A Russian Soyuz rocket launched a 6 Globalstar communications satellites into orbit on December 28, 2011, less than a week after a similar rocket failed in placing the payload in orbit, apparently for a failure on the third stage. The launch was overseen by the European launch provider Arianespace. The six 700 kilogram satellites are destined to an operational orbit of about 1400 km. This is the third launch of Globalstar satellites: twelve satellites were launched, six at a time, in October 2010 and July 2011; a fourth launch is scheduled in 2012.
The Globalstar launch involved a Soyuz 2-1a version of the Russian rocket, using third stage rocket engine that is older than the one used in the Soyuz 2-1b booster that crashed on December 23. Roscosmos is investigating the December 23 failure, the fifth Russian space mission failure in 2011.