Sea Launch program to orbit communications satellite June 17

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WASHINGTON, June 9 (RIA Novosti) - Sea Launch, the world's sole company to orbit satellites from a pad in equatorial waters, will send an American satellite into space on June 17, the international consortium said Friday.

Sea Launch said in a news release that a Russian-made Zenit-3SL carrier rocket would put the Galaxy 16 communications satellite into orbit in a launch scheduled to happen at 7:50 a.m. GMT.

The satellite will replace the old Galaxy 4R satellite, which belonged to PanAmSat. It is intended for broadcasts in the United States, Alaska, Hawaii, Mexico and Canada. Galaxy 16 is the fourth spacecraft Sea Launch will orbit for PanAmSat.

Sea Launch was created in 1995 as a consortium comprising Boeing, Norway's Kvaerner Group, leading Russian spacecraft-maker Energia, and Ukraine's Yuzhnoye design bureau and Yuzhmash production association.

It is the only company to operate launches from a sea platform in the Pacific's equatorial waters, a location that makes it possible to launch heavier payloads than from elsewhere.

Sea Launch made four successful launches in 2005 and one in 2006.

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