellites on each liftoff. Flight VA233 is scheduled as the company’s ninth launch overall performed so far in 2016, as well as the sixth this year using the heavy-lift workhorse. Arianespace’s full launcher family is rounded out by the light-lift Vega. http://www.arianespace.com
The Russian space agency, Roscosmos have given written warning to the French government that it would take France to court in six months unless France’s Arianespace launch-service company frees up about 300 million euros ($330 million) in long-overdue payments.
In what appears to be an attempt to force France’s European neighbors to apply pressure to Paris, Roscosmos hinted that multiple cooperative space efforts between Russian and the European Union, and with the European Space Agency (ESA), could suffer if the payments are not freed.
The payments, which are not disputed by Arianespace, have been one of the collateral effects of the battle by former shareholders of Russia’s Yukos oil company. In 2014, these shareholders won an initial award of $50 billion from an international arbitration panel in The Hague, Netherlands, against the Russian government for dismantling the company. Since then, the shareholders have been trying to collect Russian government assets wherever theyfi nd a sympathetic legal environment outside Russia, including France and Belgium. In France, different shareholder representatives sought seizure of the Eutelsat and Arianespace payments.
The same dispute has blocked payments to other Russian companies.
In a letter sent to the office of French Prime Minister Manuel Valls, Roscosmos Deputy Director-General Sergey Savelyev said Russia’s work with all European governments could suffer. http://spacenews.com/