Sea Launch is a company executing satellite launches into space from the floating platform drifting in the Pacific Ocean and attributed to the port in Long Beach, it will be sold to Russian company.
The representatives of Russian private aviation holding S7 Group informed that on Tuesday there was signed an agreement with Sea Launch Group regarding purchase of the company’s assets.
These assets, in particular, include Odyssey launch platform that is a converted oil platform, and the ship Sea Launch Commander – special cargo ship carrying missiles and satellite components and used as launch control center. In addition, the company’s assets include “Sea Launch” trademark, as well as ground support equipment installed in the “native” Sea Launch project’s sea port in Long Beach.
Launches from this platform were suspended in 2014.
The transaction will have to be closed within six months, after the approval by a number of US government agencies, in particular – the Directorate for the Protection of Trade Regulation at the US State Department and the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States at the Ministry of Finance.
Vladislav Filev, the General Director of S7, promised that the company will recommence launches in 2018.
Filev predicts that S7 Holding can make up to 70 launches within 15 years “without a necessity of serious investments in the modernization of Sea Launch complex”.
“Purchase of Sea Launch project is our “ticket” to the space industry – said Filev. – The space industry is rapidly developing. We believe that this is a very interesting business with a good long-term prospects.”
Sea Launch Company was established in 1995 as a joint venture between Boeing Co., the Norwegian shipbuilding company, two Ukrainian missiles manufacturers and RSC Energia – Russian rocket company partly owned by the Russian government.
The company has launched a rockets from a remote location at a distance of about 3300 miles south-east of Long Beach and 1400 miles south of Hawaii. This is the place that allows to place the satellites in orbit quickly and with minimal fuel consumption using of the Earth’s rotation as an impulse to start.
However, after the commissioning of the system in 1999 the demand for satellite launches fell sharply. Until 2002, only one satellite was launched into space by Sea Launch company. In 2009, the company filed for bankruptcy clearance, and in 2010 RSC Energia subsidiary company purchased 95 % of Sea Launch Company shares to save it from bankruptcy.
In 2013, Boeing has filed a lawsuit against its former partners requiring them to compensate damages in the amount of USD 355 million, RSC Energia and two Ukrainian companies were accused in non-repaying the loans. In September 2015 the court issued a general decision in favor of Boeing.
As a reminder, information on purchase of Sea Launch by S7 Corporation appeared in the media for the first time at the end of March 2016.