Sea Launch gains new captain

by Chris Bergin

Just a week before they facilitate the launch of the JCSat-9 communications satellite, the Sea Launch Company, LLC, have promoted Robert Peckham to the position of interim president and general manager.

Peckham replaces the departed Jim Maser, after he recently joined Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) as president and COO.

Peckham advances from the position of vice president of sales and marketing, which he had held since 2001.

‘We have the utmost confidence that Rob will excel in this role,’ said Bill Collopy, chairman of the Sea Launch Board of Directors.

‘I have asked the Sea Launch team to provide all the support Rob needs to work through this leadership transition.’

Sea Launch are currently aiming for an April 11 (23:30 UTC) launch date – with a 34 minute launch window – for the Zenit-3SL launch vehicle, carrying JCSat-9 uphill for a geostationary orbit, joining a family of nine other satellites that currently provide communications and broadcasting services to businesses throughout Asia. 


Built by Lockheed Martin Commercial Space Systems (LMCSS), the 4401 kg JCSat-9 spacecraft is a A2100-AX spacecraft, designed for a minimum service life of 12 years. It will be located at 132 degrees East Longitude. The high-power hybrid spacecraft carries C-band, Ku-band and S-band transponders.

Launch processing started in late January, when LMCSS delivered the JCSat-9 satellite from their spacecraft assembly facility in Sunnyvale, California, to the near-by Sea Launch Home Port in Long Beach.

Following operations in the Payload Processing Facility – where the spacecraft is tested, fuelled and encapsulated in a payload fairing – the Payload Unit was transferred to the assembly hall of the Sea Launch Commander, where it was mated with the Block DM upper stage of the Zenit-3SL rocket.

The ‘Odyssey’ Launch Platform and the ‘Sea Launch Commander’ have departed Home Port, en-route for the launch site in international waters of the Pacific Ocean, at 154 degrees West Longitude, south of Hawaii.

This will be Sea Launch’s second mission of the year – following their successful launch of the EchoStar X spacecraft in February.

The Lockheed Martin A2100-AX satellite has begun a 15 year mission of providing the DISH Network with the ability to deliver expanded services for distribution of direct-to-home broadcast services to its customers in the United States.

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