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2nd LD Writethru: Russia launches U.S. satellite from floating pad

MOSCOW , Fri, 01 Jun 2012 ANI

MOSCOW, June 1 (Xinhua-ANI): Russia has put a U.S. communications satellite into space from a sea-based launch pad, the Federal Space Agency Roscosmos said Friday.

The Zenit-2SL carrier rocket, carrying the U.S. Intelsat 19 telecoms satellite, blasted off from the equatorial Odyssey Launch Platform in the Pacific Ocean at 9:23 a.m. Moscow time (0523 GMT), the mission control center said.

The 5,600-kg satellite, launched by the Sea Launch corporation, was separated from the booster rocket at 10:23 a.m.(0623 GMT), Russian Space Rocket Corporation Energia said.

Live broadcast from Roscosmos website and Energia control center showed that experts were working onboard a Sea Launch Commander ship near the launch pad.

The satellite carries C-band and Ku-band transponders to provide telecoms services to the Pacific region, including Southeast Asia, Australia, New Zealand and U.S. West Coast, local media reported.

Intelsat 19 is based on Space System/Loral platform with a designed life span of over 15 years.

Founded in 1955, the Sea Launch consortium was made up by four companies from Norway, Russia, Ukraine and the United States.

Compared with land-based system, sea-based launch system means the rocket can be launched from the optimum position on the earth's surface, which offers the most direct and cost-effective route to geostationary orbit for commercial communications satellites.

A joint business plan released earlier by Energia and Roscosmos showed that 3-4 successful launches per year would be required to keep the project profitable.

According to Energia, the operator of Sea Launch, Friday's launch is the first of its three launches scheduled this year. (Xinhua-ANI)

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