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LAUNCH VIDEO: Australian defence satellite

A NEW SATELLITE was successfully launched in Kazakhstan last week, which will improve communications abilities for Australian Defence Force personnel operating in the Middle East.

The IS-22 satellite was launched from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The launch was managed by Intelsat, an international satellite service provider.

(With the video above, you might like to forward to the 3:00 point, as nothing much happens before then.)

The Australian Defence Force has purchased an Ultra High Frequency communications payload, which forms part of the satellite. More than 30 per cent of the satellite is dedicated to Australian Defence communications.

“This satellite means we will be able to transmit voice and data anywhere between the west coast of Africa and the east coast of Australia,” said Minister for Defence Materiel Jason Clare. “It will make it easier for commanders in Australia to provide troops on the ground with information faster and more effectively.

“It will also mean that troops can provide intelligence and information back to Headquarters.”

Currently, the ADF has limited use of United States’ satellites in this region.

The launch of the IS-22 means that Australia now has its own dedicated Defence satellite communications network in this region.

The satellite will also be used for commercial purposes, but Defence has put in place high level security measures including data encryption to protect ADF communication links.

The $269 million program has delivered the project on time and within budget. Intelsat is contracted to operate the satellite for 15 years after launch.

The following video from Boeing gives us a behind-the-scenes look at the satellite before launch:

Adapted from information issued by the Australian Government / Boeing / Intelsat.

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Soyuz launches crew to the Space Station

IT WAS A COLD, SNOWY DAY at Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan as Expedition 29 Soyuz Commander Anton Shkaplerov, NASA Flight Engineer Dan Burbank and Russian Flight Engineer Anatoly Ivanishin launched on the Russian Soyuz TMA-22 spacecraft to begin a two-day journey to the International Space Station.

The trio will dock with the station on November 15, USA time, to start a five-and-a-half-month stay on the complex, joining station Commander Mike Fossum of NASA, Russian Flight Engineer Sergei Volkov and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency Flight Engineer Satoshi Furukawa, who have been on the outpost since June.

Adapted from information issued by NASA.

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Russian rocket prepares for lift-off

Soyuz-2.1a rolling out to the launch pad at Baikonur

The Soyuz-2.1a rocket with the Fregat upper stage and 6 Globalstar-2 satellites has been rolled out to launch pad 31 at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

AT THE BAIKONUR COSMODROME in Kazakhstan, a Soyuz-2.1a/Fregat rocket is being prepared for launch with a payload of six communications satellites for the Globalstar company.The Soyuz is one of the world’s most reliable commercial launch vehicles. On October 19, 2010 a Soyuz booster was used to successfully launch six new Globalstar second-generation satellites. It was also successfully utilized on eight previous occasions to launch Globalstar’s first generation satellites. Later this year Globalstar plans to conduct two additional launches of six satellites per launch also using the Soyuz. The human-rated Soyuz launcher is used to transport astronauts and cosmonauts to the international space station.

The Globalstar second-generation satellite constellation is designed to last for 15 years, twice the lifespan of Globalstar’s first generation satellites.

Launch is due for 0258 GMT on July 11. To get an idea of what it will be like, here’s a video of a similar Russian launcher lifting off from Baikonur:

And here’s a bunch of photos of the Soyuz being prepared for launch:

Soyuz-2.1a rolling out to the launch pad at Baikonur

Soyuz-2.1a is the latest version of the venerable Soyuz rocket family.

Soyuz-2.1a rolling out to the launch pad at Baikonur

This Soyuz-2.1a has a Fregat upper stage attached, enabling it to carry a heavier payload.

Soyuz-2.1a rolling out to the launch pad at Baikonur

The Soyuz-2.1a is 46.1 metres high, 2.95 metres wide on its main body, and weights 300 tonnes.

Soyuz-2.1a rolling out to the launch pad at Baikonur

Soyuz rockets can be launched from Baikonur in Kazakhstan, Plesetsk in Russia, and soon from the French spaceport near Kourou in French Guiana.

Soyuz-2.1a rolling out to the launch pad at Baikonur

The modern 2.1a version of the Soyuz launcher has improved engines and a new digital flight control system.

Soyuz-2.1a rolling out to the launch pad at Baikonur

Since May 2009, there have been five successful Soyuz-2.1a launches out of six attempts.

Adapted from information issued by Roscosmos PAO / Yuzhny Space Centre / Globalstar.

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