On Wednesday 6 February, Arianespace and Starsem orbited six new satellites of the Globalstar-2 constellation.
The 1,799th launch of a Soyuz family rocket (Soyuz-Fregat version) took place at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The launcher lifted off at 16:04 Universal Time on Wednesday 6 February 2013 (10:04 pm local time, 5:04 pm in Paris and 8:04 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 1 hour and 38 minutes after lift off 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.
This latest success for the Soyuz launcher - and for the Fregat upper stage - clearly indicates the capabilities of the Samara Space Centre (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 constellation features an optimized design to provide telephone and data transmission services to businesses and individuals in more than 120 countries.
The first 18 satellites of the Globalstar-2 constellation were orbited successfully by Arianespace and Starsem in 2010 and 2011.
In 1999, Starsem had launched the 24 satellites in the Globalstar-1 constellation and in 2007 launched eight replacement satellites.