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Thu, Dec 29, 2011

Arianespace Confirms Successful Orbits For Six Globalstar-2 Satellites

2011 Was a Good Year For Arianespace

On Wednesday, December 28, Arianespace and Starsem orbited six new satellites of the Globalstar-2 constellation.

The 1,784th launch of a Soyuz family rocket (Soyuz-Fregat version) took place at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The launcher lifted off at 17:09 Universal Time on Wednesday, December 28, 2011 (11:09 pm local time, 6:09 pm in Paris, and 9:09 am in San Francisco). Arianespace, Starsem and their Russian partners confirmed that the Fregat orbital stage accurately injected the six Globalstar-2 satellites into their targeted orbit. Two successive firings of the Fregat stage were needed to carry out this mission. After stabilization of the stage, the dispenser released the two satellites positioned in its upper section; 1 minute and 40 seconds later, the four satellites in the lower part of the dispenser were released simultaneously. The six satellites were injected into orbit 1 hour and 38 minutes after liftoff.

This latest success for the Soyuz launcher – and for the Fregat upper stage (29 missions, 29 successes) – clearly indicates the capabilities of the Samara Space Center (TsSKB-Progress) and NPO Lavotchkine, as well as the skills of the operating teams working under the authority of Russian space agency Roscosmos. Each Globalstar-2 satellite, built by Thales Alenia Space, weighs approximately 650 kg at launch. The new constellation features an optimized design to provide telephone and data transmission services to businesses and individuals in more than 120 countries.

The first 12 satellites of the Globalstar-2 constellation were orbited successfully by Arianespace and Starsem on October 19, 2010 and on July 13, 2011. The 6 other satellites comprising the constellation will be launched from Baikonur by Arianespace and Starsem during the first half of 2012. From February to November 1999, Starsem had launched the 24 satellites in the Globalstar-1 constellation and in 2007 launched eight replacement satellites.

2011 has been good to Arianespace... In the past 12 months, they have orbited eight telecommunications spacecraft for worldwide customers; deployed 12 second-generation satellites for the U.S.-based Globalstar; launched Europe’s second Automated Transfer Vehicle to service the International Space Station; lofted two In-Orbit Validation platforms for the European Galileo satellite navigation service; orbited the Pléiades 1 and SSOT multi-role civilian/defense imaging spacecraft for France and Chile, respectively; and carried four French-developed ELISA demonstrators for defense-related electronic intelligence gathering.  



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