September 26, 2011
Sea Launch Completes First Post-Bankruptcy Liftoff
A spacecraft launch service operating from a mobile sea platform in the Pacific Ocean successfully completed their first launch since emerging from bankruptcy protection in late 2010, BBC News Science Correspondent Jonathan Amos reported on Saturday.
Sea Launch, which completed Chapter 11 reorganization procedures on October 27 of last year, launched the Atlantic Bird 7 broadcast satellite from its Odyssey Launch Platform.
The launch, which took place near the Equator, was the first mission for the venture and its new majority owner, Russian-based Energia Overseas Limited (EOL).
The satellite payload launched on September 24 is owned by Eutelsat Communications. According to Amos, it will "beam TV channels into the Middle East and North Africa."
According to a press release from the Bern, Switzerland-based company, the Atlantic Bird 7 lifted off at 13:18 Pacific Daylight Time Saturday. At the time of launch, the platform was positioned at 154 degrees west longitude, and the satellite entered geosynchronous orbit a little over an hour later. Sea Launch reports that all systems performed "nominally" during the course of the mission.
"We offer our sincere congratulations to Eutelsat, and to Astrium for this outstanding success," Kjell Karlsen, president of Sea Launch AG, said in a statement. "We're very proud to play a role in Eutelsat´s continued and expanding success. We thank you for your renewed trust and confidence in our system and our team. I also want to thank and congratulate the Sea Launch and Energia Logistics teams, RSC Energia, as well as all of the suppliers and contractors around the world who support us."
"Our thanks go to Sea Launch AG, Energia Logistics and RSC Energia for this precisely-executed launch and their extreme professionalism during this important campaign. With tonight´s launch successfully completed, we are now fully focused on collaborating with our industrial partner, Astrium, to bring Atlantic Bird 7 into full commercial service next month," added Eutelsat CEO Michel de Rosen.
The new satellite will replace an existing one, Amos said.
"Atlantic Bird 7 will not only be new and more modern, it will be larger and more powerful," de Rosen told BBC News. "It will allow us to have more television channels and more high-definition channels, so we will be able to serve more customers."
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