Arianespace Soyuz launch schedule unaffected by Russian MS-10 failure


WASHINGTON — An Arianespace Soyuz mission will launch Nov. 7 without any delays resulting from the failure of a crewed, Russian-operated Soyuz launch earlier this month, Arianespace said Oct. 30.

Arianespace of Evry, France, said the Europeanized Soyuz it uses will launch the Metop-C weather satellite from the Guiana Space Center in South America on the same schedule set prior to the Russian mission.

The Oct. 11 failure of the Russian mission from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, resulting in an abort that safely returned a Soyuz capsule carrying U.S. astronaut Nick Hague and Russian cosmonaut  Alexey Ovchinin to the Kazakh steppes, had cast doubt on the schedule of other Soyuz missions. Arianespace said at the time it was still assessing whether there would be any impact on its own launch schedule.

Arianespace does not launch crewed Soyuz missions, and uses a modified version of the crewed rocket to send satellites into space. The Europeanized version is slightly newer, featuring modifications to launch in the high humidity of the Amazon and a digital control system instead of analog.

The Metop-C satellite launch is the second of three Soyuz missions planned before the rocket is used to again carry crew to the International Space Station. Russia’s Ministry of Defense launched a Soyuz rocket Oct. 24 from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome. The third unmanned Soyuz launch, carrying a Progress resupply vessel to the International Space Station, is scheduled for Nov. 18, according to Russian news outlet TASS.

Metop-C is a 4,100-kilogram satellite that will complete a polar-orbiting constellation of three weather-forecasting spacecraft. It will be Arianespace’s eighth launch of 2018 and its second Soyuz launch this year.

The launch is scheduled for 7:47 p.m. Eastern, with satellite separation expected one hour later. Airbus Defence and Space built Metop-C for the European meteorological organization Eumetsat.

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