Russia’s first two Soyuz launch vehicles will arrive at Guiana Space Centre, Europe’s spaceport in French Guiana.

The Soyuz vehicle will become the medium-lift launcher for Arianespace alongside the Ariane 5 heavy-lift launcher.

Soyuz will be lifting communications satellites weighing up to 3t into geostationary orbit, due to the almost equatorial location as compared with the 1.8t from its current launch site in Baikonur.

Soyuz is also suited for the launch of scientific or earth observation spacecraft and constellations of satellites.

Arianespace chairman and CEO Jean-Yves Le Gall said that with Soyuz, shortly to be joined by Vega, Arianespace will have a complete range of launch vehicles, enabling to launch any payload, to any orbit, at any time.

The Russian launcher will lift off for the first time in 2010 from a new launch pad presently under construction.