September 25, 2011.
Sea Launch successfully resumes its launch program!
At 00:18 Moscow Time (08:18 PM GMT, September 24), the seagoing Launch Platform Odyssey belonging to the space rocket launching system Sea Launch and located in the equatorial area of the Pacific Ocean at 154 deg E launched an Integrated Launch Vehicle (ILV) Zenit-3SL carrying as its payload ATLANTIC BIRD 7 spacecraft (SC).
The launch objective is to deliver the 4.6-ton spacecraft into a geotransfer target orbit.
The spacecraft insertion into this orbit was performed by the space upper stage Block DM-SL, designed and built by S.P. Korolev RSC Energia, from an intermediate low Earth orbit, where the upper stage with the spacecraft had been delivered by the two-stage launch vehicle Zenit-2S.
The mission plan, which called for two burns of the upper stage main engine in automatic mode, has been fully completed.
The first burn of the main engine occurred ~8.5 minutes into the flight (10 seconds after the separation of the upper stage DM-SL carrying the SC from the LV second stage). The first burn was about 5,7 minutes in duration. The second burn occurred ~0 h 51 minutes after the launch, the duration of the burn was about 5,9 minutes.
The upper stage delivered the SC to its target orbit with high accuracy.
The flight of the upper stage Block DM-SL carrying the SC was analyzed by the RSC Energia experts working within the Lead Operations Control Team (The Flight Director is the first deputy general designer of RSC Energia V.A. Soloviev) at the Mission Control Center for RSC Energia upper stages and unmanned spacecraft, who were in constant contact with the Control Center on-board the Sea Launch Commander ship included in the Sea Launch system.
At the Mission Control Center, the launch vehicle and upper stage flight control activities were monitored by the RSC Energia President and General Designer V.A. Lopota.
The work onboard the Sea Launch Commander command ship and Odyssey launch platform to prepare and launch the launch vehicle with the upper stage and spacecraft onboard was performed by a launch team under direct supervision of the RSC Energia deputy general designer V.G. Aliev.
After the SC separated from the upper stage, a video communications session was held between the President and General Designer of RSC Energia V.A. Lopota and the command ship Sea Launch Commander. V.A. Lopota congratulated the launch team and their manager on the successful resumption of work under the Sea Launch program, thanked them for their steady professional work and wished them new successful launches. He expressed special thanks to Eutelsat company, which was the first to entrust the launch of its SC to the Sea Launch after an interruption caused by the reorganization of the Sea Launch company.
- This was the first launch under the resumed Sea Launch program after reorganization of the Sea Launch company, and the 31st launch under the entire program.
- Upper stages of the Block DM type developed and manufactured by S.P.Korolev RSC Energia were designed for transferring spacecraft from low-Earth orbits to high-energy orbits, including GEO, as well as for spacecraft injection into trajectories that would take them to the Moon and planets of our solar system.
- Launches from the sea-going launch site are conducted under the launch services program that was put together by the company.
- RSC Energia is the prime contractor for the Sea Launch rocket segment and is responsible for its outfitting and integration in the overall system, providing, together with its subcontractors, the manufacturing and operation of the upper stage Block DM-SL as the third stage of Zenit-3SL LV.
- As noted on the Sea Launch company's web site, ATLANTIC BIRD 7 SC is intended for providing telecommunications services to users in the Middle East and North and North-West Africa.