Skip to comments.Sea Launch set for liftoff with Eutelsat telecom satellite (2:10PM PDT/5:10PM EDT)
Posted on 05/26/2014 12:16:29 PM PDT by Jack Hydrazine
Rocket: Zenit 3SL
Payload: Eutelsat 3B
Date: May 26, 2014
Time: 2110 GMT (2:10 p.m. PDT/5:10 p.m. EDT)
Window: 54 minutes
Site: Odyssey launch platform, Equator, 154º west, Pacific Ocean
With its mobile command ship and launch platform positioned in the equatorial Pacific Ocean, Sea Launch is counting down to its first mission since February 2013 on Monday with a European communications satellite. Liftoff is set for 2110 GMT (2:10 p.m./5:10 p.m. EDT).
1710 GMT (1:10 p.m. EDT)
T-minus 4 hours. Sea Launch reports the weather outlook is favorable for today's blastoff from the equator at 2110 GMT (5:10 p.m. EDT).
Preparations are underway to load liquid oxygen propellant into the three-stage Zenit 3SL rocket, and the final workers have been evacuated from the Odyssey launch platform.
The Sea Launch Commander control ship is safely positioned about 3 miles from the Odyssey platform for the final countdown. The workers evacuate the platform via helicopter to the command ship.
1415 GMT (10:15 a.m. EDT)
With its mobile command ship and launch platform positioned in the equatorial Pacific Ocean, Sea Launch is counting down to its first mission since February 2013 on Monday with a European communications satellite.
The company's Odyssey platform and Sea Launch Commander control vessel arrived at the Pacific launch site last week, and the launch team initiated a 72-hour countdown Friday before hoisting the Zenit 3SL booster on Odyssey's launch pad over the weekend.
The ships sailed from Sea Launch's home port in Long Beach, Calif., to the launch site at the equator and 154 degrees west longitude, about 1,400 miles south of Hawaii.
Fueling of the Zenit 3SL rocket with kerosene and liquid oxygen will begin a few hours before liftoff, which is set for 2110 GMT (5:10 p.m. EDT; 2:10 p.m. PDT) at the opening of a 54-minute launch window.
The 20-story rocket is due to make its first launch for Sea Launch since a rocket failure destroyed an Intelsat communications satellite moments after liftoff Feb. 1, 2013.
Investigators blamed the mishap on a failure in a hydraulic steering pump attached to the Zenit rocket's first stage RD-171M main engine.
After engineers instituted corrective actions at Yuzhmash, the rocket's prime contractor and supplier of the hydraulic steering unit, a Zenit launcher notched a successful flight with Israel's Amos 4 communications satellite from the Baikonur Cosmodrome on Aug. 31, 2013.
Monday's mission is the first Zenit flight conducted by Sea Launch since the launch failure last year.
"All the corrective actions that were provided by the [investigative] commission to Yuzhmash have already taken place, and there were some processes that have been adapted accordingly," said Sergey Gugkaev, CEO of Switzerland-based Sea Launch. "The other important point that we agree on with our Yuzhmash colleagues was for a more concise and more detailed quality review that will be implemented from now on. There was already a Zenit launch in August of 2013, which was basically the return-to-flight for almost the same rocket, which had the same hydraulic power supply."
The Zenit 3SL rocket will fly east from the Odyssey launch pad after liftoff Monday, powered by 1.6 million pounds of thrust from its RD-171 main engine. The booster will fly along the equator, getting an extra boost in velocity from the speed of Earth's rotation, one of the advantages of Sea Launch's base in the equatorial Pacific.
The two-stage Zenit rocket, designed by Yuzhnoye and built by Yuzhmash in Ukraine, will fire for eight-and-a-half minutes before yielding to a Russian Block DM-SL upper stage to place Eutelsat 3B in a geosynchronous transfer orbit.
Two burns of the Block DM-SL upper stage are planned before separation of Eutelsat 3B one hour after liftoff as it flies over the Indian Ocean.
The launcher will target an orbit with a low point of 239 miles, a high point of 22,143 miles, and an inclination of 0 degrees, according to Sea Launch, which is 95 percent owned by Russian aerospace contractor RSC Energia.
The launch of Eutelsat 3B will mark the 36th flight for Sea Launch since 1999.
Eutelsat 3B will use an on-board engine to boost itself to a circular orbit 22,300 miles above Earth, guiding the craft to an operational location at 3 degrees east longitude. Satellites in geostationary orbit circle Earth at the same speed as the planet's rotation, causing them to hover over a fixed location.
Built by Airbus Defence and Space, the spacecraft is owned by Paris-based Eutelsat, one of the world's top commercial telecom satellite operators. Eutelsat 3B is based on the Airbus Eurostar E3000 satellite platform.
The 13,155-pound satellite carries 51 C-band, Ku-band and Ka-band transponders in a unique tri-band configuration to beam data, telecom, broadband, and professional video services to users in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia and South America, according to Eutelsat.
The C-band and Ku-band payload will focus on television broadcasting and data markets, while the Ka-band transponders -- connected to steerable beams -- are tailored for high-bandwidth markets.
Eutelsat 3B will replace Eutelsat 3D in the 3 degrees east location, allowing Eutelsat 3D to be repositioned to serve other markets.
Fitted with 10 antennas, Eutelsat 3B is designed for a 15-year lifetime.
My BIL is retired from Eutelsat.
I think it would be great if SpaceX had a similar floating platform for the first stage of the Falcon 9 to land on.
20 minutes until liftoff!
Live launch coverage has started.
Less than three minutes. Go Sea Launch!
The camera lost it just as the 1st stage was to separate.
Another successful launch!