Sea Launch is sold to undisclosed buyer (Updated)

by | Mar 31, 2016 | commercial launch services, Russia | 0 comments

The Moscow Times reports that Russia’s space conglomerate/space agency Roscosmos has announced that the Sea Launch operation, which has been moribund for several years, has now been sold to an as yet unidentified buyer. Sea Launch’s principal asset is its “Ocean Odyssey” floating launch pad which was converted from an oil rig. This allows launches close to the equator which provide the optimum benefit of the Earth’s spin for Eastward launches. The pad also allows launches to be made thousands of miles away from land masses – a factor that at one point led to speculation that Israel might bid for the structure as their geography prevents Eastward flights from Israel-based launch sites.

Currently the pad is designed to fly Ukranian supplied Zenit 3-SL launch vehicles, albeit that a significant number of components are Russian supplied.  It is not known if this launch vehicle supply will be included as part of the deal, or whether it will be refitted for new rockets.

The firm, which began as a Boeing/Energia/Kvaerner/Yuzhnoye project in 1995, fell mainly (85% shares) into the hands of RSC Energia – now a subsidiary of Roscosmos – in 2009 after Sea Launch fell into bankruptcy protection due to a combination of low flight rates, legal actions and unreliability. Launches were resumed but the last one was in May 2014 and with an empty order book along with political difficulties over the supply of Zenit 3-SL rockets after Russia’s annexation of parts of Ukraine, operations were suspended.

Update on 1st April: Russian media sources report that the Russian airline group S7 is in negotiations to buy the Odyssey pad which will be based at Christmas Island in the Pacific.

About Seradata

Seradata produce the renowned SpaceTrak Launch & Satellite Database. Trusted by 100 of the world’s leading Space organisations, SpaceTrak is a fully queryable database used for market analysis, failure/risk assessment, spectrum analysis and space situational awareness (SSA).

For more information go to

Related Articles

China makes its first “sea launch” with Long March 11 flight

A Long March 11 (CZ-11) rocket was launched from a barge stationed in the Yellow Sea at 0406 GMT on Read more

S7 plans for new Zenit launches from Sea Launch pad stalled but sees reusables as its long term future

S7, the Russian firm that took over the assets of the defunct international Sea Launch enterprise, has been outlining its future plans Read more

IAC 2016 Guadalajara: Sea Launch to be purchased by Russian airline

S7 Airlines, the Russian airline company, has signed an agreement with RSC Energia for the main assets of the Sea Launch Read more

Boeing wins case against Russian and Ukrainian Sea Launch partners

Boeing has won its case in a US District Court in California against its former partners in the Sea Launch Read more

Sea Launch announces “cost reduction measures”

Sea Launch has announced series of cost-reduction measures designed to address an upcoming gap in the launch manifest of the Zenit-3SL system.  The Read more

Sea Launch is back in play as EUTELSAT 3B is launched successfully

Sea Launch SA has successfully launched the EUTELSAT 3B satellite  from at its ocean-based Launch Platform Odyssey.  The Zenit-3SL rocket Read more

Ukraine crisis: Russian retaliation to economic sanctions could end International Space Station though NASA remains sanguine

Russia’s military and political advances in the Crimean region of Ukraine, following similar fanning of separatism in parts of Georgia Read more

Analysis: Sea Launch loses leader as Energia plots launch provider’s non-commercial future

The troubled Sea Launch operation had some more bad news in February.  Kjell Karlsen, its long time President, has resigned Read more