Satellite services group Intelsat successfully launched the second of five satellites planned for 2012, the company announced on Friday.
The Intelsat 19 satellite was launched from a mobile launch platform in the Pacific Ocean, by a Sea Launch Zenit 3SL launch vehicle at 1:23 Eastern Daylight Time, or 6:23 South African time.
An hour later, the Intelsat 19 satellite separated from the rocket's upper stage and continued its ascent toward geosynchronous orbit, Intelsat CEO Dave McGlade said.
Intelsat 19 was expected to replace Intelsat 8 once operational in July and was anticipated to have a useful life of more than 18 years.
The satellite would provide C- and Ku-band capacity for media, government and network services customers in the western US and the Asia-Pacific region.
“It also carries three specially designed Ku-band mobility beams that will provide maritime and aeronautical users with always-on broadband connectivity throughout the northern and south-western Pacific Ocean,” said McGlade.
Intelsat is embarking on a multibillion-dollar project to launch five satellites this year. Three of the satellites would service the African continent, corporate communications director Alex Horwitz said in May.
The company's current network, which had 52 satellites, 23 of which directly service Africa, would expand to 57 satellites during the year.
Intelsat 20, Intelsat 21 and Intelsat 23 were scheduled for launch in the third quarter.
Intelsat 20 and Intelsat 23, both of which target Africa, were expected to be dispatched during the next few months. Intelsat 22 was launched in March.
Satellites 22 and 20 would also provide beams for the group's Ku-band global mobility network, meeting increasing demand for global mobility services.
Intelsat provides direct-to-home television platforms, as well as telecommunications infrastructure globally, through satellite and fibre services.
In April 2011, Intelsat was responsible for the launch of New Dawn, which enabled various new technology roll-outs, including a multichannel-per-carrier media platform.