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Satnews Daily
April 4th, 2011

Arianespace... Pack Of Six To Go (Launch)

[SatNews] May liftoff preparations continue for six 2G satellites...

The six Globalstar second-generation (2G) satellites to be orbited by Arianespace's next Soyuz mission from Baikonur Cosmodrome are well advanced in their preparations as activities continue for the liftoff during May. In a phased process, these 700-kg.-class spacecraft are proceeding through electrical and propulsion system checks, pressurization, fueling and weighing, readying them for integration on a conical-shaped dispenser that subsequently will be installed on the Soyuz launcher.

The ongoing satellite preparations are being performed in the Cosmodrome's Payload Processing Facility (PPF) and Hazardous Processing Facility (HPF) operated by Arianespace's Starsem affiliate, which also will conduct the Soyuz launch on behalf of Arianespace. Globalstar has contracted with Arianespace to conduct a series of four Soyuz launches, each of which will carry six of the second-generation satellites for a total of 24 spacecraft. The upcoming flight in May is the second such mission, following a successful inaugural launch last October. In keeping up the pace, Globalstar plans two additional flights with 60-90 day intervals.

Ongoing preparations of the six Globalstar satellites for launch in May from Baikonur Cosmodrome are highlighted in these photos. At left, one of the spacecraft awaits its turn for processing, while the upper portion of the two-piece dispenser system for Soyuz is visible in the background. The center photo highlights the trapezoidal-shaped second-generation satellite's compact design. At right, one of the satellites is seen from the rear as it goes through the fueling process.

The 2G Globalstar satellites were produced by Thales Alenia Space and have trapezoidal-shaped main bodies that are designed to enable the "cluster" of six to be integrated on a conical-shaped dispenser for each flight. These satellites are designed to support Globalstar's current lineup of voice, Duplex and Simplex data products and services - including the company's lineup of SPOT retail consumer products. They will join eight first-generation Globalstar spacecraft launched in 2007 to form a 32-satellite constellation.