Afloat Again for Atlantic Bird 7

Nice to see Sea-Launch’s return to service after all that bankruptcy business in 2009.

Sea Launch AG has successfully launched the ATLANTIC BIRD(TM) 7 broadcast satellite from the Equator on the ocean-based Odyssey Launch Platform, marking its first mission for Eutelsat Communications (Euronext Paris: ETL) and its awaited return to launch operations following re-organization in late 2010.

The Zenit-3SL rocket carrying the ATLANTIC BIRD(TM) 7 spacecraft lifted off at 13:18 Pacific Daylight Time (20:18 GMT/UTC) on September 24 from the launch platform, positioned at 154 degrees West Longitude in international waters of the Pacific Ocean. One hour and seven minutes later, the Block DM-SL upper stage inserted the satellite, weighing approximately 4,600 kilograms (10,141 lbs.) and built by Astrium, an EADS company, into geosynchronous transfer orbit, on its way to a final orbital position at 7 degrees West Longitude. Operators at the Hartebeesthoek ground station near Pretoria, South Africa acquired the spacecraft’s first signals from orbit shortly after spacecraft separation. All systems performed nominally throughout the launch mission.

Here’s the video, with dual English and Ukrainian countdown in the beginning, followed by the camera operator trying to keep the rocket in the frame while out at sea…


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