Forwarded by: fwestra@...
Original Date: Thu, 2 Mar 2000 16:24:32 -0800
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Sea Launch sets sail for second commercial mission
1 March 2000
The Sea Launch Commander and the Odyssey Launch Platform departed
the Sea Launch Home Port in Long Beach Harbour on February 27, for
the Sea Launch Company's second commercial satellite launch,
programmed for March 12.
The 200-foot Zenit-3SL launch vehicle will lift a 6,050 lb. (2,750
kg.) ICO F-1 mobile communications satellite, built by Hughes
Space & Communications Company in El Segundo, Calif., into Middle
Earth Orbit, about 6,400 miles (10,350 kilometres) from Earth.
This spacecraft is to be the first in a series of global
communications satellites for ICO Global Communications, a global
mobile communications company based in London.
The launch is scheduled precisely at 6:49 a.m. (Pacific Time), on
March 12, from a launch site situated 1,400 miles south-east of
"We are excited to send off our two vessels for this first mission
of the year," said Bohdan Bejmuk, vice president and general
manager of the Sea Launch Home Port. "We now look forward to our
next launch in two weeks. We are delighted to be the first launch
provider for the ICO system of global satellites."
Sea Launch begins 2000 with a two-for-two launch success record,
including a successful demonstration launch in March 1999, and an
equally successful first commercial launch in October 1999. The
"bull's eye" accuracy of these launches proved the reliability of
the system, the performance of the rocket and the extraordinary
teamwork of the international Sea Launch partnership.
During the 11-day transit to the launch site, the Sea Launch
expendable launch vehicle is positioned horizontally at the top of
the self-propelled launch platform in an environmentally
controlled hangar. Upon arrival at the launch site, located at the
equator, 154 degrees West Longitude, the 20-story high launch
platform will be ballasted to its launch depth and oriented to
minimise wind and wave effects. A day before lift-off, the rocket
will be rolled out of the hangar and automatically erected to a
vertical position on the launch pad.
Prior to the departure from Home Port, Sea Launch and Hughes
personnel conducted an extensive series of tests and
launch-readiness activities. These included encapsulation of the
ICO F-1 satellite within the fairing, and transfer of the
spacecraft from the payload processing facility to the Sea Launch
Commander. Once on board the Commander, the team mated the payload
unit with the three-stage rocket. With that accomplished, the
integrated vehicle was then transferred to the Launch Platform for
transit to the launch site.
The Zenit-3SL rocket, configured to enhance reliability and meet
the program's performance objectives, is currently capable of
delivering 11,000 lbs. (5,250 kg) to geostationary transfer orbit.
Sea Launch has 19 firm launches on its current manifest, including
the ICO mission.
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