SeaLaunch Lifts DirecTV 11

Sea Launch yesterday lifted the DIRECTV 11 satellite from its ocean-based platform on the Equator.

Yesteray’s launch marks Sea Launch’s 4th successful launch of a DIRECTV satellite:

A Zenit-3SL rocket lifted off at 3:48 pm PDT (22:48 GMT) from the Odyssey Launch Platform, positioned at 154 degrees West Longitude, precisely on schedule. All systems performed nominally throughout the flight. The Block DM-SL upper stage inserted the 5,923 kg (13,058 lb) DIRECTV 11 satellite into geosynchronous transfer orbit, on its way to a final orbital position at 99.2 degrees West Longitude. Acquisition of the spacecraft’s first signals from orbit is expected in another few hours and will be reported when confirmed….

DIRECTV 11 is one of three recent Boeing 702-model spacecraft built for DIRECTV and is among the largest and most powerful Ka-band satellites built to date. The on-board technology of this direct-to-home satellite will enable DIRECTV to continue to expand its industry-leading lineup of quality high-definition television (HDTV) programming. DIRECTV 11, combined with the DIRECTV 10 satellite already in orbit, will provide DIRECTV with the capacity for 150 national HD channels and will be capable of supporting spot beams carrying 1,500 local HD channels.

Video of the launch can be seen here; a live webcam of the Sea Launch platform is viewable here

Boeing provides additional specs on the bird (opens in PDF).

It was just over a year ago that Sea Launch experienced a spectacular failure during its launch of the NSS-8 satellite. (The booster rocket exploded in a fireball during lift-off.) Additional details of that incident (as well as a pretty dramatic photo) can be seen in the comment thread of our blog post on that launch