Another Soyuz is ready for liftoff at the service of Arianespace - with this workhorse launcher to carry six Globalstar second-generation satellites in a mission scheduled for tomorrow night from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
It will be the third of four flights contracted to Arianespace for the orbiting of 24 second-generation spacecraft in Globalstar's mobile satellite voice and mobile satellite handset data services. The previous two Baikonur Cosmodrome missions with Globalstar's second-generation satellites were performed in July of this year and in October 2010.
As with other Soyuz launches from Baikonur Cosmodrome, it is to be carried out on Arianespace's behalf by the company's Starsem affiliate, which is responsible for commercial missions using the Russian-built workhorse from the Kazakhstan launch site.
This flight will utilize the same basic modernized version of Soyuz that Arianespace has introduced at the Spaceport in French Guiana. The Spaceport's first two Soyuz launches were conducted in October and December of 2011, welcoming the medium-lift vehicle into Arianespace's launcher family for side-by-side operations at French Guiana with the heavy-lift Ariane 5 - which will be joined in 2012 by the lightweight Vega.
For tomorrow's mission from Baikonur Cosmodrome, the liftoff is scheduled at 11:09 p.m. local time on a mission lasting 1 hour, 40 minutes, 20 seconds. During the flight, Soyuz' Fregat upper stage will perform a pair of burns, positioning the Globalstar satellites for deployment in a two-step process. The initial spacecraft pair will be released first from the upper portion of a purpose-built dispenser system, followed 1 minute, 40 seconds later by the remaining four satellites from the dispenser's lower section.
These second-generation Globalstar satellites are trapezoidal in shape and will weigh approximately 700 kg. each at liftoff. Built by Thales Alenia Space, they are mounted on the 6.7-meter-high conical-shaped dispenser system that is integrated with the Soyuz' Fregat upper stage.
Once the constellation of second-generation satellites is fully deployed, it will support Globalstar's mobile satellite voice and data services for commercial and government customers in more than 120 countries.
Tomorrow's mission is designed ST24 in Arianespace's numbering system, signifying the 24th launch with Soyuz performed by Starsem from the Baikonur Cosmodrome. Previous Starsem missions included flights that orbited a total of 32 Globalstar first-generation satellites, which were lifted on eight different Soyuz flights from 1999 to 2007 that carried four of the 450-kg. spacecraft each.
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