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Boeing Rocket Up And Away

Four more Globalstar communication satellites rocketed into orbit Saturday in the second launch of its kind in a month.

A Boeing Delta II rocket took off at 4:45 a.m. The satellites - worth about $15 million each - separated in pairs about an hour later. High winds had forced a two-day launch delay.

Globalstar, based in San Jose, Calif., plans to begin providing wireless telephone service this fall. Saturday's launch boosted the number of Globalstar satellites in orbit to 28; altogether, 48 satellites are planned.

Another Globalstar launch is planned for later this month and another is planned for August, also aboard Delta rockets. Four satellites were placed in orbit June 10.

Saturday's launch cost about $115 million.

The Globalstar consortium of 12 companies was founded by Loral Space and Communications Ltd. and Qualcomm Inc.

The company needs 32 orbiting satellites for the planned start of its commercial phone service in September. The U.S. Delta and Russian Soyuz rockets have already launched 24 of the spacecraft.

When the Globalstar system is operational it will allow calls to be made with hand-held phones from virtually anywhere in the world.

For more on the Boeing Delta rocket program, click here.

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