Satellite sea launch successful
Promise of improved comms in Asia Pacific
The Thuraya-3 mobile voice and data services satellite has been successfully entered geosynchronous transfer orbit after having launched from the Oydessy Pacific Ocean rocket platform.
A Zenit-3SL rocket carrying the 5,173kg, Boeing-built satellite took off at 3:49am PST from a location on the equator on a mission to put a communications satellite for Abu Dhabi-based Thuraya Telecommunications into orbit.
Oydessy Pacific Ocean rocket platform
The first attempt to launch the satellite in November was scuppered due to unusually strong currents that affected the floating launch platform. The Oydessy and the launch command ship had to return to home port in Long Beach, California to resupply and then sail back to the launch location, 154 degrees west longitude.
The Sea Launch system is designed to take advantage of physics that allow a rocket launched from the equator to carry a heavier payload into orbit than it could if the launch point was anywhere else on the Earth's surface.
With a designed lifetime of 12.5 years, the satellite has been positioned in orbit, 35,786 km (22,236 miles) above the Earth. ®
No, they're not all as close to the equator as possible. Plesetsk for example is at 62.8 N, which is actually an advantage for many desirable orbits, as noted here :
although it's not a very recent webpage.
It's not just the boost from equatorial rotation velocity. These satellites have to go into zero-inclination orbits, because otherwise "Geostationary" really means that their latitude oscillates up and down across the Equator. If you launch from 28N (South Florida), it requires a huge amount of extra energy to shed that unwanted orbital inclination. From the Equator, you are already at the desired inclination.
Don't like the colour of the rocket.