Image credit: Sea Launch
Until now, Sea Launch was known for its ocean-based launch platform which is towed out to the Pacific Ocean to launch rockets from the Earth’s equator, but a new offering will occasionally see the company launching from dry land – in Kazakhstan. Sea Launch will be offering launch services from the Baikonur cosmodrome; the same place that Russia launches its rockets. “Land Launch” will use existing Zenit launch facilities to lift cargos in the 2,500-3,500 kg range to geosyncronous orbits. The first launch is scheduled for October 4th, 2005.
Following the 10th successful Sea Launch mission on Sept. 30, the Sea Launch Board of Directors met and resolved to go forward with plans to offer launch services from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, in addition to its sea-based launches at the Equator. The new offering, Land Launch, is based on the collaboration of Sea Launch Company and Space International Services (SIS), of Russia, to meet the launch needs of commercial customers with medium weight satellites.
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Optimizing on heritage hardware, systems and expertise, the Land Launch system will use a version of the Sea Launch Zenit-3SL rocket to lift commercial satellites in the 2000-3500 kg range to geosynchronous transfer orbit, and heavier payloads to inclined or lower orbits. A two-stage configuration of the same rocket will also be available for launching heavy payloads, or groups of payloads, to low Earth orbits. Payloads and vehicles will be processed and launched from existing Zenit facilities at the Baikonur launch site.
“Land Launch represents a major opportunity for Sea Launch to expand its role in the commercial space transportation arena,” said Jim Maser, president and general manager of Sea Launch. “We responded to the need for cost-efficiency and schedule assurance in the heavy-lift market. Now, through our Land Launch offering, we are responding to the demand for reliable, single payload capabilities in the medium-weight payload market.”
“All SIS partners look forward to bringing their extensive expertise to this project,” said Igor Alekseev, director, SIS. “With the strong support of the Russian Aviation and Space Agency and the participation of Sea Launch, we are confident that Land Launch will bring an outstanding service to the market.”
With an initial launch capability slated for the 4th Quarter of 2005, Land Launch will use existing Zenit technology and infrastructure, minimizing risk, cost and start-up time. Sea Launch will provide commercial customers with mission management and the Boeing-led quality assurance and hardware acceptance procedures that have contributed to the outstanding reliability of the Sea Launch system. SIS will be responsible for launch operations.
Boeing Launch Services, Inc. (BLS) will manage marketing and sales for the new offering, in a seamless expansion of their current support to Sea Launch customers. Established in 2001, the BLS team represents a family of vehicles to meet every payload lift requirement, from 1,000 kg -13,000 kg. For more information, go to: www.boeing.com/launch
Sea Launch Company, LLC, based in Long Beach, Calif., provides reliable heavy lift launch services to commercial satellite customers. The international partners include Boeing (U.S.), Kvaerner Group (Norway), RSC Energia (Russia) and SDO Yuzhnoye/PO Yuzhmash (Ukraine). Established in 1995, Sea Launch has completed ten successful missions. For more information, visit the Sea Launch website at www.sea-launch.com
Space International Services is a Moscow-based venture, founded by SDO Yuzhnoye/PO Yuzhmash, the Design Bureau of Transport Machinery (KBTM, of Russia), and TseNKI (Center for Ground-based Space Infrastructure, of Russia), under the Russian Space and Aviation Agency.
Original Source: Sea Launch news release