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Sea Launch bumps back rocket launch a day

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Less than a year out of bankruptcy, rocket venture Sea Launch is set to send a 10,141-pound telecommunications satellite into orbit from the middle of the Pacific Ocean on Saturday for Paris-based communications giant Eutelsat. 

The company will webcast the launch live on its website here beginning around 1 p.m. PDT. The launch is scheduled for 1:18 p.m.

Sea Launch had planned on launching Friday, but had to push it back a day because it took longer than expected to reach its launch site in the middle of the Pacific.

The company uses a floating ocean platform near the equator to lift satellites into space. It's located about 3,300 miles southwest of Long Beach and 1,400 miles south of the Hawaiian Islands. The site allows rockets to reach orbit faster while burning less fuel as they use the Earth's rotation for momentum.

When the company isn’t blasting off 20-story rockets, it docks its specially designed ship and a launch platform, made from a modified oil rig, in the Port of Long Beach.

It is the company’s first launch since it emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection late last year. For a more in-depth look at Sea Launch and its history, take a look here at a story that ran in Thursday’s Times.

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-- W.J. Hennigan

twitter.com/wjhenn

Photo: Sea Launch transfers rocket to launch platform. Credit: Sea Launch

 
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