Soyuz Flight ST26
The remaining two Globalstar satellites for next February’s Arianespace/Starsem Soyuz mission from Baikonur Cosmodrome are now at the Kazakhstan launch site, joining four other spacecraft for checkout and the subsequent integration on their medium-lift vehicle.
Arriving this month aboard a chartered An-124 cargo jetliner at the Cosmodrome’s Yubileiny Airport, these platforms – designated Globalstar FM #21 and FM #25 – were transported across the facility to Starsem’s Payload Processing Facility (PPF), where they entered the final preparation workflow.
February’s launch will be the last of four flights contracted to Arianespace for orbiting of Globalstar’s second-generation constellation – with its previous flights performed in October 2010, July 2011 and December 2011. All of the missions are conducted by Arianespace’s Starsem affiliate, carrying six satellites each.
The second-generation Globalstar platforms are trapezoidal in shape to facilitate their integration on a purpose-built dispenser that fits under the Soyuz payload fairing. The spacecraft were built by Thales Alenia Space.
After reaching orbit next February, the final six satellites will restore full service to Globalstar’s customers, positioning the company as the first mobile satellite service provider deploying a second-generation constellation of low-Earth orbit satellites. Globalstar provides mobile satellite, voice and data services, with products that include mobile and fixed satellite telephones, simplex and duplex satellite data modems and flexible service packages.
The Starsem launch vehicles operated from Baikonur Cosmodrome for these constellation missions are the same basic modernized Soyuz version used by Arianespace at the Spaceport in French Guiana.
February’s Soyuz launch will be the 26th performed by Arianespace’s Starsem affiliate since it begin operations at Baikonur Cosmodrome in 1999. That historic introductory commercial Soyuz flight also was at the service of Globalstar – lofting four of its first-generation constellation satellites.
Date: Dec 13, 2012