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Baikonur, Kazakhstan (SPX) Feb 06, 2013
The Soyuz launcher with six Globalstar spacecraft is poised for liftoff from Baikonur Cosmodrome on the final mission currently contracted with Arianespace for this mobile satellite voice and data services provider's second-generation satellite constellation.
After rolling out to Launch Pad no. 6 on Saturday, the three-stage Soyuz, its Fregat upper stage and the payload have undergone their final checkout during the weekend.
Tomorrow's nighttime mission, performed by the Arianespace Starsem affiliate, will have a nominal duration of 1 hour, 40 minutes, with the six satellites being separated in a two-step process from their dispenser system.
This will be the fourth such Soyuz launch performed from Baikonur Cosmodrome by Starsem for Arianespace - following similar missions in October 2010, July 2011 and December 2011 - and it is to complete Globalstar's plan to orbit 24 second-generation satellites.
The modernized Soyuz used for this mission is the same as employed by Arianespace in operations from the Spaceport in French Guiana with the medium-lift vehicle.
Globalstar's second-generation spacecraft weigh approximately 700 kg. each, and are to be injected into a circular phasing orbit, inclined 52 degrees.
Arianespace and Starsem have a long track record of providing on-target launch services for Globalstar's satellite constellations. Prior to the missions with its second-generation satellites, Starsem performed eight flights from 1999 to 2007 that orbited 32 first-generation spacecraft, each weighing 450 kg.
Launch Pad at Space-Travel.com
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