From its equatorial launch site at 154 degrees West Longitude, a Zenit-3SL launch vehicle lifted the 4,642 kg (10,234 lb) Galaxy 18 spacecraft to geosynchronous transfer orbit, on its way to a final orbital location at 123 degrees West Longitude. The first stage of the vehicle separated two-and-a-half minutes after liftoff and the protective payload fairing jettisoned 75 seconds later. After operating for six minutes, the second stage separated from the Block DM upper stage. The Block DM upper stage then operated for nine-and-a-half minutes. Following a 30-minute coast period, the Block DM burned a second time for three minutes. After the second burn, and another 10-minute coast, the spacecraft separated from the upper stage over the west coast of Africa. Ground stations at Hartebeestok in South Africa, and in Fucino, Italy, tracked the spacecraft to acquire its first signals soon after spacecraft separation.