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Two shuttles sighted

Stunning aerial views of shuttles Atlantis and Endeavour perched atop launch pads 39A and 39B on Sept. 20.

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Endeavour to pad 39B

Space shuttle Endeavour made the journey from Kennedy Space Center to pad 39B in the predawn hours of Sept. 19.

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MAVEN to Mars

NASA has selected the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution spacecraft, or MAVEN, for launch to the Red Planet.


Endeavour to the VAB

For its role as a rescue craft during the Hubble servicing mission and the scheduled November logistics run to the space station, Endeavour is moved to the Vehicle Assembly Building.


STS-125: The mission

A detailed step-by-step preview of space shuttle Atlantis' STS-125 mission to extend the life and vision of the Hubble Space Telescope.


STS-125: The EVAs

The lead spacewalk officer provides indepth explanations of the five EVAs to service Hubble during Atlantis' flight.


STS-125: The crew

The seven shuttle Atlantis astronauts hold a press conference one month before their planned launch to Hubble.


STS-125: NASA leaders

The leaders of NASA's Space Operations and Science directorates give their insights into the upcoming shuttle mission to the Hubble Space Telescope.


STS-125: Shuttle boss

The head of NASA's space shuttle program discusses the risks and plans for Atlantis' trek to Hubble.


The Hubble program

An overview of the Hubble Space Telescope program and the planning that has gone into the final servicing mission.


Hubble's future science

The new instruments to be installed into Hubble and the future science objectives for the observatory are previewed.


Atlantis on the pad

Shuttle Atlantis makes the slow journey from the Vehicle Assembly Building to launch pad 39A for the STS-125 mission to service Hubble.


Meet the Hubble crew

Meet the crew launching on Atlantis' STS-125 mission to service the Hubble Space Telescope and learn how each became an astronaut in this special biography movie.


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Sea Launch deploys new Galaxy for North America

Posted: September 24, 2008

A communications satellite that will broadcast a range of international television channels to North America was sent into space today to replace the aging spacecraft currently doing that job.

As viewed from the Sea Launch Commander assembly and control ship, the Zenit rocket begins its ascent with Galaxy 19. Credit: Sea Launch
A commercial Sea Launch Zenit 3SL booster began its successful 63-minute ascent carrying the Galaxy 19 spacecraft from a converted oil-drilling platform positioned in equatorial waters of the Pacific about 1,400 miles south of Hawaii. Liftoff occurred at exactly 0927:59.108 GMT (5:27:59.108 a.m. EDT).

"Another fantastic launch," said Kjell Karlsen, president and general manager of Sea Launch. "It's what we call a very boring launch, which is very good. Everything was right on target."

The two Ukrainian-made lower stages of the rocket performed their firings to propel the Russian Block DM-SL upper stage and Galaxy satellite out of the atmosphere during the initial eight-and-a-half minutes of flight.

The upper stage then took over, completing an initial engine burn to reach a preliminary orbit about 17 minutes after launch. The rocket coasted for a half-hour, flying over South America, before re-igniting for a three-minute firing to accelerate the payload into an elliptical geosynchronous transfer orbit with a high point of 22,149 miles and low point of 1,746 miles.

The Galaxy 19 satellite will use an onboard engine to reach a circular geostationary orbit 22,300 miles above the equator where it can match Earth's rotation and seem parked over one spot of the globe. That slot will be 97 degrees West longitude where it will replace the 11-year-old Galaxy 25 spacecraft, formerly known as Telstar 5.

"This satellite will provide our customers valuable 50-state coverage in addition to reaching the Caribbean, Canada and Mexico," said David McGlade, Intelsat's CEO.

"Once operational, Galaxy 19 will host the largest international video programming platform in North America, providing distribution of news and entertainment to our customers who serve the ethnically diverse audience of this region. Likewise, Galaxy 19 will offer our government and network customers refreshed capacity, with seamless data communications for years to come."

Credit: Loral
The 10,340-pound satellite was built by Space Systems/Loral using the 1300-series spacecraft design. It is equipped with a communications package of 52 transponders in C-band and Ku-band.

"We expect to see the spacecraft working flawlessly for over 20 years," said Ken Lee, Intelsat's vice president of space systems.

This is the 43rd satellite constructed by Space Systems/Loral to enter Intelsat's in-orbit fleet.

"We have been delivering satellites to Intelsat for over 25 years," said John Celli, president and chief operating officer of Space Systems/Loral.

Galaxy 19 marked Intelsat's 8th flight with Sea Launch and the second this year, following the Galaxy 18 craft's deployment in May.

"I was here four months ago and, just like today, it was another flawless mission," said Lee.

Galaxy 19 will join Intelsat's North American Galaxy fleet comprised of 16 other satellites that cover North and Central America, plus the Caribbean.

"Globalization of content continues to be a significant driver for industry growth, creating demand for satellite capacity. Because of the global society we live in today, being able to watch regional programming from other countries or special events such as the Olympic Games remains paramount, especially for the ethnically diverse audience in North America," said McGlade.

This was the fifth and final Sea Launch mission of the year. The next ocean-going liftoff is targeted for January to loft Italy's Sicral 1B military telecommunications satellite.

Earlier this summer, Spaceflight Now visited Sea Launch Home Port in Long Beach, California. See our exclusive photo gallery here and an overview of Sea Launch operations here.