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    Thuraya-3 satellite launch scheduled for November 18

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    The delayed sea launch of a Zenit-3SL rocket with a Thuraya-3 communications satellite is scheduled to go ahead on November 18, a spokesman for the Russian Mission Control Center said Friday.

    MOSCOW, November 16 (RIA Novosti) - The delayed sea launch of a Zenit-3SL rocket with a Thuraya-3 communications satellite is scheduled to go ahead on November 18, a spokesman for the Russian Mission Control Center said Friday.

    "The launch is scheduled for Sunday, 6.37 p.m. Moscow time (3.37 p.m. GMT)," the spokesman said.

    A Sea Launch consortium spokesperson, Paula Korn, earlier said that the launch, initially scheduled for November 13, had been delayed indefinitely due to poor weather conditions.

    The consortium, established in 1995, is owned by Boeing, Norway's Kvaerner ASA, Ukraine's Yuzhmash, and Russia's RSC-Energia, and is the only company which launches its vehicles from the equator, allowing the rockets to carry heavier payloads than from other latitudes.

    This is the first launch of the Zenit carrier rocket following a January 30, booster rocket explosion that slightly damaged the Odyssey Launch Platform. The commission concluded that the failure originated in the liquid oxygen turbo-pump section of the RD-171M main engine, manufactured by Russia's power machine-building company Energomash.

    UAE-based Thuraya telecommunications company began commercial operations in mid-2001, following Sea Launch's successful deployment of Thuraya 1 on October 20, 2000. Sea Launch successfully orbited Thuraya-2 on June 10, 2003. The 5,180 kg (11,420 lb) Thuraya-3 spacecraft, built by Boeing, is designed to expand Thuraya's system capacity and coverage area to East Asia.

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