A Zenit launch vehicle has successfully inserted Intelsat 19 into geosynchronous transfer orbit (GTO) after its 1 June liftoff from the SeaLaunch platform in the Pacific Ocean, but a problem with the satellite's solar array deployment may limit its utility.

The launch occurred apparently without incident from SeaLaunch's floating launch pad in the equatorial Pacific Ocean, where the pad is towed from Los Angeles, California, to provide the greatest velocity boost from the Earth's rotation.

The Space Systems Loral (SSL)-built satellite, meant to provide C- and Ku-band satellite television services to the Pacific Rim from a geostationary position, is only partly functional because one of the spacecraft's two solar arrays has thus far failed to deploy. The LS-1300 bus upon which the satellite was built is a commonly-used and generally reliable system, but previous LS-1300s have suffered from similar array deployment failures in the past.

"There is no immediate risk to either Intelsat 19 or the Intelsat customers," says Intelsat. "It's still early in the assessment, the complete cause of the problem is unknown, but we will have access to a partial payload."

Intelsat has three additional SSL-built satellites on its launch manifest, including Intelsat 20, which was scheduled for launch in July 2012 but has been delayed.

 Zenit Intelsat launch

 ©Sea Launch

Source: Flight International