S7 Group Acquires Sea Launch Assets

Zenit lifts off with communications satellite. (Credit: Sea Launch)
Zenit lifts off with communications satellite. (Credit: Sea Launch)

MOSCOW, Sept. 27, 2016 (S7 Group PR) — S7 Group today announced that it has signed an agreement with Sea Launch Group to acquire the assets of the Sea Launch complex. The contract was signed today on the sidelines of the IAC 2016, the International Astronautical Congress taking place now in Guadalajara, Mexico.

The acquisition by S7 Group will include the Sea Launch Commander vessel, the Odyssey Launch Platform, with the launch support equipment; ground support equipment at the home port facility in Long Beach, California, and the Sea Launch trademark.

“We plan to de-mothball the complex and restart space launches 18 months after the deal approvals are obtained, which is anticipated to be late 2018. We expect to be able to perform up to 70 launches within 15 years without making any major investments in upgrades to the Sea Launch complex. Our business approach is radically different from what you see at many companies: we will not sell promises, we will sell launches only when our launch vehicles are ready to take to the atmosphere,” said Vladislav Filev, CEO of S7 Group.

The deal is to be closed within six months, the timeline needed to obtain the necessary approvals of the relevant US authorities and sign a number of agreements that are part of the deal. The transaction is subject to approvals from the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC) and the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS).

Today S7 Group also signed a cooperation agreement with RSC Energia to continue joint efforts to resume the operation of the Sea Launch complex. RSC Energia will provide S7 Group with all required engineering support and assistance in preparing launches and in system integration.

Vladimir Solntsev, President of RSC Energia added: “We are very pleased to have signed this contract. The deal structuring and execution was a lengthy process which required a lot of effort. This is a fairly complex project, but S7 Group has a different operating model with a new business approach, and I am confident that with our support they will make the project a success.”

Cooperation between S7 Group and RSC Energia will not be limited to launch services and the Sea Launch project; the cooperation agreement also provides for partnering in developing space-based transportation infrastructure.

“The acquisition of the Sea Launch is a ‘ticket’ for us to enter the space industry. Space infrastructure is developing rapidly. In our view, it is a very exciting area of business, with good long-term prospects,” noted Vladislav Filеv, CEO of S7 Group.

ABOUT S7 GROUP

S7 Group is the largest private aviation holding company in Russia comprising air transportation and maintenance companies, specifically, S7 Airlines, with a fleet of 66 modern aircraft (21 Boeing and 45 Airbus), one of the newest and most modern aircraft fleets on the Russian air transportation market. S7 Airlines has the wide route network based on air transport hubs in Moscow (Domodedovo) and Novosibirsk (Tolmachevo). It serves 145 routes in 27 countries across CIS, Europe, Middle East, South-East Asia and Asia-Pacific region. In 2010 S7 Airlines joined oneworld global airline alliance, lining up 14 world’s leading airlines from every continent of the world. In cooperation oneworld airlines serve more than 1000 destinations in 150 countries. In 2015, the airline carried over 10.6 million passengers. The holding company’s revenue for 2015 exceeded USD 1.3 billion.S7 Group’s shareholders also own Engineering aviation maintenance holding, the largest in Russia and the CIS.

ABOUT RSC ENERGIA

RSC Energia is the leader in the rocket and space industry, and the prime contractor for manned space systems. The Corporation conducts work on the development of unmanned space and rocket systems (launch vehicles and orbital transfer vehicles), and high-technology systems for various non-space applications. Since August 2014, the Corporation is headed by Vladimir Solntsev.

ABOUT SEA LAUNCH

Sea Launch is a floating facility to launch rockets into outer space, and the international consortium of the same name operating this space launch center. The complex was established to provide launch services to deliver various spacecraft to near-earth orbit using a mobile ocean-based launch platform. The launch site is in the equatorial Pacific, which provides the best possible launch conditions due to the effective harnessing of the Earth’s rotation. The first launch from the platform was made in 1999.

  • Sam Moore

    They said it’s still supposed to use Zenit, but barring some miraculous breakthrough in Russia-Ukraine relations I don’t see how that’s possible.

  • passinglurker

    Well it’s a private venture that has never relied on government payloads so who knows?

  • Andrew Tubbiolo

    Ukraine does not want total isolation from Russia. They only want protection from Russia’s all too loving embrace. They view themselves as the logical bridge between the West and Russia. They want to be both Russo/Slavic and Western just as the Poles are Slavs and integrated with the West. They see no reason that one excludes the other. At least about 2/3rds of the population sees it that way. I doubt S7 would have made the purchase unless they had a booster in mind that they can get their hands on.

    If I were them, I’d offer it for rend to SX to do equatorial launches.

  • JamesG

    Interesting that an “airline” bought it. Keeping up with Branson?