Sea Launch Prepares for the Launch of DIRECTV 11

LONG BEACH, Calif., March 5 /PRNewswire/ -- The Odyssey Launch Platform and the Sea Launch Commander have departed Sea Launch Home Port for the equatorial Pacific, in preparation for the launch of the DIRECTV 11 broadcast satellite, planned for Monday, March 17. Liftoff is expected at the opening of a 58-minute launch window, at 3:49 pm Pacific Daylight Time (22:49 GMT).

Upon arrival at the launch site at 154 degrees West Longitude, the team will ballast the platform to launch depth and initiate a 72-hour countdown. During this period, they will perform a final series of tests on the launch system and the spacecraft. At launch, a Zenit-3SL vehicle will insert the 5,923 kg (13,058 lb) DIRECTV 11 satellite into geosynchronous transfer orbit, on its way to a final orbital location of 99.2 degrees West Longitude. Sea Launch will provide live coverage of the DIRECTV 11 mission via satellite and on the company website, beginning at 3:30 pm PDT (22:30 GMT) on March 17.

DIRECTV 11 is one of three recent Boeing 702-model spacecraft built for DIRECTV and is among the largest and most powerful Ka-band satellites built to date. The on-board technology of this direct-to-home satellite will enable DIRECTV to continue to expand its industry-leading lineup of quality high-definition television (HDTV) programming. DIRECTV 11, combined with the DIRECTV 10 satellite already in orbit, will provide DIRECTV with the capacity for 150 national HD channels and will be capable of supporting spot beams carrying 1,500 local HD channels.

DIRECTV 11 will continue DIRECTV's massive capacity expansion and further strengthen its position as the leading provider of HD programming in the United States. This is the fourth mission Sea Launch will execute for DIRECTV. Previous satellites include Spaceway 1 (April 26, 2005), DIRECTV 7S (May 4, 2004) and DIRECTV 1R (October 9, 1999).

About Sea Launch Company

Sea Launch Company, LLC, headquartered in Long Beach, Calif., offers the most direct and cost-effective route to geostationary orbit for commercial communications satellites. With the advantage of a launch site on the Equator, the robust Zenit-3SL rocket can lift a heavier mass or provide longer life on orbit, offering best value plus optimized spacecraft orbital delivery. For additional information and images about the DIRECTV 11 mission, please visit the Sea Launch website at: http://www.sea-launch.com/

Source: Sea Launch Company, LLC