Sea Launchs debut

As a result of the Zenit 2 loss, Sea Launch decided to assign a dummy payload to its inaugural launch and to slip it from December 1998 to March 1999.71 This vehicle was to have carried Galaxy 11 for PanAmSat on a commercial basis, but this was

reassigned to Arianespace.72 In the autumn of 1998, Sea Launch had 13 'firm' orders from Hughes Space and Communications and five from Space Systems/Loral. The first commercial mission following the demonstration was to be for ICO, but ICO cancelled two of its three contracts and reassigned the

Preparing a GlobalStar satellite, a depiction of the constellation and an artist's impression of the their deployment.

Preparing and launching the Sea Launch Zenit 3SL with DirecTV 1R.

satellites to ILS, which put one on a Proton (thereby increasing its contingent to four) and one on an Atlas IIAS (now two); Boeing's Delta III had five satellites booked.73*74 Of the dozen satellites to be launched, 10 were to form the operational constellation and the other two were to be inorbit spares. The optimistic plan was to launch them all over a 15-18-month period starting in May 1999. Sea Launch's Odyssey platform arrived at Long Beach, California, on 4 October 1998, en route to its station near Christmas Island on the equator in mid-Pacific.75,76 On 27 March 1999 the first Zenit 3SL lifted off with 4.7-tonnes of ballast.77 The first commercial launch was scheduled for August, but had to be postponed.78 On 9 October the second Zenit 3SL successfully released DirecTV 1R, an HS-601HP for DirecTV Incorporated, which, at 3.5 tonnes, was well within the vehicle's 5.5-tonne capacity.79,8°

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