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Preparations Underway For The Soyuz Launch Of AMOS-2

A Soyuz is backed out of the factory for transport to the pad

Three Glonass Bird Set For Luanch Dec 10
Moscow - Nov 25, 2003 - Three spacecraft of the Glonass global satellite navigation system are being prepared for launch at the Baikonur Cosmodrome.

A heavy Proton-K booster rocket is expected to take the set of navigation satellites into space on December 10, a source in the press-service of the Russian Space Forces told Itar-Tass on Monday.

At present, two Uragan spacecraft and an Uragan-M new-modification satellite are being prepared for launch at the southern cosmodrome. The new-generation Glonass spacecraft has better performance characteristics and a longer service life of seven years in a near-earth orbit.

The Uragan-M satellite has been developed within the framework of the 10-year Glonass federal program that includes several stages of modernization of the Russian space navigation system. The new-generation spacecraft will provide rapid and precise navigation information to numerous customers in any part of the Earth and the near-earth space.

The preparation of the Uragan satellites is proceeding on schedule, according to sources at Baikonur. But the launch can be put off until December 18 in order "to optimise the work schedule of the Baikonur operational crews," the source said.

The date for the launch of the Uragan satellites is due to be set on Monday.

Baikonur - Nov 25, 2003
The AMOS-2 broadcasting and communications satellite is undergoing final checkout at Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan in preparation for its launch on a Starsem Soyuz-Fregat vehicle next month.

Originally planned for a mission aboard Ariane 5, AMOS-2 was rescheduled for a Soyuz-Fregat flight in agreement with the satellite's operator, Spacecom Ltd. The payload shift from Ariane to Soyuz is a demonstration of the launcher family policy developed by Arianespace and its Starsem affiliate to best respond to clients' needs.

AMOS-2 arrived at Baikonur Cosmodrome's Yubileiny airfield on November 10 aboard an Antonov An-124 cargo aircraft, and the spacecraft was transferred to Starsem's clean-room payload processing facility on the launch site.

The AMOS-2 flight will mark the 12th mission for Starsem, which has responsibility for commercialization and operation of Soyuz in the international marketplace. Starsem's shareholders are Arianespace, EADS, the Russian Aviation and Space Agency (Rosaviacosmos) and the Samara Space Center.

This upcoming Starsem flight - designated ST12 - is targeted for the second half of December and will use Soyuz configured with the Fregat upper stage. It will mark the first commercial Soyuz mission to geostationary orbit.

AMOS 2 will have a liftoff mass of 1,300 kg., and is to be positioned at an orbital slot of 4 deg. West, over the Gulf of Guinea. The satellite carries a payload of 22 Ku-band transponders and provides a state-of-the-art platform for the distribution of digital TV channels and business data for private/public networks.

It will be co-located with the AMOS-1 spacecraft (launched by Arianespace in 1996), and is to create a "hot spot" for the Middle East and European markets. A third beam expands access to the North American east coast, creating a link to the IP backbone and other advanced broadband services.

AMOS operator Spacecom Ltd. Is a Ramat Gan, Israel-based joint venture of Israel Aircraft Industries Ltd., Eurocom Group, General Satellite Services Co. And Mer Services Group Ltd.

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Sea Launch Team Prepares for a Three-Launch Opener in 2004
Long Beach - Nov 25, 2003
Sea Launch is currently preparing to launch the Telstar 14/Estrela do Sul 1 communications satellite for Space Systems/Loral (SS/L), a subsidiary of Loral Space and Communications, in January. This mission will be the first of three SS/L 1300 series spacecraft scheduled for launch in 2004. Following this string of missions, Sea Launch will continue launching its 2004 manifest, which currently consists of three additional missions.

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