The heads of the European, Russian and French space agencies on May 11 concluded that the inaugural flight of Russia’s Soyuz rocket from Europe’s Guiana Space Center spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana would occur between October and December.

Meeting at the French Guiana facility, the Soyuz Consultation Committee — which includes the three space agencies, the Arianespace launch consortium and Russian Soyuz and ground-segment contractors — assessed the status of the new Soyuz launch pad before concluding that the much-delayed project would be ready for a first launch late this year.

For the past year or more, the most persistent obstacle to the maiden flight has been the construction and delivery of the large mobile gantry for the Soyuz launch pad.