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Sea Launch postpones Eutelsat 3B mission

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This image provided by Sea Launch AG shows a European communications satellite lifting off into orbit Saturday Sept. 24, 2011, by a rocket that blasted off from Sea Launch AG's floating pad in the equatorial Pacific.  Sea Launch AG has postponed the planned April 15, 2014, launch of a communications satellite for France-based Eutelsat because of damage that occurred during movement of the integrated launch vehicle at the company's homeport in Long Beach, Calif. (AP Photo/Sea Launch AG)

This image provided by Sea Launch AG shows a European communications satellite lifting off into orbit Saturday Sept. 24, 2011, by a rocket that blasted off from Sea Launch AG’s floating pad in the equatorial Pacific. Sea Launch AG has postponed the planned April 15, 2014, launch of a communications satellite for France-based Eutelsat because of damage that occurred during movement of the integrated launch vehicle at the company’s homeport in Long Beach, Calif. (AP Photo/Sea Launch AG)

LONG BEACH, Calif. — Sea Launch AG has postponed the planned April 15 launch of a communications satellite for France-based Eutelsat because of damage that occurred during movement of the integrated launch vehicle at the company’s homeport in Long Beach, Calif.

The company said Monday that a decision was made to de-mate the payload from the upper stage to resolve the issue, establish the root cause and perform other checks.

Sea Launch said the Eutelsat 3B satellite was not powered on at the time and was unaffected.

A new launch date was not immediately announced.

The company’s novel launch system employs a self-propelled oceangoing launch pad and a command ship that travel from California to the equator, where its rockets carry satellites into orbit. The system’s successful maiden launch occurred on March 27, 1999.

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