Starsem successfully launched the Radarsat-2 satellite for MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd., a leading provider of advanced information solutions to business and government organizations worldwide.
The Soyuz launch vehicle lifted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan right on schedule at 7:17 pm local time on Friday December 14 (1:17 pm UTC; 2:17 pm Paris time). It was the 1728th launch of a rocket from the Soyuz family, the 11th Soyuz mission in 2007 and the 20th successful Starsem launch.
Starsem and its Russian partners confirm that the Fregat upper stage accurately injected the Radarsat-2 satellite into the targeted low Earth orbit at 798 km altitude. Fregat was ignited twice to place the satellite into orbit 53 minutes after lift-off. Satellite acquisition and health status will be confirmed independently by MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd.
Radarsat-2 will become the cornerstone of the Canada’s next-generation commercial radar satellite system dedicated to environmental monitoring, resource and disaster management and mapping in Canada and around the world. This project represents a collaboration between government and industry. MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd. will own and operate the satellite and ground segment. The Canadian Space Agency helps to fund the construction and launch of the satellite and will recover this investment through the supply of Radarsat-2 data to the Government of Canada during the lifetime of the mission.
2007 was marked by three successful flights performed under Starsem’s responsibility. The Radarsat-2 mission was preceded by two Soyuz launches which delivered into orbit eight Globalstar satellites for Globalstar, Inc.
With the introduction of Soyuz at the Guiana Space Center (CSG), this famed Russian medium-class launch vehicle will become an integral part of the European launch vehicle fleet, together with the heavy-lift Ariane 5 and the lightweight Vega. To be offered to the commercial market, the Soyuz at CSG is Europe’s reference medium-class launch vehicle for governmental and commercial missions.
Starsem is the Soyuz Company, bringing together all key players involved in the production, operation and international commercial marketing of the world’s most versatile launch vehicle. Shareholders in Starsem are Arianespace, Astrium, the Russian Federal Space Agency and the Samara Space Center.
Next year, Starsem will launch from Baikonur the Giove-B satellite for the European Space Agency.