Sea Launch, the world's most reliable launch service provider for heavy commercial communication satellites, today successfully launched the EchoStar IX/Telstar 13 satellite to orbit for EchoStar Communications Corporation and Loral Skynet.
A Zenit-3SL launch vehicle lifted off at 8:31 pm PDT (3:31 GMT) from the Odyssey Launch Platform positioned at 154 degrees West Longitude, on the Equator. All systems performed nominally throughout the flight. The Block DM-SL upper stage inserted the 4,737 kg (10,443 lb) EchoStar IX/Telstar 13 satellite into a high perigee geosynchronous transfer orbit. As planned, the spacecraft's first signal was acquired at 9:46 pm PDT (4:46 GMT), shortly after spacecraft separation, by a ground station in Western Australia. The spacecraft will be located in geostationary orbit at 121 degrees West Longitude.
Upon completion of the successful mission, Jim Maser, president and general manager of Sea Launch, said, "I want to congratulate Space Systems/Loral (SS/L), EchoStar Communications Corporation, Loral Skynet and the entire Sea Launch team for a great job! Once again, we achieved a very smooth operation. This is clearly a tribute to the skill, dedication and experience of everyone in the Sea Launch organization and I am very proud to be part of this talented group. We have just completed our second launch in less than two months and we expect to continue this tempo well through next year.
"This mission also marked our tenth launch and the first for SS/L," Maser continued. "We appreciate the confidence and trust they and their customers have demonstrated and we look forward to the many more SS/L launches on our manifest. We also welcome the opportunity to serve EchoStar and Loral Skynet in the future."
SS/L built the EchoStar IX/Telstar 13 spacecraft in Palo Alto, Calif. The Ku-band capacity will enhance EchoStar's U.S. DISH Network satellite television service. EchoStar has also equipped the spacecraft with the first commercial Ka-band spot-beam payload in the United States. In addition, in a unique multi-band, satellite-sharing arrangement, Loral Skynet will own and operate the satellite's C-band capacity, as Telstar 13, which will provide television programmers with North American coverage.
Sea Launch Company, LLC, headquartered in Long Beach, Calif., is a world leader in providing heavy-lift commercial launch services. This multinational partnership offers the most direct and cost-effective route to geostationary orbit. With the advantage of a launch site on the Equator, the reliable Zenit-3SL rocket can lift a heavier spacecraft mass or provide longer life on orbit, offering best value plus schedule assurance. Sea Launch has a current backlog of 14 firm launch contracts. For additional information and images of this successfully completed mission, visit the Sea Launch website at: www.sea-launch.com