Boeing Frontiers
September 2003
Volume 02, Issue 05
Top Stories Inside Quick Takes Site Tools
Special Features


The mission: to place the 4,737 kg (10,443 lb) EchoStar IX/Telstar 13 spacecraft accurately into a high perigee geosynchronous transfer orbit for customer Space Systems/Loral. The means: the Sea Launch Zenit-3SL rocket, launched from the Odyssey Launch Platform on the Equator. Once operational, the multi-band satellite will support both the EchoStar U.S. DISH Network and Loral Skynet television programming throughout North America, including Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico.
  AUG. 1: The Sea Launch Commander heads toward the launch site. Although the Commander left Home Port a few days after the slower Odyssey Launch Platform, it soon catches up and the two vessels sail together, about three miles apart and within line of sight. On this trip, the Commander and the Odyssey will reach the site in record time. Upon arrival at the launch site on Aug. 3, the Odyssey Launch Platform, a highly modified former oildrilling rig, is ballasted to its launch depth, about 65 feet, making it a highly stable launch platform.
JULY 27: Passengers of the Sea Launch Commander practice a safety drill after it sets sail from Sea Launch Home Port in Long Beach, Calif. The agenda at sea is a busy one, including systems testing and launch rehearsals. Here, passengers practice taking their positions in a lifeboat after donning life jackets and reporting to their muster stations (a designated spot where people gather, usually in an urgent situation), as they would in a real emergency.  

AUG. 4: The Sea Launch team gathers beneath the international countdown clocks in the launch control center on the Commander. The photo has become a traditional event that commemorates the start of the 72-hour launch countdown. The EchoStar IX/Telstar 13 satellite arrived at the Payload Processing Facility at Sea Launch Home Port in Long Beach, Calif., just seven weeks earlier.

AUG. 6: The Sea Launch Zenit- 3SL rocket rolls out of its protective hangar on the Odyssey Launch Platform 27 hours before liftoff. It then is automatically erected on the launch pad. Launch support personnel transfer to the Commander prior to loading of the rocket's liquid oxygen and kerosene propellants. Loading starts 2.5 hours before liftoff time. The large transporter erector arm is lowered 17 minutes before flight, signaling all parameters are "go" for launch.

AUG. 7: Mission Success! Liftoff occurrs at 8:31 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time. In a span of a little more than an hour after liftoff, the first stage separates; the payload fairing is jettisoned; the second stage separates from the Block DM-SL upper stage; the Block DM-SL performs a first burn, coasts, performs a second burn and then separates from the spacecraft; and a ground station in Beijing acquires the first signal from the spacecraft nine minutes later. With that, the EchoStar IX/Telstar 13 satellite is accurately inserted into geosynchronous transfer orbit in perfect condition.

JULY 30: Safety Officer Lars Haaheim plots the position of the Sea Launch Commander. Destination is a position on the equator at 154 degrees west longitude, approximately 1,400 miles south of Hawaii. This equatorial location provides the most direct route to orbit, offering maximum lift capacity for increased payload mass or extended spacecraft life on orbit.

JULY 31: Chef de Cuisine Vidar Thowsen creates an appetizer for a VIP dinner. The Commander provides accommodations for up to 240 crew, members of the launch team, customer representatives and VIPs.

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