How Satellites Are Launched – Satellite Technology
How to Launch a Satellite – Sea Launch
Sea Launch is a spacecraft launch service that uses a mobile sea platform for equatorial launches of commercial payloads on specialized Zenit 3SL rockets. As of January 2007 it had assembled and launched 24 rockets with two failures and one partial failure.
The sea-based launch system means the rockets can be fired from the optimum position on Earths surface, considerably increasing payload capacity and reducing launch costs compared to land-based systems.
The Sea Launch consortium of four companies from the United States, Russia, Ukraine and Norway, was established in 1995 and their first rocket was launched in March 1999. It is managed by Boeing with participation from the other shareholders.
All commercial payloads have been communications satellites intended for geostationary transfer orbit with such customers as EchoStar, DirecTV, XM Satellite Radio, and PanAmSat.
The launcher and its payload are assembled on a purpose-built ship Sea Launch Commander in Long Beach, California. It is then positioned on top of the self-propelled platform Ocean Odyssey and moved to the equatorial Pacific Ocean for launch, with the Sea Launch Commander serving as command centre. he signals being sent from the TV studios are sent, via satellite or fibre optics, to an upload centre.
How to Launch a Satellite – Ariane
With the first flight of the launch vehicle Ariane in 1979 a consortium of European firms began exploiting commercial space travel. Ariane was developed for satellite transport. By the end of 1999 the five different versions of the launch vehicle had carried over 70 satellites for research and communication into space. The Ariane craft were used for the deployment of the Astra 1 and AStr2 satellites used for satellite television around Europe.
Ariane-5 was developed during the 1990s and will gradually take over as the workhorse launch vehicle.