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Sea Launch Prepares For NSS-8 Mission

File image of Sea Launch and the Odyssey platform.
by Staff Writers
Long Beach, CA (SPX) Jan 18, 2007
The Sea Launch team is preparing for its first mission of the year on January 25, with the launch of the NSS-8 communications satellite for SES NEW SKIES. Liftoff is planned at the opening of a 37-minute launch window beginning at 3:22 pm Pacific Standard Time (23:22 GMT). The Odyssey Launch Platform and the Sea Launch Commander are currently sailing to the launch site, at 154 degrees West Longitude on the Equator, to begin launch operations.

Upon arrival, the launch team will initiate a 72-hour countdown and ballast the Launch Platform 65 feet, to launch depth, performing final tests on the launch system and the satellite.

On launch day, a Zenit-3SL rocket will lift the 5,920 kg (13,051 lb) spacecraft to geosynchronous transfer orbit, on its way to a final orbital location of 57 degrees East Longitude.

The high-power, state-of-the-art NSS-8 satellite is a Boeing 702 spacecraft that carries 56 C-band and 36 Ku-band transponders, designed to replace the existing NSS-703 satellite as the centerpiece of the NEW SKIES' strategic Indian Ocean contribution to SES' global communications network.

The successful launch of NSS-8 will subsequently also allow for NSS-703 to be re-deployed to the Atlantic Ocean region at 340 degrees East, further boosting the global coverage and connectivity provided by the 40-plus strong fleet of satellites in the SES Group. NSS-8 will support a wide range of functions, including corporate communications, government and military operations, Broadband Internet services and broadcast applications.

NSS-8 will provide coverage to two-thirds of the world's population, serving countries in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, the Indian subcontinent and Asia. Designed for a 15-year lifespan, the satellite will have 18 kilowatts of total power at the beginning of life on orbit. Sea Launch will carry live coverage of this first mission for SES New Skies via satellite and also streaming video on the Sea Launch website.

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Climate Change Could Amplify Drought In East Indian Ocean And Australasia
Paris (AFP) Jan 17, 2007
Climate change could worsen the impact of an El Nino-like weather system in the Indian Ocean, bring brutal droughts to parts of Indonesia and Australasia, a study published on Thursday says. The weather system is called the Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD), a recently-discovered phenomenon that strikes the tropical Indian Ocean at various intervals, usually several years apart.

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