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Final Soyuz launcher integration is underway for Arianespace Globalstar mission from Kazakhstan
by Staff Writers
Baikonur, Kazakhstan (SPX) Jul 08, 2011

A seamless operation from factory to pad.

The payload of six Globalstar second-generation satellites to be orbited on Arianespace's upcoming Soyuz mission from Baikonur Cosmodrome has been integrated to its launch vehicle's third stage.

This advances the July 11 flight's preparations into their final phase, and involved mating of the upper composite - composed of six Globalstar spacecraft and their dispenser system, along with the protective ST-type payload fairing and the Fregat upper stage - to the Soyuz' Block I third stage.

The activity occurred in the Baikonur Cosmodrome's Soyuz vehicle assembly building, known as MIK 40, and will be followed by the final integration step to complete the four-stage Soyuz vehicle.

Arianespace's mission from Kazakhstan will be performed by its Starsem affiliate, which is responsible for commercial Soyuz launches from the Cosmodrome. It is the second of four flights contracted with Arianespace to orbit 24 of Globalstar's second-generation spacecraft. The first such launch was performed in October 2010.

Each of the six Thales Alenia Space-built satellites to be deployed during this flight weigh approximately 700 kg., and they will handle Globalstar's voice, Duplex and Simplex data products and services - including its lineup of SPOT retail consumer products. Developed to last for 15 years, they offer twice the design life of Globalstar's first-generation satellites.

Globalstar was the initial customer for Arianespace's Starsem affiliate, which successfully orbited 24 first-generation spacecraft between February and November 1999 using six Soyuz vehicles.

In subsequent Soyuz missions performed in May and October 2007 by Starsem, eight replacement spacecraft were orbited to join the constellation - which is now being followed by the new series of flights with Globalstar's second-generation relay spacecraft.

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