Sea Launch rocket lofts Eutelsat satellite

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Associated Press

Posted on December 3, 2012 at 6:00 PM

Updated Monday, Dec 3 at 6:02 PM

LONG BEACH, Calif. (AP) — Sea Launch AG says it has placed a communication satellite into orbit for global provider Eutelsat.

A Zenit-3SL rocket carrying the Eutelsat-70B satellite lifted off from Sea Launch's oceangoing platform in the equatorial Pacific at 12:43 p.m. PST (20:43 GMT) Monday.

Sea Launch says the satellite successfully separated and a ground station acquired its first signals from orbit.

The satellite will provide coverage over Europe, Africa, Central Asia and Southeast Asia as far as Australia. It's expected to go into service in January and is designed to last more than 15 years.

Switzerland-based Sea Launch sends its self-propelled launch platform and a command ship from their homeport in Long Beach, Calif., to the equator, where heavy payloads can more easily be lofted into orbit.

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