WSatellites to be launched on the Zenit 3SL rocket are first received at Sea Launch's Long Beach, California facility for encapsulation. All stages of the rocket, including payload and fairing, are then assembled on board the purpose-built, 202m (660ft)-long assembly and command ship Sea Launch Commander.

The horizontally integrated rocket is then hoisted on to the launch platform, Odyssey, which sails independently to the launch site at a longitude of 154°W. Odyssey, at one time the world's largest semi-submersible vehicle, then ballasts down 19.5m in the water for launch stability.

At this point all personnel are transferred to the command ship, 5.5km (3nm) away. Automated systems roll the rocket out of its hangar and erect it on the launch pad 30h before launch. Fuelling begins 3h before and launch is remotely controlled from the command ship.

Source: Flight International