Sea Launch gains Boeing’s Thuraya-3 contract

by Chris Bergin

The third of its fleet, the Boeing Thuraya-3 will be launched via Sea Launch’s Zenit-3SL launch vehicle to a geosynchronous transfer orbit (GTO) in January 2007.

Sea Launch are in action this coming Saturday morning with the launch of the Galaxy 16 communications satellite – which will be covered by NASASpaceflight as a live launch event.

The contract, signed with Boeing Satellite Systems International, follows the successful launches of Thuraya-1 and Thuraya-2 in 2000 and 2003 respectfully.
Boeing is designing and building the 5,250-kilogram (11,578-pound) GEO-Mobile spacecraft for the Thuraya Satellite Telecommunications Company, at Boeing’s Satellite Development Center in El Segundo, California.

‘Sea Launch successfully launched Thuraya-1 (in October 2000) and Thuraya-2 (in June 2003),’ said Rob Peckham, president and general manager of Sea Launch.
Click Here For The Wall Street Journal OnlineThuraya was founded in the UAE in 1997 by a consortium of leading national telecommunications operators and international investment houses. The turnkey project was built by US satellite manufacturer Boeing Satellite Systems formerly Hughes.

The Thuraya-1 satellite was successfully launched on board a Sea Launch Zenit-3SL rocket from the equator in the middle of the Pacific Ocean on 21st October 2000. The launch was a record success, as it was the first satellite initiated from the Middle East and also the satellite was the heaviest to be launched ever.

Thuraya’s second satellite Thuraya 2 was launched on the 10th of June 2003 while a third satellite is being built by Boeing Satellite Systems to expand system capacity. The Thuraya 2 satellite was deployed into geosynchronous transfer orbit by Sea Launch, which was also the launching vehicle for Thuraya’s first satellite.

Designed for a 12-15 year lifespan, the Thuraya 2 satellite is positioned in Geosynchronous Orbit, 35,786 km (22,236 miles) above the Earth, at 44 degrees East Longitude and inclined at 6.3 degrees.

Sea Launch is a international consortium consiting of Boeing, Norway’s Kvaerner Group, Russia’s RSC Energia, and Ukraine’s Yuzhnoye design bureau and Yuzhmash production association.

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