ST. LOUIS --- On a historic day in the launch industry, Boeing Launch Servicesâ€™ customers successfully launched two spacecraft within hours of each other from different vantage points on the globe. Today, both Sea Launch and Delta II launch vehicles proved once again, the ability of Boeing to achieve mission success for its launch customers.
In an early morning launch from the equator the Sea Launch Zenit-3SL lifted off its launch platform in the Pacific Ocean at 6:56 a.m. PDT (13:56 GMT) and successfully placed the Thuraya-2 commercial telecommunications satellite into geosynchronous transfer orbit. The Boeing GEO-Mobile satellite was launched for Thuraya Satellite Telecommunications Company of Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. The Thuraya mission was flown on the 6,000 kg Sea Launch configuration. Boeing successfully acquired the satellite at approximately one hour and 40 minutes after lift-off, with preliminary orbit data indicating another on-target satellite placement for Sea Launch.
Less than four hours later a Boeing Delta II was launched from Space Launch Complex 17A at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., during an instantaneous launch window of 1:58:47 p.m. The first of two scientific missions for NASA, the Mars Exploration Rover A, recently named Spirit, successfully separated from the Delta II launch vehicle after 37 minutes and began its 7-month journey to Mars.
The ability to provide launch services to two customers with specific needs on the same day is exactly what Boeing Launch Services is all about, said Will Trafton, Boeing Launch Services president and vice president-general manager of Boeing Expendable Launch Systems.
The second of the Mars missions, Mars Exploration Rover B, or Opportunity, is currently scheduled to launch on June 25 from Cape Canaveral aboard a Delta II Heavy launch vehicle. Boeing has successfully launched all of NASAâ€™s Mars probes and rovers aboard Delta II launch vehicles and hopes to continue NASA missions with the unique, proven capabilities of the Delta II.
A unit of The Boeing Company, Integrated Defense Systems is one of the world's largest space and defense businesses. Headquartered in St. Louis, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems is a $25 billion business. It provides systems solutions to its global military, government and commercial customers. It is a leading provider of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; the world's largest military aircraft manufacturer; the world's largest satellite manufacturer and a leading provider of space-based communications; the primary systems integrator for U.S. missile defense; NASA's largest contractor; and a global leader in launch services. (ends)