• For the first time ever, six satellites manufactured by Airbus Defence and Space will be placed in orbit in a single launch
• The six satellites on board the second Soyuz flight out of French Guyana have now been positioned inside the Fregat upper stage
• A dispenser built by Airbus Defence and Space will deploy each satellite to its respective orbit
Sinnamary, 12 December 2011 – Airbus Defence and Space, the European space industry leader, is prime contractor for all six satellites scheduled for launch on 16 December on the second Soyuz flight to be operated out of French Guyana.
This flight marks the first time that six satellites manufactured by Airbus Defence and Space will be placed in orbit with a single launch.
The satellites have now been positioned inside the Fregat upper stage on the launcher, one of the last major operations prior to takeoff.
The satellites will be successively deployed to their respective operational orbits by a dispenser that was also manufactured by Airbus Defence and Space.
The six satellites:
Once in orbit, each satellite will be capable of providing 70cm resolution images, with products down to 50cm following resampling, over a swath width of 20km to the French and Spanish Ministries of Defence, to civilian institutions and to Airbus Defence and Space, the exclusive distributor for the civil market. The Pléiades satellites are extremely accurate, remarkably agile – allowing them to acquire images at any point within 1,500km of their position in different acquisition modes – and also offer unrivalled accessibility, capable of acquiring up to 450 images per day.
The Pléiades constellation will be positioned in a sun-synchronous, quasi-polar orbit at an altitude of 700km.
The launch sequence for this second Soyuz flight out of Kourou calls for Pléiades 1a to be placed in orbit first, followed by the four Elisa satellites and then SSOT.
The six satellites were manufactured at the Airbus Defence and Space site in Toulouse, while the dispenser was built at Airbus Defence and Space’s Barajas plant in Spain.
About Airbus Defence and Space
Airbus Defence and Space is the number one company in Europe and the third in the world for space technologies. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of AIRBUS Group, dedicated to providing civil and defence space systems and services.
In 2010, Airbus Defence and Space had a turnover of €5 billion and more than 15,000 employees worldwide, mainly in France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Spain and the Netherlands. Its three main areas of activity are Airbus Defence and Space for launchers and orbital infrastructure, Airbus Defence and Space for spacecraft and ground segment, and Airbus Defence and Space for comprehensive end-to-end solutions covering secure and commercial satcoms and networks, high security satellite communications equipment, bespoke geo-information and navigation services worldwide.
AIRBUS Group is a global leader in aerospace, defence and related services. In 2010, the Group – comprising Airbus, Airbus Defence and Space, Cassidian and Eurocopter – generated revenues of € 45.8 billion and employed a workforce of nearly 122,000.
Jeremy Close (Airbus Defence and Space UK) Tel.: +44 (0)1 438 77 3872
Gregory Gavroy (Airbus Defence and Space FR) Tel.: +33 (0) 1 77 75 80 32
Ralph Heinrich (Airbus Defence and Space GER) Tel.: +49 (0) 89 607 33971
Francisco Lechón (Airbus Defence and Space SP) Tel.: +34 91 586 37 41