Airbus Defence and Space

Dispenser for Globalstar constellation declared flight worthy

  • Airbus Defence and Space has successfully completed qualification tests on the Dispenser for the second-generation satellites of the Globalstar constellation
  • The new Dispenser will enable the Soyuz launcher to carry six satellites beneath its fairing, paving the way for the launch of four Galileo satellites by Ariane 5 in 2012
  • The composite technology developed by Airbus Defence and Space has reduced the weight of the seven-metre structure to a mere 550 kg


Paris, 24 February, 2010Airbus Defence and Space has successfully completed qualification testing on the Dispenser for the second-generation satellites of the Globalstar constellation.  The qualification commission headed by Arianespace has ended the Dispenser's development phase, making it possible to finalise series production for the first flight modules that were developed in parallel..

The Dispenser is the structure that holds the satellites in place during the launch and ensures their positioning at a precisely-timed moment during the mission. The attachment and separation fittings are sophisticated pyrotechnic devices based on patented Airbus Defence and Space technology. The new Dispenser will allow the Soyuz launcher to carry six satellites for the Globalstar-2 constellation beneath its fairing.

Airbus Defence and Space is the European leader in the development of Dispenser systems that can accommodate varied satellite payloads.  The company is also recognised worldwide for its expertise in the development of composite structures for launch vehicles and satellites and the manufacturing of antenna reflectors.

"Following this successful qualification, we now have all the key elements at our disposal to develop the Dispenser for Ariane 5 that will launch the Galileo satellites in groups of four beginning in 2012," said Alain Charmeau, CEO of Airbus Defence and Space.  "It also paves the way for the development of the dual launch structure for the future of Ariane 5. I know that I speak for all our employees when I say that we are extremely motivated to meet the challenges to come."

The Dispenser development work and the production of the first flight model took exactly two years to complete, as planned in the original work schedule.

The structure is nearly seven metres high and weighs in at just under 550 kg thanks to the use of extremely high-performance composites. Right from the outset of the project, the design teams from Les Mureaux and Saint-Médard-en-Jalles had to take into account extremely exact rigidity and weight constraints for the structure's development.


Airbus Defence and Space drew on all its experience in the fields of complex structures and composites to make the new Dispenser a reality, demonstrating once again the company's ability to successfully satisfy customer requirements while remaining competitive.


Airbus Defence and Space, a wholly owned subsidiary of AIRBUS Group, is dedicated to providing civil and defence space systems and services. In 2008, Airbus Defence and Space had a turnover of €4.3 billion and more than 15,000 employees in France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Spain and the Netherlands. Its three main areas of activity are Airbus Defence and Space for launchers and orbital infrastructure, Airbus Defence and Space for spacecraft and ground segment and Airbus Defence and Space for the development and delivery of satellite services.


AIRBUS Group is a global leader in aerospace, defence and related services. In 2008, AIRBUS Group generated revenues of €43.3 billion and employed a workforce of more than 118, 000.


Press contacts:

Daniel Mosely (Airbus Defence and Space UK)                                                      Tel.: +44 (0)1 438 77 8180

Matthieu Duvelleroy (Airbus Defence and Space FR)                                              Tel.: +33 (0) 1 77 75 80 32

Ralph Heinrich (Airbus Defence and Space GER)                                                   Tel.: +49 (0) 89 607 33971

Francisco Lechón (Airbus Defence and Space SP)                                                 Tel.: +34 91 586 37 41


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