Ukrainian rocket to launch U.S. satellite from Pacific in April

WASHINGTON, March 31 (RIA Novosti, Alexei Berezin) - The Ukrainian Zenit-3SL rocket will launch the United States JCSat-9 satellite from a platform in the Pacific Ocean in April, the Sea Launch company said Friday.

The Zenit-3SL launch vehicle will put the U.S. telecommunications satellite into geosynchronous transfer orbit to serve Asian countries. JCSat-9 has been delivered to Sea Launch facilities, where it will undergo pre-operational tests, and attached to the carrier rocket.

Sea Launch was created in 1995 as a consortium including U.S. company Boeing, Kvaerner Group (Norway), Russian space corporation Energia, the Yuzhnoye design bureau (Ukraine) and the Yuzhmash production association (Ukraine).

Sea Launch is the only company implementing launches from a sea platform in the equatorial waters of the Pacific. The location makes it possible to launch heavier payloads than from territories than from other regions.

Sea Launch conducted four successful launches in 2005, and one in 2006.

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