PALO ALTO, CA and BERN, SWITZERLAND (SS/L & Sea Launch PR) — Space Systems/Loral (SS/L) (NASDAQ: LORL) and Sea Launch AG today announced the formation of a three person Independent Oversight Board to oversee the ongoing investigation into the root cause of an anomaly on a recently launched satellite. The Independent Oversight Board will be made up of impartial industry experts, nominated by the two companies.
The Independent Oversight Board will guide the joint SS/L-Sea Launch investigation team, which has been working together for several weeks to collect and analyze data with the objective of determining the root cause of damage to one solar array on an SS/L 1300 satellite that was launched on May 31, 2012 on a Sea Launch Zenit-3SL vehicle.
Instrument data showed an unexpected, isolated event around 72 seconds after liftoff, which registered on sensors on the rocket. Following the launch, SS/L and Sea Launch each conducted independent investigations to examine and analyze spacecraft and launch vehicle build records, ground test data and flight telemetry data, including readings from accelerometers, pressure sensors, and microphones in the payload compartment. Those analyses identified no shortcomings in the build quality or ground testing, but so far have not identified the root cause of the anomaly.
“Space Systems/Loral has had many successful launches on the Sea Launch Zenit rocket beginning in 2003,” said John Celli, president of SS/L. “We always enjoy working with the Sea Launch team and we see this as an opportunity to ensure our mutual success going forward. Together we are determined to uncover the source of this anomaly.”
“Sea Launch and Space Systems/Loral agree that forming an independent oversight board will greatly benefit our joint efforts to identify the root cause,” said Kjell Karlsen, president of Sea Launch AG. “Our relationship with Space Systems/Loral is strong and we are committed to working together in assuring satellite operators and the insurance community that any risk has been mitigated.”
The Independent Oversight Board and the joint SS/L-Sea Launch team will continue to work together over the coming weeks to consolidate the results of their independent investigations and to identify additional analyses and tests to be performed. With the Independent Oversight Board driving the effort, the goal will be to identify the root cause of the anomaly within three months’ time.
About Sea Launch AG
Sea Launch AG, headquartered in Bern, Switzerland, provides launch solutions to the industry’s satellite operator community based on the Zenit launch system. These services include the provision of all-inclusive launch services incorporating schedule assurance, financing, risk management; insurance and creative contracting solutions to meet the changing demands of the commercial launch market. Sea Launch AG owns and manages the primary technology, patent and other intellectual property and tangible assets of the company. These include the launch platform Odyssey and the Sea Launch Commander vessels located in the Home Port facility in Long Beach, California, and the unique know-how associated with launching satellites from an ocean-based launch platform located directly on the equator. The Sea Launch system offers the most direct and cost-effective route to geostationary orbit for commercial communications satellites, providing diversity of supply, affordability and flexibility for the industry’s satellite operators. For more information, please visit the Sea Launch website at: www.sea-launch.com.
About Space Systems/Loral
Space Systems/Loral, a subsidiary of Loral Space & Communications, has a long history of delivering reliable satellites and spacecraft systems for commercial and government customers around the world. As the world’s leading provider of commercial satellites, the company works closely with satellite operators to provide spacecraft for a broad range of services including television and radio distribution, digital audio radio, broadband Internet, and mobile communications. Billions of people around the world depend on SS/L satellites every day. For more information, visit www.ssloral.com.
About Loral Space & Communications
Loral Space & Communications is a satellite communications company. Through its Space Systems/Loral subsidiary, the company is a world-class leader in the design and manufacture of satellites and satellite systems for commercial and government applications including direct-to-home television, broadband communications, wireless telephony, weather monitoring, and air traffic management. Loral also owns 64 percent of Telesat, one of the world’s largest providers of satellite services. Telesat operates a fleet of telecommunications satellites used to broadcast video entertainment programming, distribute direct-to-home video and broadband data services, and other value-added communications services. On June 26, 2012, Loral announced that it had entered into a definitive agreement to sell Space Systems/Loral to MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd. (TSX: MDA). The closing of the transaction is subject to regulatory and other customary closing conditions. For more information, visit Loral’s Web site at www.loral.com.