A Boeing Delta II placed four satellites into orbit today for the emerging Globalstar telecommunications company.
At 9:48 a.m. EDT the first of four Delta II vehicles slated to carry Globalstar satellites into orbit for Space Systems/Loral over the next 90 days lifted off from Pad B at Space Launch Complex 17. The satellites were separated in pairs from the launch vehicle, with the first pair placed into orbit 69 minutes after liftoff and the second pair 73 minutes after liftoff.
Globalstar plans to begin offering commercial services in the third quarter of this year, once the company has 32 satellites in orbit, according to officials at the San Jose, Calif., communications company. To accommodate Globalstar's business plan, the Boeing Delta launch team will use both launch pads at SLC-17.
"Having both pads available to us at the Cape allows us to meet Space Systems Loral's launch schedule," said Darryl Van Dorn, director commercial and NASA Delta programs. "Our facilities give us a great deal of flexibility and allow us to adapt quickly to our ever-changing manifest."
The Globalstar network is a planned constellation of 48 satellites orbiting at 764 nautical miles (1414 km) above the Earth. The Globalstar network will supply global mobile telephony service.
Boeing has four additional Delta II launches scheduled this year in support of system.
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