Spaceflight Now: Delta launch report

'Rocket-cam' sees Globalstar satellites flying free in space

Posted: March 17, 2000

  Satellites stacked
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Four satellites stacked atop the Boeing Delta 2 rocket prior to launch. First two separation views show one of the upper-tier satellites moving away from rocket. The bottom image shows one of the lower-tier craft deployed minutes later. Photo: Boeing TV/Spaceflight Now
Boeing's home video collection from the Delta 2 rocket has expanded to include stunning views of the recent deployment of four Globalstar satellites.

The company has had wild success with video cameras mounted on its workhorse Delta 2 rockets over the past few years.

The latest edition was created on February 8 when the final four Globalstar cellular telephone satellites were hauled into low-Earth orbit from Cape Canaveral, Florida.

A camera was mounted atop the specially designed dispensing pole that supported the satellites during flight.

While flying south of Australia at altitude of 571 miles, the first two satellites were jettisoned. The camera tracked one satellite for more than a minute as the craft seemingly moved toward the blue Earth below.

The Delta's second stage then quickly maneuvered itself to the correct position so the other two satellites could be ejected.

Again, the camera followed one satellite of the pair.

Boeing has flown cameras during its previous missions for Globalstar but none provided such a picturesque view with the Earth as a backdrop.

Cameras have also been attached to rockets' exterior to show the thunderous journey off the launch pad.

Seven Delta 2 rockets launched a total of 28 satellites of Globalstar 52-spacecraft constellation. The satellites form a network to provide worldwide cellular telephone, messaging and data transmission services to subscribers.

Globalstar began a strategic service debut last October using a satellite constellation still in the assembly process. Full service is currently available in some select regions of the globe while efforts are underway to roll out the system elsewhere.

Globalstar is led by founding partner Loral Space & Communications along with other telecommunications service providers and equipment manufacturers, including co-founder Qualcomm, Alenia, China Telecom, DACOM, DaimlerChrysler Aerospace, Elsacom, Hyundai, TE.SA.M, Space Systems/Loral and Vodafone AirTouch.

In other news, final preparations are underway at California's Vandenberg Air Force Base for launch of a Delta 2 rocket carrying NASA's IMAGE space weather observatory. Liftoff is planned for March 25 at 2034:43 GMT (3:34:43 p.m. EST) at the opening of an 8-minute window.

Video vault
A video camera mounted on the Boeing Delta 2 rocket shows the top Globalstar spacecraft being deployed.
  PLAY (208k, 21sec QuickTime file)

The bottom Globalstar spacecraft is released from the Boeing Delta 2 rocket as seen by onboard camera.
  PLAY (173k, 17sec QuickTime file)

The Boeing Delta 2 rocket lifts off with the final four satellites for Globalstar's constellation.
  PLAY (224k, 33sec QuickTime file)

Animation shows the Boeing Delta 2 rocket launching four satellites for the Globalstar cellular telephone system.
  PLAY (431k, 1min 14sec QuickTime file)

Flight profile
profileTrack the major launch events for the Delta 2 rocket carrying the four Globalstar satellites on Spaceflight Now's interactive flight profile page (requires JavaScript).

Other coverage
Launch story - A complete report on the Delta 2 rocket launch.

Launch timeline - Chart with times and descriptions of events to occur during the launch.

Orbit trace - Map showing the ground track the rocket will follow during flight.

Globalstar system - Description of the Globalstar satellites and constellation.