Preparations for two additional Soyuz launches are now underway at Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan for missions to be performed by the Starsem affiliate of Arianespace before year-end in building up Globalstar’s second-generation satellite constellation.
Seven of Globalstarís second-generation satellites to be launched on the upcoming Soyuz missions are shown at Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
Arianespace has been contracted to conduct a total of four such launches, carrying six satellites on each flight for Globalstar’s mobile satellite voice and mobile satellite handset data services.
Two missions with the second-generation satellites already have been performed – the first in October 2010, and the most recent last month.
A total of eight additional Globalstar second-generation satellites have been delivered to Baikonur Cosmodrome: six are being prepared for the upcoming flight in October, and the others will be ready as the initial two payloads for the following mission that also is planned in 2011.
To date, the highly reliable Soyuz vehicle has been used in 10 Globalstar launches. Six Soyuz missions performed from February to November 1999 carried four first-generation Globalstar satellites each – with these 24 spacecraft representing one-half of the company’s original constellation.
In May and October 2007, two follow-on Soyuz missions lofted four additional satellites each to join the Globalstar constellation. They were followed last October by the first mission contracted with Arianespace to orbit six of the second-generation spacecraft per launch.
The current flights for Globalstar use Soyuz 2 versions of the Russian-built medium-lift workhorse launcher, which has the ST-type payload fairing with a diameter of 4.1 meters and an overall length of 11.4 meters. The six trapezoidal-shaped Globalstar satellites – supplied by Thales Alenia Space – weigh approximately 700 kg. each at liftoff and are mounted on a 6.7-meter-high conical-shaped dispenser system that is installed along with the Fregat upper stage under Soyuz’ payload fairing.