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Review Board Identifies Cause of Sea Launch Failure


sea_launch_zenitInvestigators have identified the cause of the failure of a Sea Launch Zenit launch vehicle at the end of January:

“The investigations isolated the failure to the Zenit-3SL first stage hydraulic power supply unit (BIM) used to pressurize the RD-171M main engine gimbal actuators. No additional contributors to the failure were found. The BIM failed approximately 3.9 seconds into the flight due to the abnormal performance of the pump that’s function is to pressurize the hydraulic oil supplied to the RD-171M main engine gimbal actuators. The pump failure was the result of contributing factors associated with a pump manufacturing process that proved difficult to control.”

Read the full press release below.

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Energia Pledges ‘Unfailing Commitment” to Failure-Prone Sea Launch


sea_launch_zenitMOSCOW, Russia and BERN, Switzerland – February 6, 2013 (Sea Launch PR) – S.P. Korolev Rocket and Space Corporation “Energia” (“RSC Energia”) spoke out today about its unfailing commitment to the long-term success of the Sea Launch program following the launch failure of Intelsat 27 spacecraft on February 1, 2013. RSC Energia has been the leader and the operator of the Sea Launch program since 2010.

In a statement, the General Designer and the President of RSC Energia, Vitaly Lopota said:

“We profoundly regret about the last week’s loss of the Intelsat 27 spacecraft. Many people worked hard to build the spacecraft, the launch vehicle and support the launch campaign. As we have been working in the space industry for over 65 years we continuously strive for perfection and reliability in everything that we attempt, but sometimes we fall short. The ocean-based launch system, Zenit launch vehicle and upper stage Block DM are a trusted means of payload delivery which combines the best in rocket-building technology and processes of recent decades. The launch failure is being investigated and analyzed. Its findings will be announced in the near future.”

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Boeing Sues Sea Launch Partners for $356 Million


sealaunchBoeing has filed suit against its Sea Launch partners, alleging they failed to pay it more than $356 million owed after the Sea Launch joint venture went into bankruptcy in 2009.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles on Friday, targeted RSC Energia, a company partially owned by the Russian government, and two Ukrainian state-owned companies, PO Yuzhnoye Mashinostroitelny Zavod and KB Yuzhnoye.

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Sea Launch Puts Intelsat 27 Satellite into the Drink


The first hint of trouble came when the Sea Launch webcast suddenly cut out less than a minute after launch of the Zenit-3SL booster.

Was there some problem with the streaming? Or was it something more serious?

The latter.

Sea Launch AG announced today that approximately 40 seconds after liftoff of the launch of the Intelsat 27 spacecraft, all telemetry was lost indicating a loss of mission. The spacecraft, built by Boeing Satellite Systems was launched on a Zenit-3SL launch vehicle from the equator on the ocean-based Odyssey launch platform, positioned at 154 degrees West longitude.

Sea Launch will establish a Failure Review Oversight Board to determine the root cause of the incident and will provide additional information, as it becomes available, on the Sea Launch website at: www.sea-launch.com.

The failure marks a major setback for the company, which is majority owned by Energia Overseas Limited. The company uses Ukrainian-built Zenit-3SL rockets that are launched from an ocean-going platform that is towed to the equator.

Sea Launch had made four successful launches since it emerged from bankruptcy in 2011. The company has launched 35 times since 1999, with three failures and one partial failure.


Sea Launch Rocket Cleared in Launch Anomaly Investigation


sea_launch_zenitPALO ALTO, California and BERN, Switzerland– Dec. 19, 2012 (Sea Launch-SS/L PR) – Space Systems/Loral (SSL) and Sea Launch AG (Sea Launch) today announced that the Independent Oversight Board (IOB) formed to investigate the solar array deployment anomaly on a satellite launched in the spring of 2012 has successfully reached a unanimous conclusion.

