Sea Launch Blasts EchoStar IX/Telstar 13 Into Orbit
On Thursday at 8:31 p.m. PDT (11:31 p.m. EDT), the Sea Launch Zenit-3SL rocket lifted the EchoStar IX/Telstar 13 satellite from the Odyssey Launch Platform in the Pacific Ocean. Sea Launch said the spacecraft successfully separated from the Block DM upper stage, placing the satellite, manufactured by Space Systems/Loral, into geosynchronous transfer orbit. All systems are operating nominally and the satellite will be positioned at the 121 degrees West Longitude orbital slot.
EchoStar Communications [Nasdaq: DISH] will operate the Ku- and Ka-band payloads as EchoStar IX; Loral Skynet, a subsidiary of Loral Space & Communications, will initially own and operate the C-band payload as Telstar 13. In July, Loral reached a definitive agreement to sell Telstar 13, along with five other North American telecommunications satellites to Intelsat.