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Zenit launch delayed until Nov. 14 - mission control

RIA Novosti

12/11/2007 12:18 MOSCOW, November 12 (RIA Novosti) - A Zenit rocket launch with a Thuraya-3 communications satellite, part of the Sea Launch project, has been delayed due to poor weather until November 14, Russia's mission control spokesperson said Monday.

The first launch of a Zenit carrier rocket following a January explosion that damaged a launch platform had originally been scheduled for November 13.

"The launch has been scheduled for 6:57 p.m. Moscow time (3:57 p.m. GMT) Tuesday, but due to bad weather conditions at a launch site in the Pacific Ocean, it has been postponed until November 14," the source said.

Established in 1995, the Sea Launch consortium is owned by Boeing, Norway's Kvaerner ASA, Ukraine's Yuzhmash, and Russia's RSC-Energia.

The company launches its vehicles from the equator, which allows the rockets to carry heavier payloads than from other latitudes.

A Sea Launch Zenit-3SL rocket carrying a commercial communications satellite exploded shortly after liftoff from a platform in the Pacific on January 31. The Odyssey Launch Platform suffered only minor damage.

Sea Launch spokesperson Paula Korn earlier said the "mission recovery" program had been successfully completed and the November launch of a Thuraya satellite had been authorized.

The Thuraya mobile communications system serves a region home to 2.3 billion people, in the Middle East, North and Central Africa, Europe, Central Asia and the Indian subcontinent.

Thuraya began commercial operations in mid-2001, following Sea Launch's successful deployment of Thuraya-1 on October 20, 2000. Sea Launch successfully orbited Thuraya-2 on June 10, 2003. The 5,180 kg (11,420 lb) Thuraya-3 spacecraft is designed to expand Thuraya's system capacity and coverage area.

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