A Zenith rocket lifted off from the Space Launch platform in the Pacific Ocean at 7.59 a.m. Moscow time, thus launching the Telstar-18 communications satellite.
This spacecraft, which has a mass of more than 4,500 kg, will subsequently be placed in a geostationary orbit at 138 degrees eastern longitude. Incidentally, this is the third rocket to blast off from the Sea Launch platform in 2004.
Talking to RIA Novosti, people at Boeing's Russian office noted that the Telstar-18 satellite had been assembled by the Space Systems Loral company. This spacecraft will be controlled by Loral Skynet (Both companies are affiliated with Loral Space & Communications). The Telstar-18 satellite has 54 active transponders, including 16 Ku-band transponders and 38 C-band transponders.
This spacecraft will be relaying radio-and-TV broadcasts over the entire Asia-Pacific region; it will provide all-out Internet access, as well.
The Sea Launch company cooperates with Boeing Launch Services on the international space-launch market, orbiting quite a few heavy-duty satellites.
RIA Novosti has just learned that the Zenith rocket didn't place the Telstar-18 communications satellite into its preset orbit.
According to preliminary reports, the booster engine didn't operate as planned; that's why the Telstar-18 didn't reach its preset orbit, a duty official at the mission-control center noted.