The initial cluster of six Globalstar second-generation satellites was successfully orbited today on an Arianespace Soyuz mission, which was conducted by its Starsem affiliate from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
This flight delivered the six trapezoidal-shaped spacecraft into a circular phasing orbit, utilizing the improved Soyuz version that will be introduced by Arianespace at the Spaceport in French Guiana next year.
Today’s mission is the first of four Soyuz launches booked with Arianespace to deploy a total of 24 second-generation satellites, which will support Globalstar’s current lineup of voice, Duplex and Simplex data products and services. Once the next-generation Globalstar ground network is installed, the advanced constellation also will provide customers with enhanced future services that feature increased data speeds of 256 kbps. in a flexible Internet protocol multimedia subsystem configuration.
The Globalstar satellites lofted by Soyuz were installed on a purpose-built dispenser system that carried two spacecraft mounted on its upper section and four on the lower portion.
Lifting off from Baikonur Cosmodrome’s Launch Pad #6 at 11:10 p.m. local time on October 19, the spacecraft were deployed during a two-step process – with separation occurring at 1 hr. 38 min. and 1 hr. 40 min. into the flight. This followed the powered flight of Soyuz’ three main stages lasting 8 min. 49 sec., and two burns of the Fregat upper stage – which were separated by a coast phase of approximately 50 min.
“We are proud to know that today’s six satellites will become the cornerstone of the Globalstar second generation constellation, and we look forward to our continued participation in the Globalstar success,” said Arianespace Chairman & CEO Jean-Yves Le Gall.
He noted that Globalstar was the first customer for the Starsem affiliate, which successfully orbited 24 first-generation spacecraft between February and November 1999 using six Soyuz launchers. In follow-on Soyuz missions performed by Starsem in May and October 2007, eight replacement spacecraft were orbited to join the Globalstar constellation.
“Today, we are very happy to have successfully launched the ninth Globalstar Soyuz, and we are ready to get right to work for the tenth launch,” Le Gall added.
The six Globalstar satellites orbited today weighed approximately 700 kg. each, and carry 16 transponders from C-to S-band, and 16 receivers from L- to C-band.
For additional information, see the press release.