The IOB, which was comprised of three highly regarded industry experts, worked with a comprehensive team of engineers from both SSL and Sea Launch to conduct an exhaustive investigation of data from the launch vehicle, the spacecraft, and interactions between the two.  Extensive data provided by Sea Launch were instrumental in achieving the findings which led to the investigation’s positive conclusion.

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Independent Board Formed to Investigate Sea Launch Anomaly


PALO ALTO, CA and BERN, SWITZERLAND (SS/L & Sea Launch PR) — Space Systems/Loral (SS/L) (NASDAQ: LORL) and Sea Launch AG today announced the formation of a three person Independent Oversight Board to oversee the ongoing investigation into the root cause of an anomaly on a recently launched satellite. The Independent Oversight Board will be made up of impartial industry experts, nominated by the two companies.

The Independent Oversight Board will guide the joint SS/L-Sea Launch investigation team, which has been working together for several weeks to collect and analyze data with the objective of determining the root cause of damage to one solar array on an SS/L 1300 satellite that was launched on May 31, 2012 on a Sea Launch Zenit-3SL vehicle.

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SpaceX Sets April 30 Launch Date for Dragon ISS Mission


Falcon 9 launch. (Credit: Chris Thompson)

The SATELLITE 2012 Conference is going on this week in Washington, DC. Jeff Foust sat in on some sessions today and posted updates on Twitter at @jeff_foust. He covered panels by launch providers and the four major satellite operators.

Launch Vehicle Providers Panel


  • Gwynne Shotwell of SpaceX announces they have an April 30 launch date for their next Dragon mission to ISS; berth May 3.
  • Shotwell: they have almost an instantaneous launch window that day; launch opportunities only every 3 days.
  • Shotwell: will have 1st upgraded Falcon 9 (needed for comm’l sat launches) at VAFB by December, launch “shortly thereafter”

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Sea Launch Snags Intelsat, Eutelsat Contracts


Bern, Switzerland, March 12, 2012 (Sea Launch PR) – Sea Launch has been selected to launch the EUTELSAT 70B (ex. W5A) communications satellite in the fourth quarter of 2012 and the Intelsat 27 communications satellite in early 2013.

The satellites will be placed into optimized geosynchronous transfer orbits (GTO) utilizing the highly-proven Sea Launch Zenit 3SL launch system. The launches will occur from Sea Launch’s launch platform Odyssey at its equatorial launch site, located at 154 degrees West longitude, in the international waters of the Pacific Ocean.

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Ukraine Sees Uptick in Space Sales as Sea Launch Returns to Flight


UKRAINE SPACE AGENCY PR – On January 27, 2011 at Ukrinform, the President of Ukraine HCA YSА Alexeyev held a press conference on the results of the space industry in 2011. Alexeyev said that last year the enterprises of the industry produced and sold products worth almost 3.4 billion UAH., Which is about 1.6 times more than in 2010. In general, the industry completed in 2011 with a net profit amounting to UAH 76.7 million.

Among the major achievements of President of Ukraine HCA said the successful August 17, 2011 launch of domestic spacecraft remote sensing, “Sich-2″ on the “Dnepr”. At the present time has received more than 600 pictures of Earth’s surface.On this basis, the HCA Ukrainian specialists performed the first case the task of monitoring the clearing of forests, monitoring of germination of winter crops in different regions of Ukraine and monitoring of emergency situations.

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Ukraine’s Space Agency Celebrates 20th Anniversary


Ukrainian Dnepr launch vehicle. (Credit: ISC Kosmotras)

UKRAINE SPACE AGENCY PR — On February 28, 2012 in the UNIA “Ukrinform” held a press conference on the 20th anniversary of the National Space Agency of Ukraine with the participation of the President of the National Space Agency of Ukraine, Hero of Ukraine Yuri Sergeyevich Alekseyev, and the first director of the National Space Agency of Ukraine, member of the Presidium of the Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, Academician Vladimir Pavlovich Horbulin.

National Space Agency of Ukraine was established February 29, 1992 by Presidential Decree of LM Kravchuk. This has allowed Ukraine to begin forming their own state policy in the exploration and use of outer space.

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