Intelsat-18 (IS-18) at 180° East
In August 2008 satellite operator Intelsat ordered the Intelsat-18 satellite with Orbital Sciences, Inc. (Orbital ATK – Northrop Grumman). The satellite is based on Orbital’s flight-proven Star-2 platform and will generate approximately 4.9kW of payload power.
The IS-18 satellite will carry 24 C-band transponders to cover the Northern and Southern Hemispheres and 12 Ku-band transponders to provide services to the United States, French Polynesia, Australia, New Caledonia and other Pacific Islands. The satellite is located in geosynchronous orbit (GEO) at 180° East longitude and will replace Intelsat’s IS-701 spacecraft.
Intelsat-18 satellite was successfully launched on October 6th, 2011 on a Zenit-3SLB rocket booster operated by launch operator Sea Launch. This was the second commercial flight operation by Sea Launch, AG. in 12 days.
Sea Launch returned to flight after more than two years under U.S. bankruptcy protection. The company was purchased out of bankruptcy by an affiliate of RSC Energia of Korolev, Russia, the major space hardware supplier that manufacturers the Block DM upper stage.
The Intelsat-18 contract had belonged to Sea Launch, but was transferred to Space International Services (SIS) following Sea Launch’s Chapter 11 proceedings. For reasons that may relate to the availability of Zenit rocket hardware, SIS was unable to deliver on the promised launch date, and Intelsat subsequently returned the contract to Sea Launch.