July 1, 2008

U.S. Echostar XI Satellite to Be Launched in Mid-July

MOSCOW. July 1 (Interfax-AVN) - A Russian-Ukrainian Zenit-3SL rocket with the U.S. satellite EchoStar XI will be launched in two weeks, a source with the Russian Mission Control Center told Interfax-AVN on Tuesday.

"Another launch under the Sea Launch program is slated for July 17," the source said.

The five-tonne satellite will replenish the orbital group of the DISH Network Corporation. This will be the third satellite launched under the Sea Launch program for the corporation, which provides satellite TV signal to 14 million subscribers.

EchoStar XI will be launched from the Odyssey floating platform from the equatorial Pacific Ocean.

The satellite will be the fourth spacecraft put into orbit under the Sea Launch program so far this year. The Galaxy-18 telecommunication satellite was launched on May 21 following a number of delays. A Zenit-3SLB rocket launched the U.S. DirecTV-11 satellite on March 20, and the Arabian Thuraya-D3 satellite was launched on January 15.

The Sea Launch consortium was set up in 1995. The parties to the enterprise are Boeing Commercial Space Company of Seattle, USA (40%), Energia Rocket and Space Corporation of Moscow, Russia (25%), Kvaerner Maritime A.S. of Oslo, Norway (20%), and Yuzhnoye design bureau/Yuzhmash production association of Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine (15%).

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