Sea Launch wins Intelsat contract

by Chris Bergin

Sea Launch have earned the launch contract to carry the Intelsat Americas-9 (IA-9) spacecraft into orbit, following a successful debut with the satellite communication giants last year.

The Boeing-owned launch service successfully carried out the start of the IA-8 mission in 2005 – and will carry out the launch of the IA-9 in late 2007.

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The IA-9 – a high-power, C-band and Ku-band satellite – is currently under construction at Space Systems/Loral (SS/L) in Palo Alto, California.

‘We are proud to welcome back Intelsat for another Sea Launch mission,’ said Rob Peckham, interim president and general manager of Sea Launch. ‘We view this new contract as a testament to Intelsat’s confidence in our launch system and our team. We won’t let them down.’

The IA-9 spacecraft will provide communications service to North America, Central America and the Caribbean. Intelsat currently plans to operate the satellite from an orbital location at 97 degrees West longitude. IA-9 will become Intelsat’s newest satellite covering North America.

The satellite’s hybrid C- and Ku-band communications payload carries a total of 44 operating transponders, selectable among 62 discrete frequencies, providing a total of 1,944 MHz of downlink capacity.

Coverage areas are provided by fixed C- and Ku-band antennas, in addition to an adjustable Ku-band spot beam that can be positioned anywhere on the earth’s surface visible from the satellite’s orbital position.

The satellite is designed to operate from any of Intelsat’s orbital locations from 77 degrees West longitude to 129 degrees West longitude.

The satellite is scheduled for delivery to Intelsat in 2007 and has a design life of 13 years. IA-9 will become Intelsat’s newest satellite covering North America and the thirty-second spacecraft built by SS/L for the international satellite services provider.

The satellite is based on SS/L’s space-proven LS-1300 geostationary satellite platform, which has a long and proven record of reliable operation.

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Sea Launch, in action for the second time this year, launched their Zenit-3SL launch vehicle, carrying the JCSat-9 satellite uphill for a geostationary orbit on April 12.

They will be back in action next month for an unconfirmed June 5 launch of the Galaxy 16 satellite.

NASASpaceflight will be covering the launch via its live event pages.


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