The first three satellites in the Globalstar 2G constellation are ready to be shipped from Thales Alenia Space facilities to the launch site. They will be orbited by Arianespace on a Soyuz launcher in October from Baikonour, along with three other satellites in the first launch batch, to be delivered by the end of August.
Globalstar contracted Thales Alenia Space for the design and delivery of 48 second-generation constellation low Earth orbit (LEO) satellites that will provide mobile phone and data satellite services. These satellites are now under construction at various Thales Alenia Space facilities in France and Italy. The payloads are built in Toulouse; the thermal subsystems and structures in Cannes; part of the side panels in Turin; several payload electronics units are developed and manufactured in L’Aquila; and Madrid where also are manufactured several microwave passive devices; the L-band antennas are produced in Rome and the onboard computer (OBPE) and part of the GPS receiver in Milan. Thales Alenia Space is also responsible for launch support services.
The new constellation will ensure continuation of Globalstar’s coverage beyond 2025, as well as offering a platform for expanded service and innovative solutions. Each 2G Globalstar satellite will weigh about 700 kg and offer end-of-life power of 1.7 kW, and is fitted with 16 transponders from C- to S-band, and 16 receivers from L- to C-band. Beginning in October 2010, the satellites will be launched in batches of six at a time. They have a design life of 15 years.
Thales Alenia Space played a major role in Globalstar’s first-generation program, as supplier of the satellite payloads, structures, propulsion and thermal subsystems, and several electronics units, as well as systems integration of the entire constellation, including an additional eight satellites launched in mid-2007. Thales Alenia Space’s long-term partnership with Globalstar, along with another major contract recently signed in this domain, clearly demonstrate the company’s leadership in constellations, based on proven expertise in system design and telecommunications technologies in general.