Sea Launch SA has successfully launched the EUTELSAT 3B satellite from at its ocean-based Launch Platform Odyssey. The Zenit-3SL rocket carrying the spacecraft lifted off at 2109 GMT on 26 May from the launch platform, positioned at the equator at 154 degrees West longitude in the Pacific Ocean. One hour later, the Block DM-SL upper stage inserted the satellite, weighing 5,967 kg into Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO), on its way to a final orbital position at 3 degrees East longitude in Geostationary Earth Orbit (GEO). Based on the Eurostar E3000 platform of Airbus Defence and Space, the EUTELSAT 3B satellite has been designed to operate three commercial payloads in the C, Ku and Ka bands offering services to Latin America, Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia. EUTELSAT 3B has a designed in-orbit lifetime exceeding 15 years.
Comment by David Todd: So it is congratulations to Sea Launch who were really due a change of luck after its Chapter 11 bankruptcy, past launch failures and a one year launch hiatus in operations. And it could be a “Lazarus-like” come back as Sea Launch could be in a good position to offer satellites “stranded” by the Proton launch failure investigation another way to get into GEO. For while Arianespace’s Ariane 5 ECA is the commercial launch vehicle of choice in terms of reliability, it currently has a full launch schedule (albeit slightly messed up by the technical delay to Optus 10) so it cannot really benefit from Proton’s woes. Similarly while the Atlas V is officially open to commercial business, its full set of US DoD engagements really limits launch options. Likewise Falcon 9 also has a full backlog, at least in the short term. So assuming there are no problems to do with its Russian-shareholding and Ukrainian rocket manufacture, Sea Launch could soon be on a roll again.