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Zenit rocket orbits U.S. communications satellite

RIA Novosti

21/05/2008 19:49 WASHINGTON, May 21 (RIA Novosti) - A Zenit rocket successfully delivered a U.S. communications satellite into orbit as part of the Sea Launch project, the company said on Wednesday.

The 4.6 ton (10,000 lb) Galaxy 18 satellite was built for Intelsat, Ltd. to enhance the company's ability to provide advanced television, data and other communications services in North America, Puerto Rico, Hawaii, Canada and Mexico.

"Galaxy 18 will provide our customers valuable 50-state coverage and reach Puerto Rico, Canada and Mexico, operating in a powerhouse role, delivering some of the most popular programming to millions of American homes," Intelsat CEO David McGlade was quoted by NASA as saying.

Sea Launch was established in 1995 as a consortium comprising Boeing, Norway's Kvaerner Group, leading Russian spacecraft-maker Energia, and Ukraine's Yuzhnoye design bureau and Yuzhmash production association.

It is the only company to operate launches from a sea platform in the Pacific's equatorial waters, a location that makes it possible to launch heavier payloads than from elsewhere.

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