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Satnews Daily
October 4th, 2010

Arianespace... Six Set For Space (Launch)

[SatNews] All six Globalstar satellites for the upcoming Soyuz flight from Baikonur Cosmodrome have been integrated on their dispenser system, marking a new milestone in this key mission to be performed October 19 for Arianespace by its Starsem affiliate.

This photo sequence highlights several steps in the integration process for Globalstar’s six satellites on Soyuz’s launcher dispenser. At left, the initial spacecraft is mounted on the dispenser’s upper segment. In the center image, three of four spacecraft have been mated to the dispenser’s lower segment, while the upper portion has both of its satellites installed. In the photo at right, the dispenser’s upper segment is hoisted for installation atop the lower portion (visible in the foreground). Photo courtesy of Arianespace

The 2G Globalstar spacecraft were installed in sequence on the two segments of this 6.7-meter-high conical-shaped dispenser, which then were assembled together on September 29. These new 700-kg.-class satellites are larger and heavier than the 1G platforms in Globalstar’s orbital constellation, which provides mobile satellite voice and data services. A total of 32 1G satellites were launched by Starsem on eight Soyuz flights from 1999 to 2007, with those missions lofting four of the 450-kg. spacecraft each.

An overhead view shows the fully-assembled Soyuz dispenser, carrying all six spacecraft. Photo courtesy of Arianespace.
The new dispenser that will make its debut during the October 19 launch is evolved from the system used on previous missions, and is produced in two segments. A pair of Globalstar satellites is mounted on the dispenser’s upper segment, with both to be released at 98.6 minutes into the flight. The other four payloads are installed on the lower section, and will be deployed simultaneously 1.67 minutes later. Arianespace designed the Soyuz dispenser system, which is produced by Astrium and weighs 630 kg. Its two conical sections are manufactured in composite materials, with aluminum rings positioned at the bottom, middle and top that contain attach points for the satellites. Globalstar has contracted four Soyuz launches to carry six of its 2G satellites each, further building the company’s constellation with these 24 new spacecraft.