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Default Soyuz 2-1a/Fregat with six Globalstar-2 satellites, February 6, 2013
by Galactic Penguin SST 02-05-2013, 05:57 AM

Last time when the New Jersey based low orbit satellite communication company is launching a satellite, it was during a snowstorm night, the Soyuz rocket has just failed a week ago, the satellites had teething reaction wheel failures, and the market for large constellations of low orbit communication satellites was struggling. Luckily all of these seems to be gone by now, and the next cluster of second-generation Globalstar satellites to be orbited by Arianespace is ready for launch on a Soyuz vehicle that will lift off today from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

The February 6 launch will be conducted by Starsem on Arianespace’s behalf, and is the third of four missions contracted by Globalstar to orbit 24 of its second-generation spacecraft for the service provider’s mobile satellite voice and mobile satellite handset data services.

This is the fourth sextet of Globalstar satellites launched by Soyuz over the last two years. The three previous ones happened on October 19, 2010, July 12/13, 2011, and December 28/29, 2011. In total, if everything goes well, there will be four senary launches for benefit of Globalstar Inc.

This is also the 26th (and currently the final) launch for the Starsem company that runs commercial Soyuz launches from the Baikonur cosmodrome since 1999. Its future is uncertain with the opening of the new Soyuz pad at French Guiana and tension between Russia and Kazakhstan about the world's largest spaceport.

Launch location:

Baikonur Launch pad no. 31/6 45°59'46.16"N, 63°33'51.29"E

Launch times
Time ZoneAustralia - Sydney/AESTBaikonur (UTC+6)Moscow / MSKS (UTC+4)/Universal / UTCWashington / EST
Launch time:03:04:2422:04:2420:04:2416:04:2411:04:24
on:Feb. 7, 2013Feb. 6, 2013Feb. 6, 2013Feb. 6, 2013Feb. 6, 2013
*Click here to restart the timer* Senary Globalstar-2 Launch

Live Coverage Of The Launch:

TSENKI video streams (Russian + English)

Arianespace Webcast

Launch Press Kit:


Six Globalstar-2 satellites.

Spacecraft Overview

The new Globalstar second-generation low-earth-orbit (LEO) satellite is a three-axis stabilized spacecraft consisting of a trapezoidal main body with two solar arrays. In 2006 Globalstar contracted Thales Alenia Space for the design, manufacture and delivery of its second-generation constellation satellites. The first six satellites being launched were delivered to Globalstar in August of this year.

The new Globalstar spacecraft has a design life of 15 years or twice the design life of the first-generation Globalstar satellite. To help ensure the reliability of the design life, the second–generation robust architecture has placed particular emphasis on redundancy management and the radiation environment of the Globalstar operational orbit. In addition, each functional chain of the spacecraft was carefully analyzed for implementation of redundancies and tolerances to minimize single point failures.

Each second-generation Globalstar satellite weighs approximately 700 kg, offers power of 2.4 kW, is fitted with 16 transponders from C-to S-band, and 16 receivers from L- to C-band. The satellite's trapezoidal body is fabricated from rigid aluminum honeycomb panels. The trapezoidal shape was selected to conserve volume and to allow the mounting of multiple satellites under the launch vehicle's payload fairing.

The satellite operates in a body-stabilized, three-axis attitude control mode and uses sun sensors, Earth sensors, and a magnetic sensor to help maintain attitude. The satellite utilizes thrusters for orbit-raising, station-keeping maneuvers and attitude control. The spacecraft's thrusters are fueled from a single on-board propellant tank.

The two solar arrays provide the primary source of power for the Globalstar spacecraft, while batteries are used during eclipses and peak traffic periods. The solar panels automatically track the sun as the satellite orbits the Earth, providing maximum possible exposure to the sun's energy.

The heart of a Globalstar satellite is its communications systems. These systems are mounted on the Earth deck, which is the larger of the two rectangular faces on the satellite's body. There are C-band antennas for communications with Globalstar gateways, and L- and S-band antennas for communications with user terminals. Designed with the same frequencies and beam patterns which are compatible with existing gateway antenna and ground infrastructure, each second-generation satellite can be mixed seamlessly with Globalstar’s first-generation satellite operations.

Four launches of six satellites each will be conducted by Arianespace using the highly reliable Soyuz launch vehicle. The Soyuz has been used to successfully launch Globalstar satellites on nine previous occasions. Once the first six new Globalstar satellites are in operational orbit, the most immediate service improvement will benefit those customers who use the Company’s voice and Duplex data services. With each subsequent launch, these customers can expect a progressive return to the high reliability and service quality enjoyed before 2007.

The second-generation 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. Once the Company’s next-generation ground network is installed, the advanced constellation will also provide Globalstar customers with enhanced future services featuring increased data speeds of up to 256 kbps in a flexible Internet protocol multimedia subsystem (IMS) configuration. Products and services supported are expected to include: push-to-talk and multicasting, advanced messaging capabilities such as multimedia messaging or MMS, geo-location services, multi-band and multi-mode handsets, and data devices with GPS integration.

