July 13, 2011

Soyuz Launches Six US Satellites Into Orbit

The Russian space agency (Roscosmos) said today that a Soyuz rocket successfully carried six U.S. Globalstar satellites into orbit on Wednesday after postponing the launch twice earlier this week.

Roscosmos said in a statement that the rocket blasted off from Russia's Baikonur cosmodrome, which it leases from Kazakhstan.

The launch of the Globalstar-2 satellites had been initially scheduled for Monday.  However, it was postponed twice for technical reasons, according to the space agency.

Globalstar is the first of the major satellite-phone companies to start upgrading their systems.

Globalstar said its $1 billion replacement program will not only restore the network to full capability but significantly enhance the services like Spot that it is able to offer in the future.

Russia fired the head of its space agency in April after a series of mishaps cast a shadow over its space program.

The country suffered one of its most embarrassing space failures in December when three navigation satellites for the new Glonass system crashed into the ocean off Hawaii instead of reaching orbit.


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