Globalstar has received approval to launch its satellites aboard Soyuz boosters from Baikonur after the USA and Russia reached an agreement governing the launch of US-built satellites by Russia, preventing possible leakage of technology into Iran.

The USA had also been concerned by the fact that millions of dollars-worth of recoverable electronic components were strewn downrange of Baikonur among the debris from 12 Loral Globalstar satellites lost in a Zenit failure in September.

Twenty-four Globalstar satellites are due to be launched aboard six Soyuz vehicles starting in mid-February. The company wants to have 32 satellites in orbit by the summer. Other Globalstar launches planned for this year will be made by Boeing Delta IIs and one Ariane 4. Forty-eight operational craft and four spares will make up the system.

Soyuz and Delta IIs will complete the system in 2000.

Motorola's Iridium company made a $440 million loss in the fourth quarter of 1998, partly as a result of a shortage of sales of mobile telephones and pagers. To date, 86 satellites have been launched and 12 spacecraft have failed. The $5 billion effort will require a continuously available fleet of 66 operational and six spare satellites.

Source: Flight International