Sea Launch Project

High Spots

EchoStar-IX Launch

According the plans of the Sea Launch company, the first launch in 2003 was to take place in May. Spacecraft (SC) EchoStar-IX was to be launched. However, delivery of EchoStar-IX to the Home Port was delayed, and the first SC to arrive at the Home Port was Thuraya D2. In connection with this the Sea Launch changed the launch sequence and June 10, 2003 Thuraya D2 was put into its target orbit. Then, preparations started for the launch of EchoStar-IX.


April 11, 2003

Delivery of EchoStar-IX SC to the Home Port and placing it in storage in a hangar.

June 30 -
July 6, 2003

Test operations with upper stage DM-SL #10L on-board ACS (protective operations, test activation of the control system, integrated tests per the orbital insertion sequence, leak tests). Tests of LV Zenit-2S #SL10 on-board ACS and preparations for tests of LV Zenit-2S #SL12 (donor LV). Upper stage DM-SL #12L intended for the next mission is loaded on ACS and installed onto a storage stand. Activities to prepare rocket segment systems and hardware for the upper stage filling. EchoStar-IX is filled with nitrogen tetroxide.

July 7-13, 2003

Upper stage DM-SL #10L filling with propellant components and compressed gases; mating upper stage DM-SL #10L with LV Zenit-2S #SL10 on-board ACS. Tests of LV Zenit-2S #SL12 and its transfer onto storage supports. Tests of the upper stage DM-SL #12L on-board ACS (protective operations, test activation of the control system, integrated tests per the orbital insertion sequence, leak tests).Continued work on the preparation of the rocket segment systems and hardware. Completion of the SC filling, conducting joint SC/PLU operations.

July 14-20, 2003

Transfer of PLU with SC EchoStar-IX to ACS, conducting operations to mate PLU with upper stage DM-SL #10L. Transfer of ILV Zenit-3SL #SL10 from ACS to LP. Continued tests of upper stage DM-SL #12L on-board ACS.

July 21, 2003

Conducting a review of the launcher system subsystems and hardware readiness for sailing out to the launch site.

July 21-22, 2003

ILV dry roll-out activities, running a test launch readiness poll. Placing ILV into LP hangar upon completion of the work.

July 24, 2003

LP sailing out from the Home Port to the launch site.

July 27, 2003

ACS sailing out from the Home Port to launch site.

July 24 -
August 3, 2003

ACS and LP sea transit to the launch site. Conducting integrated pre-launch processing rehearsals with support from MCC in Korolev.

August 4, 2003

"Zero" launch day activities on the launch segment.

August 5, 2003

First launch day activities: readying the rocket segment systems for launch site operations, ILV processing. Review of the Sea Launch system readiness for launch site operations and launch of ILV Zenit-3SL No.SL10 with EchoStar-IX SC.

August 6, 2003

Activities of the second launch day: bringing LP orientation into the launch position, moving ACS into its nominal position relative to the LP, ILV roll-out to the launch pad, test run of the launch readiness poll.

August 7, 2003

Activities of the third launch day (Pacific Daylight Saving Time):

  • launch crew delivery to the LP by helicopter;
  • evacuation from LP by helicopter of the personnel not involved in the launch operations;
  • 14:31 implementation of the "L-6 hours" command;
  • 15:31 implementation of the "Program start" command; start of the actual run of the launch readiness poll and ILV fuelling;
  • final evacuation by helicopter from the LP of the rocket segment and maritime segment personnel;
  • ILV filling with propellant components and compressed gases;
  • evacuation of the "Red Team" from the LP;
  • 20:30:59 Lift-Off signal received.
August 8, 2003

At 03 hrs 30 min 59.1 sec GMT ((07 hrs 30 min 59.1 sec Moscow Time) the tenth launch from the Odyssey launch platform under the Sea Launch program was accomplished. SC insertion into its target geotransfer orbit from an intermediate orbit established by the two-stage LV Zenit 2-S was performed by upper stage DM-SL using a mission profile involving two burns of the main engine. The first burn, performed ~10 seconds after the orbital module (OM), consisting of the upper stage and spacecraft, separated from the LV, raised the OM to a reference near-circular orbit. The second burn, performed 35.5 minutes after completion of the first burn, assured the SC delivery to its target geotransfer orbit. At 04 hrs 36 min 44 sec SC separation was detected. Spacecraft EchoStar-IX was inserted into its target orbit. Launch mission accomplished. It was 272-nd launch of a D and DM-type upper stage over the period starting from 1967.

Post-launch operations on LP and ACS.


Spacecraft EchoStar-IX has been put into its target orbit:

Perigee altitude,
Apogee altitude,

According to telemetry data, the target orbit parameters are as designed.

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