Sea Launch resumes operations after 2-year break

International consortium Sea Launch resumed its operations on Saturday with a launch of a Russian-Ukrainian Zenit-3SL rocket carrying a European telecoms satellite, the company said.

The rocket put the Atlantic Bird 7 satellite into a high-perigee transfer orbit at 21:25 GMT.

The 4.6-ton satellite was built by Astrium for Eutelsat Communications to provide digital broadcasting services for Eutelsat’s customers in the Middle East and North Africa. Its scheduled in-orbit lifetime exceeds 15 years.

Sea Launch was created in 1995. It incorporated Russian space corporation Energia with a 25% stake, a Boeing subsidiary with 40%, Norwegian company Aker ASA with a 20% stake and Ukraine’s SDO Yuzhnoye/PO Yuzhmash with 15%.

A total of 30 rocket launches have been made from the Odyssey platform in the Pacific from 1999 until 2009, with 27 of them successful.

Sea Launch announced its bankruptcy in June 2009. In July 2010, Energia subsidiary Energia Overseas Limited (EOL) received 95% in Sea Launch by a bankruptcy court ruling.

Sea Launch currently has ten Zenit-3SL’s on order to satisfy existing and future customer requirements for launches through the end of 2013, the company said.

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