Press Release

Sea Launch Successfully Delivers DIRECTV 7S to Orbit – Heaviest Commercial Satellite Ever Launched Successfully

By SpaceRef Editor
May 4, 2004
Filed under , ,

LONG BEACH, Calif., May 4, 2004 — Sea Launch Company
today successfully delivered the DIRECTV 7S broadcast satellite to
orbit from its ocean-based platform on the Equator, marking ten consecutive
successes for this highly reliable system. Early data indicate the
spacecraft is in excellent condition.

The Sea Launch Zenit-3SL rocket lifted off at 5:42 am PDT (12:42
GMT) from the Odyssey Launch Platform, positioned at 154
degrees West Longitude, precisely on schedule. All systems performed
nominally throughout the flight. The Block DM-SL upper stage inserted
the 5,483 kg (12,063 lb.) DIRECTV 7S satellite into geosynchronous
transfer orbit, on its way to a final orbital position at 119 degrees
West Longitude. A ground station in Weilheim, Germany, acquired the
spacecraft’s first signal, shortly after spacecraft separation,
as planned.

Immediately following the mission, Jim Maser, president and general
manager of Sea Launch, said, "In a 29-minute flight with a single-burn
of our upper stage, Sea Launch has once again broken its own record
by successfully deploying the heaviest commercial satellite in history.
This achievement further solidifies Sea Launch’s position as
the preeminent heavy lift commercial launch service in the industry."

"I want to congratulate DIRECTV on today’s exciting mission.
We are so proud to be able to provide another launch for DIRECTV and
we look forward to building upon a long and mutually beneficial relationship
as you continue to expand your direct-to-home business. I also want
to congratulate the entire Sea Launch team and thank each member of
the team for their enormous contribution to today’s flawless

DIRECTV 7S, the second spot beam satellite in the DIRECTV fleet,
will use highly focused spot beam technology to provide DIRECTV with
the capacity to deliver local channels to 41 additional markets, expanding
local channel coverage to a total of 106 markets. Built by Space Systems/Loral
(SS/L) at their state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Palo Alto,
Calif., the 1300-series spacecraft is one of several high capacity
direct-to-home (DTH) broadcast satellites SS/L has produced for DIRECTV,
the leading U.S. digital television provider. This is Sea Launch’s
second mission for DIRECTV and third for Loral. The first DIRECTV
launch was on October 9, 1999, when Sea Launch successfully placed
DIRECTV 1R into orbit. The most recent launch for Loral was Telstar
14/Estrela do Sul 1 on January 10, 2004.

Through a cooperative arrangement with Boeing Launch Services (BLS),
Sea Launch signed an agreement with Arianespace in November 2003 to
launch DIRECTV 7S. This arrangement allowed Arianespace to negotiate
a seamless transfer of the satellite to Sea Launch, and for DIRECTV
to secure a guaranteed launch slot for this important mission. The
launch services alliance utilizes launch systems from three leading
service providers – Arianespace, Boeing Launch Services and Mitsubishi
Heavy Industries – to provide customers with on-time launches and
total mission assurance.

Sea Launch Company, LLC, headquartered in Long Beach, Calif., and
marketed through BLS (,
is the world leader in providing heavy-lift commercial launch services.
This international partnership offers the most direct and cost-effective
route to geostationary orbit. With the advantage of a launch site
on the Equator, the reliable Zenit-3SL rocket can lift a heavier spacecraft
mass or provide longer life on orbit, offering best value plus schedule
assurance. For additional information and images of this successfully
completed mission, visit the Sea Launch website at:

SpaceRef staff editor.