Mission accomplished! Arianespace and Starsem orbit first six Globalstar-2 satellites
On Tuesday, October 19, Arianespace and Starsem orbited the first six satellites in the Globalstar-2 constellation.
The 1,762nd launch of a Soyuz family rocket (Soyuz-Fregat version) took place at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The launcher lifted off on schedule at 17:10 Universal Time on Tuesday, October 19, 2010 (11:10 pm local time, 7:10 pm in Paris, and 10:10 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 40 minutes after liftoff.
19 missions, 19 successes for the Fregat orbital stage
This latest success for the Soyuz launcher – and for the Fregat upper stage (19 missions, 19 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 18 other satellites comprising the constellation will be launched from Baikonur by Arianespace and Starsem during the first half of 2011.
From February to November 1999, Starsem had launched the 24 satellites in the Globalstar-1 constellation and in 2007 launched eight replacement satellites.
Arianespace is the world’s leading launch Service & Solutions company, providing innovation to its customers since 1980. Backed by 24 shareholders and the European Space Agency, Arianespace offers an unrivalled family of launchers, comprising Ariane 5, Soyuz and Vega, and an international workforce renowned for a culture of commitment and excellence. As of October 1, 2010, Arianespace had launched a total of 283 payloads, including more than half of all the commercial satellites now in service worldwide. It has a backlog of 22 Ariane 5 and 18 Soyuz launches, equal to more than three years of business.
Starsem is dedicated to providing international commercial marketing and operation of the Soyuz launch vehicle from the Baikonur cosmodrome. Shareholders in Starsem are Arianespace, Astrium, the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) and the Samara Space Center (TsSKB-Progress).