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Soyuz launches six Globalstar satellites
Posted: Thu, Dec 29, 2011, 7:37 AM ET (1237 GMT)
Soyuz 2-1a launch of Globalstar satellites Dec 2011 (Arianespace) Less than a week after one Soyuz rocket failed, another successfully placed six Globalstar satellites into orbit on Wednesday. The Soyuz 2-1a rocket lifted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 12:09 pm EST (1709 GMT, 11:09 pm local time) Wednesday and released six Globalstar satellites into low Earth orbits an hour and a half later. The six satellites, each weighing 650 kilograms and built by Thales Alenia Space, are the third batch of second-generation Globalstar satellites placed into orbit. They replace the original satellites that were launched over a decade ago and since suffered failures of S-band transponders, preventing them from relaying phone calls. A final group of six satellites will launch in the first half of 2012. The launch took place just five days after another Soyuz rocket failed to place a Meridian communications satellite into orbit after an upper stage malfunction; this Soyuz used a a different upper stage engine.
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