New Launch: 2011 December 28, 1709 UTC
Site: Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan
Launcher: Soyuz 2-1a
International Designator(s): 2011-080A, 2011-080B, 2011-080C, 2011-080D, 2011-080E, 2011-080F
 
SSC Name Owner
38040 GLOBALSTAR M084 GLOB
38041 GLOBALSTAR M080 GLOB
38042 GLOBALSTAR M082 GLOB
38043 GLOBALSTAR M092 GLOB
38044 GLOBALSTAR M090 GLOB
38045 GLOBALSTAR M086 GLOB


"With a rumble and bright orange glow, a Soyuz rocket blasted off and disappeared into frigid clouds over Kazakhstan on Wednesday to deliver six second-generation Globalstar communications satellites to orbit.

"The kerosene-fueled Soyuz launcher lifted off at 1709 GMT (12:09 p.m. EST) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. A blanket of low clouds swallowed the Soyuz 2-1a rocket a few seconds later, but the venerable booster continued downrange, emptying its three core stages in less than nine minutes.

"The launch was managed by Starsem, an affiliate of Arianespace responsible for commercial Soyuz missions from Kazakhstan.

"A Fregat upper stage next fired two times to expertly propel the mission's six payloads into a 572-mile[921-km]-high orbit with an inclination of 52 degrees.

"Mounted on a special dispenser, the six Globalstar communications satellites separated in a two-step process, completing the deployment sequence at 1849 GMT (1:49 p.m. EST).

"The Fregat was supposed to ignite again to de-orbit itself into the Pacific Ocean.

"Globalstar's subscribers use the satellites to place telephone calls and send data messages around the world. Built by Thales Alenia Space, the second-generation satellites feature longer design lives.

"Officials confirmed a ground station communicated with the satellites and verified their health following launch." "Ground controllers will place each of the 1,543-pound [700-kg] satellites on different trajectories to enter the Globalstar constellation. The process will include raising their orbits to an altitude of 878 miles [1,413 km] and carefully piloting the craft into precise positions in the fleet.

"Globalstar satellites are divided among eight orbital planes to evenly spread the spacecraft across the globe.

"The Louisiana-based company's subscribers use the satellite network to make mobile phone calls and data transmissions, especially in rural zones where terrestrial coverage is spotty or non-existent.

"Wednesday's launch was the third of four missions to bolster Globalstar's satellite network. Six more satellites are due for liftoff on another Soyuz booster next year [2012], following up on successful flights in October 2010 and July 2011." [Note: This launch notification was delayed pending identification by USSTRATCOM.]

Source: Spaceflight Now, "Globalstar satellites 'flawlessly' orbited by Soyuz"

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