A Zenit-3SL rocket blasted off from Sea Launch today, carrying PanAmSat’s Galaxy 16 communications satellite. The rocket lifted off from the Odyssey Launch Platform at 0750 GMT (3:50am EDT), and reached geosynchronous transfer orbit (GTO) nearly an hour later. The spacecraft will eventually be positioned at 99-degrees West Longitude, and provide HDTV television and data services throughout North America. This is the third launch for Sea Launch this year; three more are still planned.
Sea Launch Company today successfully delivered PanAmSat’s Galaxy 16 communications satellite to geosynchronous transfer orbit (GTO). Early data indicate the spacecraft is accurately positioned and in excellent condition.
A Zenit-3SL vehicle lifted off at 12:50 am PDT (07:50 GMT) from the Odyssey Launch Platform, positioned at 154 degrees West Longitude in the equatorial Pacific. All systems performed nominally throughout flight. The Block DM upper stage inserted the the 4,640 kg (10,229 lb) Loral 1300-series spacecraft, to geosynchronous transfer orbit (GTO), on its way to a final orbital position of 99 degrees West Longitude. A ground station at Hartebeesthoek, near Pretoria, South Africa, acquired the first signal from the satellite shortly after spacecraft separation.
Built by Space Systems/Loral, Galaxy 16 carries 24 C-band and 24 Ku-band transponders, designed to meet the needs of a variety of broadcast customers in the continental United States, Alaska, Hawaii, Mexico and Canada. Galaxy 16 replaces Galaxy 4R and is the newest member of PanAmSat’s North American Galaxy fleet. With this mission, Sea Launch has now successfully launched four satellites for PanAmSat, including Galaxy 16, Galaxy 13/Horizons-1 in 2003, Galaxy 3C in 2002 and PAS-9 in 2000. This is Sea Launch’s sixth mission with a spacecraft built by Space Systems/Loral.
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Following the completion of the mission, Rob Peckham, president and general manager of Sea Launch, congratulated PanAmSat and Space Systems/Loral. “We take pride in successfully delivering our fourth satellite to orbit for PanAmSat. And we look forward to delivering many more as we continue to grow our long-standing relationship,” Peckham said. “We’re delighted with today’s mission and we want to extend our thanks to everyone involved in achieving this milestone event. In particular, I want to thank our partners and contractors and the entire Sea Launch team for executing another outstanding Sea Launch mission.”
Original Source: Boeing News Release