Sea Launch Project

High Spots

Telstar 18 Launch

The Telstar-18 spacecraft (SC) is intended to render telecommunication services including live TV broadcasting, and Internet access for the users of the Asia Pacific region (South-East Asia, Australia, New Zealand, the Pacific islands and also Hawaii).
The Telstar-18 SC is manufactured by the Space Systems/Loral Company on the basis of platform LS1300 and has a mass of 4780 kg. SC is equipped with 16 Ku-band transponders and 38 C-band transponders. The nominal subsatellite point in geostationary orbit is 138°E Long.
To perform the Telstar-18 SC launch the Zenit-2S launch vehicle № SL11 and DM-SL Upper Stage №11L were used. Zenit-2S launch vehicle № SL17 and DM-SL Upper Stage №13L were used during the processing as "donors".


May 13-23, 2004

Checks for operational status of the complex of automated control systems of the processing and launch, measurement complex and automated flight control system of the Upper Stage (US).DM-SL US №11L tests. Preparation of Zenit-2S LV № SL11 for tests.

May 25, 2004

System readiness review for the Telstar-18 mission was made at the Home Port. Based on the meeting results a report on readiness of all structural units of the Sea Launch Rocket and Space Complex for operations during the forthcoming mission was signed.

May 24-30, 2004

Operations on the integrated systems and processing equipment of the Rocket Segment:
-routine maintenance of the US automated flight control system;
-maintenance of the assembly and command ship (ACS) and launch platform (LP) processing equipment;
-preparation of the US fueling station on ACS;
-quality control of gases (helium, air, nitrogen) and propellant components by the chemical laboratory means.
Operations with DM-SL US №11L:
-integrated tests under the launch program;
-leak check of the main engine and pneudraulic system;
-mounting of the multiple ignition unit in US and the onboard batteries installation;
-filling with kerosene and compressed gases;
-filling of the orbital launch system propulsion system with oxidizer.
Tests of Zenit-2S LV № SL11:
-telemetry system tests;
-LV pneumatic and electrical tests.
In the assembly and test building (facility) of the Home Port the following was provided: autonomous operations, tests and filling of the Telstar-18 SC with the propellant components.

May 31 - June 6, 2004

Operations with DM-SL US № 11L:
-orbital launch system propulsion system (OLS PS) fueling;
-US mating with LV.
Operations with Zenit-2S LV № SL11:
-completion of LV electrical tests;-provision of LV mating with US.
Operations with Payload Unit (PLU):
-PLU assembly and testing in the assembly and test building (facility);
-PLU roll-out from the assembly and test building (facility) and delivery with the Telstar-18 SC to ACS.
Operations with Zenit-3SL Integrated Launch Vehicle (ILV) №SL11:
-autonomous tests of the LV and US digital computer complex;
-checks of mechanical, electrical and pneudraulic interfaces of ILV fully assembled.

June 4, 2004

Holding of the first integrated rehearsal of the prelaunch processing. Simulation of 6 off-nominal situations during the rehearsal including the launch abort 65 seconds before the Lift-Off command.

June 6-22, 2004

ILV reloading from ACS to LP. Performance of operations under the ILV "dry" roll-out program. LP and then ACS transfer from the Home Port to the launch area. During this sea transit the second integrated rehearsal of the prelaunch processing was held on ACS using all Sea Launch segments and structures.

June 23, 2004

During the sea transfer to the launch area the final integrated rehearsal of the prelaunch processing was held on ACS with support of MCC in Korolev. Simulation of nominal prelaunch processing and launch of the Integrated Launch Vehicle (ILV) during the rehearsal.

June 25, 2004

ACS and LP arrival in the launch area. Launch Platform ballast trimming LP and ACS equipment preparation for the ILV launch.

June 26, 2004

First launch day activities: making the Rocket Segment systems ready for activities in the launch area, ILV processing, activities in the Launch Measurement Complex. The Sea Launch RSC readiness review for activities in the launch area and launch of Zenit-3SL ILV № SL11 with the Telstar-18 SC.

June 27, 2004

Second launch day activities: the ILV preparation for roll-out to the launch pad, LP orientation to the launch position, ACS transfer to a nominal position w.r.t. LP, ILV roll-out and erection on the launch pad, PLU autonomous checks, ILV electrical checks, execution of the critical launch readiness checklist.

June 28, 2004

Third launch day activities (Daylight saving Pacific Time):

  • 12:45 launch personnel delivery by a helicopter to LP to perform the prelaunch operations;
  • 14:59:00 "6h to LOC" command implementation;
  • 15:59:00 "Program Start" command implementation, start of nominal launch readiness checklist and ILV fueling;
  • 17:45 evacuation of the last group of the Rocket and Sea Segments personnel by a helicopter from LP;
  • 20:58:59 17 "Lift-Off Contact" signal passage.
June 29, 2004

At 03 h 58 min 59.17 s Greenwich Time (07 h 58 min 59.17 s Moscow Time) the fourteenth launch from the Odyssey Launch Platform under the Sea Launch program was performed. The LV I-st stage flight, stage separation, II-nd stage flight, payload fairing jettison, orbital module (US + PLU) separation were nominal by telemetry information. The SC injection into geotransfer orbit from intermediate suborbit to which the launch vehicle delivered it together with the Upper Stage; was provided according to the flight profile with two burns of the US main engine. Upon implementation of these burns the Telstar-18 SC was injected into geotransfer orbit with the decreased apogee altitude. By the Loral Space & Communication company data the SC onboard systems operated normally, dynamic operations on deployment of the solar array panels were performed and the SC fuel reserves were sufficient enough for transfer to the final orbital attitude and provision of the given time required for active existence for no less than 13 years.Performance of the US escape maneuver to the storage orbit and its bringing to a safe state.

Post-flight operations on LP and ACS.

June 30, 2004

Start of the ACS and LP sea transfer to the Home Port.

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