Starsem/Arianespace Flight ST12

ST12 launcher on Pad #6
The ST12 launch vehicle
December 28 post-launch wrapup: Success for Flight ST12 --
The AMOS 2 satellite is in orbit!

Flight ST12 marked another success for Starsem today, placing Israel's AMOS 2 telecommunications satellite into geostationary transfer orbit using a Soyuz/Fregat vehicle launched from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

This multi-phase flight injected the 1,374-kg. AMOS 2 into orbit at 6 hours, 47 minutes into the mission, following three burns by the Fregat upper stage.

It was the 1,684th mission for a Soyuz family vehicle, and it marked the first Soyuz flight to geostationary transfer orbit.

The Soyuz/Fregat vehicle lifted off from Baikonur Cosmodrome's Launch Pad #6 at 2:30 a.m. local time (21h30 GMT, 10:30 p.m. at Paris, and 11:30 p.m. in Tel Aviv on December 27), lighting up the night sky as it ascended on the thrust of its four first-stage boosters and the core second stage.

Flight ST12 marked the 12th mission for Starsem, and it was a joint effort with Arianespace that resulted from the two companies' flexible launcher family policy. The satellite originally was scheduled for an Ariane 5 launch, but was switched to Soyuz/Fregat in a decision that was made in coordination with the client.
Soyuz ignition on Pad #6 (Photos: AFP/Maxim Marmur).

AMOS 2 was designed and built by the MBT Space Division of Israel Aircraft Industries, and is equipped with a Ku-band transponder payload for direct-to-home video broadcasting, Internet and data transmissions.

"We would like to especially thank Starsem and Arianespace, which have spared no effort for this launch, handled with exemplary professionalism," said Joseph Weiss, General Manager of Israel Aircraft Industries' Space Division. "I will not soon forget the majestic vision of Soyuz as it lifted off."

The three-axis stabilized spacecraft has a design lifetime of 12 years and will provide Israeli telecommunications operator Spacecom Ltd. with additional relay capacity over Europe, the Middle East and the U.S. East Coast. AMOS 2 is to be co-located at an orbital position of 4 deg. West along with the AMOS 1 spacecraft (which was launched by Arianespace in 1996).

"On behalf of Starsem and Arianespace I would like to thank IAI for its renewed confidence," Starsem Chairman and CEO Jean-Marie Luton said after the ST12 mission's successful completion. "I also would like to thank our Russian partners for this first success to GTO orbit with the prestigious Soyuz launch vehicle."

Luton added that Flight ST12 further underscored the industrial capabilities of the Samara Space Center - which produces the Soyuz launcher - as well as the availability of Russian teams in charge of Soyuz operation, managed by the Russian Aviation and Space Agency.

Previous mission updates for ST12:
  • To read the December 24th update, "The Soyuz/Fregat is in the launch zone!", click here.
  • To read the December 15th update, "The Fregat upper stage is fueled and ready for integration with AMOS 2", click here.
  • To read the December 12th update, "Fueling of the AMOS 2 satellite is complete," click here.
  • To read the November 26th update, "Pre-launch checkout underway for the AMOS 2 satellite," click here.
  • To read the November 18th update, "Preparations have begun for the liftoff of AMOS 2 ," click here.
  • To see the latest headlines click here.