Global Stars frustration

GlobalStar was close on Iridium's heels. A Delta II from Canaveral put its first four satellites into orbit on 14 February 1998.H65 By the time of Iridium's initiation of

The first five Iridium satellites are loaded onto the dispenser.

service, GlobalStar had eight of its 48-satellite constellation in orbit, and was planning to launch a further 36 by the end of the year, sending them on three Zenit 2 launchers. The insurance companies were initially reluctant to risk placing so many satellites on a single vehicle, but the overall reduction in cost - if nothing went wrong - was appealing to the operators. GlobalStar was hoping to initiate its service in April 1999.66 However, when a Zenit 2 failed on 10 September 1998 it lost a dozen of GlobalStar's satellites.67 At T + 272 seconds, "a faulty command was issued in the control system, shutting down the engines'', and the vehicle fell to Earth in the Gorno-Altaisk region of Russia. This put Global-Star's plan on hold. The Zenit contract was cancelled, and the remaining manifest divided

Table - Iridium launches

1

5 May 1997

Delta II

5

2

18 June 1997

Proton

7

3

9 July 1997

Delta II

5

4

20 August 1997

Delta II

5

5

13 September 1997

Proton

7

6

26 September 1997

Delta II

5

7

8 November 1997

Delta II

5

8

8 December 1997

Long March 2C-2D

2

9

20 December 1997

Delta II

5

10

18 February 1998

Delta II

5

11

25 March 1998

Long March 2C-2D

2

12

29 March 1998

Delta II

5

13

6 April 1998

Proton

7

14

2 May 1998

Long March 2C-2D

2

15

17 May 1998

Delta II

5

16

19 August 1998

Long March 2C-2D

2

17

8 September 1998

Delta II

5

18

6 November 1998

Delta II

5

19

19 December 1998

Long March 2C-2D

2

20

12 June 1998

Long March 2C-2D

2

21

11 February 2002

Delta II

5

22

20 June 2002

Rokot-Briz-KM

2

Total

95

Note that when Iridium Satellites took over the assets, 88 satellites had been launched, of which 16 had failed and one had just re-entered, so of the 71 satellites remaining in the constellation, five were in-orbit spares and 66 were operational.68

A Delta II model 7920 lifts off with a payload of five Iridium satellites.

An artist's depiction of the Iridium constellation.

into batches of four for launch by either the Delta II or Starsem's Soyuz. The Department of State's requirement that Starsem sign a technology safeguard agreement delayed the resumption of launches to 1999,69 but thereafter deployment was rapid and Space Systems/Loral booked the 12 replacement satellites with Starsem.70

0 0

Post a comment