(Sen) - Intelsat 21, a satellite that will provide television communication services, was put into orbit on Sunday August 19 by a Zenit-3SL rocket which blasted off from a floating platform in the Pacific Ocean provided by commercial satellite launcher Sea Launch.
The rocket lifted off from the Launch Platform Odyssey, a modified oil drilling platform positioned at the Equator in the Pacific Ocean. The launch took place at 6.55 am Sunday August 19 (UTC/GMT). The satellite reached geosynchronous transfer orbit within 30 minutes of launch and within 55 minutes initial data was received from the satellite. Boeing Satellite Systems, which built the satellite for Intelsat, confirmed that it was functioning normally.
The satellite will be moved next into geostationary orbit where it will have a permanent position locked above a fixed point on the Earth.
The Intelsat 21 satellite has been built to operate for 18 or more years and replaces the Intelsat 9 communications satellite. Intelsat 21, which will enter service later this year, will provide C-band services for North America, South America and Europe, and Ku-band services for North America, the Caribbean, Brazil, Europe and Western Africa. This is the second of four satellites built by Boeing for Intelsat.
Kjell Karlsen, president of Sea Launch AG, said of the launch: "We appreciate the trust and confidence that Intelsat has placed in the Sea Launch system and are thrilled to have successfully launched the Intelsat 21 satellite. This is our third mission for Intelsat in the past 11 months, which demonstrates the commitment to schedule and mission assurance by Sea Launch."
Sea Launch's Odyssey Launch Platform and Zenit-3SL rocket. Credit: Sea Launch
Sea Launch AG, which has headquarters in Bern, Switzerland, was set up 1995 to offer satellite launches from a platform in the sea. The company carried out its first launch of a demonstration payload in March 1999. Since its demonstration launch the company has had carried out 33 launches, including today's.
The company operates the launch platform called Odyssey, which measures approximately 436 feet by 220 feet, and 'Sea Launch Commander' which houses the launch control systems and launch personnel. The vessels are based at Home Port in Long Beach, California.
Sea Launch's equatorial launch site provides the most direct route to orbit. Its Zenit-3SL rocket, which is 209 feet tall, can lift over 6,100 kilograms to geosynchronous transfer orbit.