Sea Launch Company deployed Loral's Telstar 18 communications satellite into orbit tonight from its ocean-based platform on the Equator. Early data indicate all systems aboard the spacecraft are in excellent condition.
The Sea Launch Zenit-3SL rocket lifted off at 8:59 pm PDT (3:59 GMT, June 29), as scheduled, from the Odyssey Launch Platform, positioned at 154 degrees West Longitude.
On its way to a final orbital position at 138 degrees East Longitude, the spacecraft was separated into a reduced apogee orbit. A ground station in Perth, Australia, acquired the spacecraft's first signal, shortly after spacecraft separation.
After the completion of the mission, Jim Maser, president and general manager of Sea Launch, said, "We are still assessing the data and we are optimistic the spacecraft will achieve its specified lifespan on orbit. We are supporting our Loral customer in this assessment. We will issue additional information as it becomes available."
Built by Space Systems/Loral and operated by Loral Skynet - both subsidiaries of Loral Space & Communications - the high-powered 1300-model spacecraft carries 54 active transponders, 16 Ku-band transponders and 38 C-band transponders.
Once operational in the next few weeks, the Ku-band will reach China, India, Taiwan and Hong Kong, while the C-band capacity will cover Asia, Australia, New Zealand, the Pacific islands and Hawaii.
The satellite will host cable programming, direct-to-home broadcasting, Internet, VSAT and IP-based two-way services within Asia while providing an inter-connect to the United States.
Sea Launch Company, LLC
Loral Space & Communications
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Sea Launch At Equator, Preparing For Telstar 18 Mission
Long Beach CA - Jun 28, 2004
The Sea Launch team initiated a 72-hour countdown last Friday night in preparation for the launch of Loral's Telstar 18 communications satellite, scheduled for Monday, June 28, in a launch window that will open at 8:59pm PDT (3:59 GMT, June 29). All systems are proceeding on schedule.
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