SEATTLE, Oct. 25 /PRNewswire/ -- Sea Launch Co. announced today that its customer, Hughes Space and Communications International, Inc., has exercised options to order three additional commercial satellite launches aboard Sea Launch rockets.  By exercising the launch options, Hughes has increased to 13 the number of firm orders it has placed with Sea Launch. The launches will help send into orbit a constellation of 12 satellites for ICO Global Communications beginning in late 1988.  "This continued expression of confidence by Hughes in the Sea Launch system is very gratifying," said Sea Launch Co. president Ron Olson in making the announcement.  "The development of our system is continuing on schedule, and we are very tightly focused on conducting our first launch for Hughes in June of 1998."  Today's announcement brings to 18 the number of firm launch orders announced to date by Sea Launch Co.  In addition to 13 orders (and additional options) held by Hughes, five launch orders are held by Space Systems/Loral. The launches will be conducted from a unique, ocean-going launch complex comprised of two ships which are under construction in Europe, using rocket components being manufactured in Russia and Ukraine.  Sea Launch will operate from a U.S. home port, now under construction in Long Beach, Calif.  The first Sea Launch mission will take place in June 1998, when the company will launch Hughes' first Model 702 high-power telecommunications satellite.  That satellite will be launched to a geo-stationary transfer orbit 22,200 miles above the Earth, and will become part of the Hughes Galaxy(R) satellite constellation.  The three launches announced today will be for Hughes Model 601 satellites, that will become part of ICO Global Communications' planned constellation of 12 satellites.  These satellites will be in a medium Earth orbit some 6,400 miles high, and will provide satellite-enabled global phone, data, facsimile and basic messaging services, primarily through hand-held phones similar in size, weight and design  to current cellular units.  ICO Global Communications was established in January 1995 as a private company to provide satellite-enabled global mobile communications services. ICO has 47 investors comprising telecommunications and technology companies from 45 countries world-wide as well as Hughes, Inmarsat and NEC.  Sea Launch Co. is an international commercial space venture led by Boeing Commercial Space Co., Seattle, and its partners RSC-Energia (Moscow), Kvaerner a.s. (Norway), and NPO-Yuzhnoye (Ukraine).  The company is presently outfitting a large, semi-submersible vessel to serve as an ocean-going launch platform, and is building an Assembly & Command Ship to serve as a mobile rocket assembly facility and sea-going Mission Control center.  The system will be used to launch commercial satellites using three-stage Sea Launch rockets, which are derived from the two-stage Zenit and the Block DM upper stage.    SOURCE  Boeing Defense and Space Group /CONTACT:  Elliot Pulham of the Boeing Defense and Space Group, 206-773-3613/  /Boeing's press releases available through Company News On-Call by fax, 800-758-5804, ext. 109119, or  (BA)  CO:  Boeing Co.; Hughes Space and Communications International Inc. ST:  Washington IN:  ARO SU: 
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