Sea Launch has resumed its countdown for the launch of the Thuraya-3 mobile communications satellite, with liftoff now planned for Sunday, Nov. 18, at 7:37 am PST (15:37 GMT).
The Sea Launch Commander is positioned alongside the Odyssey Launch
Platform, at the launch site at 154 degrees West Longitude, on the equator. A day before liftoff, the launch team will erect the Zenit-3SL rocket on the launch pad and perform final tests on the launch system and the spacecraft before starting the terminal countdown.
During final preparations for liftoff, the platform will be evacuated, with all personnel safely positioned on the ship, four miles from the platform. At launch, the rocket will lift the 5,173 kg (11,381 lb) spacecraft to geosynchronous transfer orbit, on its way to a final orbital location of 98.5 degrees East Longitude.
Boeing built the GEO-Mobile (GEM) spacecraft in El Segundo, Calif., for Thuraya Satellite Telecommunications Company, based in the United Arab Emirates, to provide a range of mobile voice and data services over large geographic regions. Thuraya, the world's largest provider of handheld mobile satellite services, is preparing to operate commercially in Asia-Pacific markets as early as January 2008, when Thuraya-3 is expected to become operational.
The Sea Launch team arrived at the launch site on Nov. 10 and initiated a 72-hour countdown for a Nov. 14 launch. However, high winds and unusual strong ocean currents necessitated a hold in the countdown, delaying the launch until conditions met all launch commit criteria.
Sea Launch will provide live coverage of the Thuraya-3 mission via
satellite and on its website, beginning at 7:25 am PST (15:25 GMT) on Nov. 18.
Transponder coordinates for downlinking the satellite feed will be
posted at: http://www.boeing.com.noserach/sealaunchbroadcast.html. Asimultaneous webcast may be accessed at: http://www.sea-launch.com/current_index_webcast.html.