A rocket carrying a telecommunications satellite into space blasted off in a ball of orange flames from a platform in the Pacific Ocean on Tuesday, the Sea Launch venture reported.
The launch of the 200-foot (60-meter) tall Zenit 3-SL rocket went off smoothly at 6:07 a.m. PT (9:07 a.m. ET) following a countdown in English and Russian, according to a broadcast on the company's Web site.
A ground station at Lake Cowichan in British Columbia acquired the first signal from the satellite about two hours after the launch as planned, Sea Launch said.
The 13,108-pound (5,899-kilogram) Eurostar 3000 satellite, operated by London-based Inmarsat Ltd., is designed to support delivery of high-speed Internet and intranet content and products, video-on-demand, video conferencing, fax, e-mail, phone and LAN access, according to Sea Launch. The satellite — built by Paris-based EADS Astrium — has a life expectancy of more than 13 years.
Sea Launch is an international partnership of American, Russian, Ukrainian and Norwegian businesses that serves commercial customers.