Sea Launch vessels depart on Intelsat mission

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LONG BEACH, Calif. (AP) — Sea Launch AG says its oceangoing rocket pad and command ship have departed their Long Beach, Calif., home port for the equator to launch a communications satellite for Intelsat.

The Switzerland-based company said in a statement Monday that liftoff of a Zenit-3SL rocket carrying Intelsat-19 is planned for 10:22 p.m. PDT on May 31.

Built by Space Systems Loral of Palo Alto, Calif., Intelsat-19 will serve Southeast Asia, Australia, New Zealand and the U.S. West Coast.

The Sea Launch system takes advantages of physics that allow a rocket to more easily carry a heavy payload to orbit from the equator.

At the launch site, the platform Odyssey is ballasted and the rocket is erected and fueled before personnel transfer to the ship Sea Launch Commander for the remotely controlled blastoff.

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