Sea Launch Secures Order for 2015

Alive and KickingCredit :  Sea Launch

Alive and Kicking
Credit : Sea Launch

Trouble plagued Sea Launch AG has secured it first order following a February 1st launch failure which saw the complete loss of the Zenit 3-SL booster and Intelsat-27 satellite only seconds after liftoff.  The failure, which has been blamed on a Ukrainian built pump which supplied on-board power, occured 4.5 seconds after liftoff and resulted in the automatic shut-down of the Russian built RD-171 engine.

The newest order, by U.S. company EchoStar for a 2015 launch could be a major step forward in recovery for Sea Launch, but it will need to secure a number of additional orders to cover the substantial operating costs of the unique ship based system, which are considered to require 4 launches per year.   In addition to its other problems, Sea Launch was also recently slapped with a lawsuit by former partner Boeing, which is seeking to recover nearly $450 million it paid out during the course of a Sea Launch’s 2009 bankrupty.

With the Russian Proton also having more than its share of problems in recent years, Sea Launch may have a window of opportunity, one which could either open wider or slam shut depending on the outcome of SpaceX’s debut of the upgraded Falcon  9 V1.1  in a few months.

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