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Russia's Soyuz spacecraft with U.S. satellites blasts off from Baikonur

RIA Novosti

06:48 13/07/2011 MOSCOW, July 13 (RIA Novosti) - Soyuz-2.1a space carrier with six U.S. Globalstar-2 communications satellites blasted off on Wednesday morning from the Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan, a spokesman for the Russian Space Agency, Roscosmos, said.

The launch of the spacecraft equipped with a Fregat booster was initially scheduled for July 11 and was later moved to July 12. Both launches were postponed due to various technical reasons during the preparations for the launch.

The separation of the satellites from the Fregat booster is scheduled for 8:39 Moscow time [4:39 GMT]," the spokesman 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.

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