Intelsat 27 comes crashing down to earth

01 February 2013 |


The launch of the Intelsat 27 satellite failed seconds after liftoff at 6:57am GMT this morning.

It was taking place on the Sea Launch Odyssey platform located on the equator in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

The failure may be particularly damaging for Sea Launch, which already had a dented reputation after the Dutch NS-88 satellite exploded on launch in 2007. Footage of the explosion was uploaded to YouTube and viewed worldwide.

Boeing was the manufacturer of the Zenit 3SL rocket used for the Intelsat 27 launch. A Zenit 3SL was also the launch vessel for the NS-88.

"We are very disappointed with the outcome of the launch and offer our sincere regrets to our customer, Intelsat, and their spacecraft provider, Boeing,” said Kjell Karlsen, president of Sea Launch.

“The cause of the failure is unknown, but we are evaluating it and working closely with Intelsat, Boeing, Energia Logistics Ltd. and our Zenit-3SL suppliers. We will do everything reasonably possible to recover from this unexpected and unfortunate event.”

Intelsat said in a statement that this morning’s launch failed approximately 40 seconds after liftoff.

The satellite was intended to operate from 304.5 degrees East, serving customers in North America, South America, the North Atlantic and Europe.

Sea Launch is establishing a review oversight board to determine the cause of the failure.

“We are clearly disappointed with the outcome of the launch. The cause of the failure is unknown, but we will work closely with our launch and manufacturing partners to determine the necessary next steps,” said Intelsat CEO David McGlade.

Both the satellite and the launch were fully insured.