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Sea Launch Project may get a new class rocket

According to Energia Corporation Head, the Sea Launch cosmodrome may get a new rocket to replace Zenit class carriers and a possible new investor.
Zenit-class space rocket (archive) Oleg Urusov/ITAR-TASS
Zenit-class space rocket (archive)
© Oleg Urusov/ITAR-TASS

KOROLEV /Moscow region/, August 26. /TASS/. The Sea Launch floating cosmodrome may have a new rocket to replace Zenit class carriers, head of the Russian space rocket corporation Energia Vladimir Solntsev said on Friday.

"Of course, there is a topic of making a new rocket carrier for the Sea Launch project, and it will be complicated for a new investor to be working on it," the official  told reporters.

Solntsev, however, did not specify, if the project would continue using the Zenit class rockets, and added the new rocket may be used also for launches from the ground launch pads.

Sea Launch deal may be closed early 2017 

 A deal on selling the Sea Launch project is expected to be closed early next year, and the Russian candidate is most preferable, Vladimir Solntsev emphasized.

"I believe, the deal (to sell Sea Launch) will be closed in early 2017," he added.

"I think, quite soon we may have our own Elon Musk, or even double Elon Musk," he said.

Elon Reeve Musk is a South African-born Canadian-American business magnate, investor engineer and inventor.

The Russian specialist said Energiya plans to finalize before the yearend settlement of the dispute with the U.S. Boeing and to sign a "final document."

The Sea Launch project, using Zenit rockets for launches from a floating platform in the Pacific Ocean, has been sold, the head of the Roscosmos Corporation, Igor Komarov said earlier.

"I cannot name the investor or disclose the value of the contract by virtue of certain circumstances. I do hope I will be able to say more by the end of April," Komarov replied to a question. He added that investors in the United States, Europe, China and Australia had been among the bidders.

According to earlier reports the project, suspended in 2014, may get back to the market of launch services in 2016. At the end of last year (2015) Segey Gugkayev told TASS that the project would join "proactive competition for new contracts in the first quarter of 2016 after the deal with the investor has been structured."

Sea Launch is an international project for building and operating a sea-based space rocket complex. For its implementation a same-name company was established back in 1995, with the United States’ Boeing, Russia’s space rocket corporation Energiya, Norway’s ship-building enterprise Kvaerner (currently Aker Solutions) and Ukraine’s design bureau Yuzhnoye and industrial association Yuzhmash acting as co-founders. The Sea Launch company declared bankruptcy in the summer of 2009. Energiya gained the commanding positions in the project after reorganization in 2010.