Sea Launch Countdown Begins

Image credit: Boeing

The Sea Launch arrived at the equator in the Pacific Ocean on the weekend, and began the 72-hour countdown to the launch of the Galaxy XIII/Horizons-1 satellite on board a three-stage Zenit-3SL rocket. If all goes well, the rocket will lift off on October 1 at 0403 GMT (12:03am EDT) and carry the satellite to a high perigee geosynchronous transfer orbit. Once it reaches its final destination, the satellite will provide data, television, and voice communication services to North America.

The Sea Launch team arrived at the equatorial launch site this weekend and initiated a 72-hour countdown to liftoff of the Galaxy XIII/Horizons-1 mission for PanAmSat Corporation and JSAT Corporation. All systems are proceeding on schedule for the launch, scheduled for Tuesday, September 30, 9:03 pm PDT (4:03:00 GMT, October 1) at the opening of the 39-minute launch window.

The Odyssey Launch Platform and its sister ship, the Sea Launch Commander, arrived at the launch site on Saturday. The marine crew began the process of ballasting the Launch Platform about 65 feet, to launch depth, in preparation for launch operations. The vessels are now stationed alongside each other, frequently connected by a link bridge that enables foot traffic between them. On the day of launch, the platform will be evacuated and all personnel will be stationed on the ship, three miles uprange, throughout launch operations.

Sea Launch?s three-stage Zenit-3SL rocket will loft the 4,090 kg (9,081 lb) Galaxy XIII/Horizons-1 satellite to a high perigee geosynchronous transfer orbit. Following the successfully completed mission, the spacecraft will be located in geostationary orbit at 127 degrees West Longitude. Built by Boeing Satellite Systems in El Segundo, Calif., the 601 HP model spacecraft is designed to offer a variety of digital video, Internet and data services to North America, Central America, Alaska and Hawaii. Horizons-1 is jointly owned by PanAmSat and JSAT, and supports their Horizons venture. It will provide expanded Ku-band services in North America and extended services to Japan and Asia via a Hawaii-based relay station. The C-band payload, Galaxy XIII, which will be operated independently by PanAmSat, will offer the first high-definition neighborhood in the U.S. cable arc.

Sea Launch will provide a live satellite broadcast and simultaneous webcast of the Galaxy XIII/Horizons-1 mission on September 30, beginning at 8:45pm PDT (3:45:00 GMT, October 1). The broadcast, featuring live video from the launch site as well as commentary, may be downlinked from satellite coordinates posted at the following site:
Streaming video of the mission will be carried live at:

Original Source: Boeing news release