Sea Launch: Not Quite Dead Yet; Actually Feeling Much Better

Posted: July 30, 2010 in Commercial Space, Energia, Intelesat, Intelesat 18, Land Launch, Orbital Sciences, Sea Launch
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If It's Sea, It's For Me

Sea Launch appears to have emerged from bankruptcy following a cash infusion from Russian rocket-maker Energia and a court order.  The cash infusion–$140 million–brings with it 95 percent ownership of Sea Launch.

Interesting Energia Sea Launch facts:

  • At full operation, Sea Launch’s operating costs will total less than $50 million per year
  • Sea Launch expects to be profitable with as few as two launches per year
  • Sea Launch expects to  perform four launches in 2012 and five in 2013
  • Sea Launch’s first post-bankruptcy mission will be as a marketing agent for Land Launch of Moscow. Land Launch uses the same hardware and operates from the Baikonur Cosmodrome
  • The Land Launch’s mission, scheduled for early 2011, is to orbit Intelsat 18 made for Intelsat by Orbital Sciences.  Intelsat is based out of Washington D.C.

Because Sea Launch operates from international waters, it has been unable to qualify as a U.S. rocket.  This means it can’t be used to launch U.S. government satellites. Likewise, it has not launched a Russian government satellite.

This lack of a government sponsor largely explains why Sea Launch went bankrupt in the first place!

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