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The Mission

Rocket: Zenit 3SL
Payload: JCSAT 9
Date: April 12, 2006
Window: 2330-0004 GMT (7:30-8:04 p.m. EDT)
Site: Equator, 154° West, Pacific Ocean

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The October 1984 flight of space shuttle Challenger featured a diverse set of accomplishments. The Earth Radiation Budget Satellite environmental spacecraft was deployed and a planet-mapping radar was tested. The seven-person crew was led by Bob Crippen and included the first Canadian in space, Marc Garneau, and the first time two women, Sally Ride and Kathryn Sullivan, had flown aboard one flight. Sullivan and Dave Leestma also conducted a spacewalk to demonstrate techniques for refueling satellites. The crew narrates this post-flight film of STS-41G.

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Zenit 3SL rocket roars into space with Japanese satellite
Posted: April 12, 2006

The Zenit rocket lifts off with JCSAT 9. Credit: Sea Launch
A Japanese communications satellite to serve Southeast Asia and Hawaii took a sea-launched route to space Wednesday, blasting off aboard a 20-story rocket from a platform floating in the Pacific Ocean.

The 20th flight of a Sea Launch Zenit 3SL rocket began at 2330 GMT (7:30 p.m. EDT). An hour later, the JCSAT 9 spacecraft was successfully delivered into a geosynchronous transfer orbit with a high point of 22,200 miles, low point of 1,047 miles and inclination of zero degrees along the equator.

Over the next few weeks, JCSAT 9 will use its propulsion system to gradually raise its orbit to geostationary altitude, where its velocity will match that of Earth's rotation. The satellite will be positioned at 132 degrees East longitude.

JSAT Corporation of Tokyo will add the spacecraft to its orbiting fleet of satellites that provide television broadcasting, data relay and other business services across the Asia-Pacific region and an extended reach to North America.

The 9,703-pound JCSAT 9 satellite, built by Lockheed Martin, is equipped with C- and Ku-band transponders, plus an S-band mobile communications package. The A2100-AX model craft has a service life of 12 years.

"The satellite launched today will join the nine satellites currently in the JSAT fleet. In addition to providing coverage for domestic and mobile communications customer bases, JCSAT 9 will cover an extensive area ranging from Hawaii and Oceania to countries across Southeast Asia," said Lockheed Martin Commercial Space Systems President Ted Gavrilis.

JCSAT 9 is the first of three satellites that Lockheed Martin is building for JSAT to launch over the next two years. This spacecraft became the 28th of Lockheed Martin's A2100 series delivered thus far.

"This is our second JSAT mission and our second consecutive launch of a Lockheed Martin satellite," said Rob Peckham, interim president and general manager of Sea Launch.

"We're delighted to have achieved another successful launch on behalf of both companies, and we look forward to future opportunities to contribute to your success. I also want to take this opportunity to thank our partners and contractors and the entire Sea Launch team for executing another outstanding Sea Launch mission."

Sea Launch deployed the Lockheed Martin-built EchoStar 10 broadcasting satellite in February. Wednesday's mission was the international company's second of six planned launches in 2006.