The payloads are built in Toulouse; the thermal subsystems and structures in Cannes; part of the side panels in Turin; several payload electronics units are developed and manufactured in L’Aquila and Madrid, which also produces passive microwave devices; the L-band antennas are produced in Rome and the onboard computer (OBPE) and part of the GPS receiver in Milan. Thales Alenia Space is also responsible for launch support services.

  • Globalstar Inc.
Prime contractor:
  • Thales Alenia Space
Mass at Separation:
  • 693 kg
  • 3 axis stabilized
  • ?
  • 1.7 kW at the end of service
Life time:
  • 15 years
  • 32
  • L-, S-, C-
  • Aluminium frame, honeycomb panels
  • Single propellant engine (Hydrazine, 154 kg), with variable thrust (4:1), 4 RCS engines 1 N thrust each, Magnetic momentum engines.
  • ERC-32SC 32-bit RICS processor, 14 MIPS microprocessors, Memory: SRAM 512 kb, EEPROM 128 kb
LEO Navigation:
  • Using GPS.

Launch Vehicle:

Prime contractor:
  • Samara Space Centre (Energia Holding enterprise)
GRAU Index:
  • 14A14
51.1 m
max 10.3 m
Liftoff mass:
313 metric tonnes
Payload mass:
up to 6830 kg (a launch to LEO from Plesetsk)
1st stage (boosters B, V, G, D):
  • 4 X RD-107 engines
  • Propellants (T-1 Kerosene and LOX)
  • Thrust/ISP in vacuum - / 320.2 s
  • Thrust/ISP at sea level 85.6 tonnes / 263.3 s
2nd stage (core A):
  • 1 X RD-108 engine
  • Propellants (T-1 Kerosene and LOX)
  • Thrust/ISP in vacuum 94 tonnes / 320.6 s
  • Thrust/ISP at sea level 80.8 tonnes / 257.7 s
3rd stage (block I):
  • 1 X RD-0110 engine
  • Propellants (T-1 Kerosene and LOX)
  • Thrust/ISP in vacuum 30.38 tonnes / 326 s
Upper Stage:
  • GRAU Index: -
  • Common Name: Fregat (meaning Frigate)
  • Designer & Manufacturer: Lavochkin Association (NPO)
  • Dimensions: Length 2.4 m, Diameter (max) 3.350 m
  • Empty Mass 930 kg
  • Propellants 5250 kg max
  • Main Engine: 1 X S5.92
  • Thrust in vacuum 2.0 tonnes of force (full power)
  • Thrust in vacuum 1.4 tonnes of force (small power)
  • ISP 333.2 s
Payload Fairing:
  • Diameter 3.7 m
  • Length 7.7 m

The launch vehicle's reliability standings

According to http://www.spacelaunchreport.com/log2013.html#rate:

Vehicle     Successes/Tries Realzd Pred  Consc. Last     Dates    
                             Rate  Rate* Succes Fail    
Soyuz 2-1a/Fregt 11    12#   .92  .86      9    5/21/09  2006-

# Does not include one successful suborbital Soyuz 2-1a test 
   flight performed in 2004.
Launch Profile

The nominal mission duration (from lift-off to the last spacecraft separation) is 1 hour, 40 minutes, 20 seconds.

Weather forecast for Baikonur, Kazakhstan for February 5, 2013 (10 p.m.)

Partly cloudy. Low of -6C with a windchill as low as -12C. Breezy. Winds from the East at 15 to 20 km/h.

TimeTempsWind ChillDew PointRelative HumidityPrecipCloudsPressureWindWeather
11 PM-6°C-12°C-10°C73%0%53%1033 hPaE 19 km/h Partly Cloudy

Source References

Last edited by Galactic Penguin SST; 02-05-2013 at 02:31 PM. Reason: Launch posponed by 24 hours
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Old 02-05-2013, 02:26 PM   #3
Galactic Penguin SST
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Oops, launch postponed for 24 hours because of the exceedingly rough blowing jetstream at 8-10 km high....... see you tomorrow then! (also see the revised launch report above)

Last edited by Galactic Penguin SST; 02-05-2013 at 02:32 PM.
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Old 02-06-2013, 03:48 PM   #4
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Arianespace live coverage started.
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Old 02-06-2013, 04:33 PM   #5
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Launch is nominal, Fregat upper stage separated.
Spacecraft’s separation should happen between 17:43 and 17:44 UTC
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Old 02-06-2013, 05:58 PM   #7
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Launch success confirmed!

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Old 02-07-2013, 06:26 AM   #9
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6 satellites with 1 R-7 rocket is what I call cost-efficiency
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