minigallery: First Soyuz rolls to pad at Europe’s Spaceport
Final testing of the Soyuz launch site at Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana began on 29 April with a simulated launch campaign that will end on 5 May.
This dry run ensures that the Soyuz and the new facilities work together perfectly, while allowing the teams to train under realistic launch conditions. It also validates all the procedures during the final phase before launch.
The vehicle was transferred from the preparation building to the launch zone and erected into the vertical position. The mobile gantry was then rolled out to the pad and the vehicle’s upper composite, comprising the Fregat upper stage and payload fairing, was hoisted on top of the launcher.
These tests will give the green light for the first Soyuz flight from French Guiana in the third quarter of 2011.
Slideshow available here.