Sea Launch

From Academic Kids

Sea Launch is a unique spacecraft launch service that uses a specially modified floating oil drilling platform, positioned in the equatorial Pacific Ocean, for its launch platform.

Four companies from four countries contribute to Sea Launch, and share in its ownership:

company ownership share contribution
Boeing (United States) 40% system integration, payload enclosures
Energia (Russia) 25% Block DM-SL upper stage (rocket stage 3)
Aker Kvaerner (Norway) 20% launch platform (Ocean Odyssey) and command ship (Sea Launch Commander)
SDO Yuzhnoe/PO Yuzhmash (Ukraine) 15% Zenit-3SL (Zenit rocket stages 1 and 2 with Energia Block DM-SL upper stage)


Missing image
SeaLaunch-Commander.jpg
Sea Launch command ship
Missing image
SeaLaunch-Odyssey.jpg
Sea Launch launch plattform "Odyssey"

Sea Launch rockets are assembled in Long Beach, California and placed in a hangar on the launch platform, which then sails to the equator. The hangar is opened, the rocket is moved to a vertical position, and the crew then gets onto a command ship. Then, with the launch platform unmanned, the rocket is fueled and finally launched.

The first demonstration satellite was launched in March 1999, and the first commercial satellite in October 1999. In total, Sea Launch has launched 16 rockets, with 15 successes. The one failure, of a Hughes-built communications satellite owned by ICO Global Communications, occurred on the second commercial launch in March 2000 and was blamed on a software error that failed to close a valve in the second stage of the rocket.

All commercial payloads to date have been communications satellites intended for geostationary orbit, with such customers as Echostar, DirecTV, XM Radio, and PanAmSat.

Sea Launch has a reciprocal agreement with Arianespace, providing assurance in case either company's system is not able to launch a payload, whether for reasons of reliability, capacity, backlog, or otherwise. This was used for the first time in 2004, when Arianespace's Ariane 5 had to reschedule a group of launches for reliability reasons.

Launches

Date Payload Mass Comments
March 27 1999 DemoSat 4,5 t success
October 9 1999 DIRECTV 1-R 3,5 t success
March 12 2000 ICO F-1 2,7 t failure
July 28 2000 PAS-9 3,7 t success
October 20 2000 Thuraya-1 5,1 t success
March 18 2001 XM-2 ROCK 4,7 t success
May 8 2001 XM-1 ROLL 4,7 t success
June 15 2002 Galaxy IIIC 4,9 t success
June 10 2003 Thuraya-2 5,2 t success
August 7 2003 EchoStar IX/Telstar 13 4,7 t success
September 30 2003 Galaxy XIII/Horizons-1 4,1 t success
January 11 2004 Telstar 14/Estrela do Sul 1 4,7 t success
May 4 2004 DIRECTV-7S 5,5 t success
June 29 2004 Telstar-18 4,8 t partial failure
March 1 2005 XM-3 4,7 t success
April 26 2005 SPACEWAY-1 6 t success


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