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Soyuz-FG carrier rocket puts Globalstar satellites into orbit

RIA Novosti

21/10/2007 11:46 MOSCOW, October 21 (RIA Novosti) - A Soyuz-FG carrier rocket launched from the Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan has put four U.S. Globalstar communications satellites into orbit, the Russian Federal Space Agency said on Sunday.

The launch took place at 00:12 Moscow time (8:12 p.m. GMT) and the satellites separated from the Fregat acceleration unit at 01:52-01.55 a.m. Moscow time (9:52-9:55 p.m. GMT) October 21, the agency said.

Globalstar is a low-earth orbit (LEO) satellite-based telecommunications system founded by U.S.-based Loral Corporation and Qualcomm Inc. It provides high-quality satellite voice and data services across North America, and to over 120 countries worldwide.

Commercial launches of Soyuz carrier rockets are managed by Starsem, a European-Russian joint venture, which comprises EADS SPACE, Arianespace, the Russian Federal Space Agency, and the Samara-based Progress design and production center.

Created in 1996, Starsem offers Soyuz rockets for a broad range of mission needs, including satellite telecommunications systems, scientific spacecraft, and Earth observation meteorological platforms.

Each Globalstar satellite consists of an antenna, a trapezoidal body, two solar arrays and a magnetometer, and operates at an altitude of 1,414km (876 miles). The service life of a Globalstar satellite is over seven years.

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