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Sea Launch project delayed by one day

WASHINGTON, June 17 (RIA Novosti) - Sea Launch, the world's sole company to orbit satellites from a pad in equatorial waters, said Saturday it had postponed the launch of a U.S. satellite by one day, moving liftoff to June 18.

A Russian-made Zenit-3SL carrier rocket was expected to put the Galaxy 16 communications satellite into orbit in a launch scheduled to happen at 7:50 a.m. GMT June 17 but a Sea Launch spokesperson told RIA Novosti the company's systems had not been ready for the launch.

She said all problems had been resolved and the launch would take place at 7:50 a.m. GMT June 18.

"The mission director stopped the 72-hour countdown on June 15 to allow the launch team to investigate an off-nominal indication that occurred during routine tests. The off-nominal condition has been corrected and the countdown now continues toward a June 18 launch," the company said in a news release.

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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