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Zenit carrier rocket for first launch from floating sea platform to be ready in 2019

The Sea Launch is an international commercial project of the seaborne rocket and space complex

SOCHI, February 16. /TASS/. A Zenit carrier rocket may be manufactured for the first launch under the restarted Sea Launch project in 2019, co-owner of S7 Group Natalia Filyova said on the sidelines of the Russian investment forum in Sochi on Friday.

S7 signed a contract with Sea Launch Group in 2016 on the project’s acquisition.

"The year 2019," she said, responding to a question about when the Zenit carrier rocket might be ready for the first blastoff under the Sea Launch project.

Ukraine’s Yuzhmash, the producer of Zenit launchers, earlier reported it would deliver the first two carrier rockets for the Sea Launch project in 2018.

According to Filyova, the first launch will take place as soon as a Zenit carrier is manufactured and delivered.

She added that the carrier rocket was being produced by Ukraine with Russia’s assistance while the rocket’s final assembly would take place in the United States.

The Russian investment forum runs in Sochi on February 15-16 and is a traditional venue for the presentation of Russia’s investment and economic potential.

Last year, 377 deals worth 490 billion rubles ($8.7 billion) were struck at the forum. The forum was organized by the Roscongress Fund. TASS is the forum’s general information partner and photo-hosting agency.

Sea Launch

The Sea Launch is an international commercial project of the seaborne rocket and space complex. Sea Launch Company was established in 1995 for the project’s implementation. Its founders included US Boeing, Russia’s Energiya Corporation, the Norwegian shipyard Kvaerner (currently Aker Solutions), Ukraine’s Yuzhnoye design bureau and the Ukrainian Yuzhmash rocket and space enterprise. Sea Launch Company declared its bankruptcy in the summer of 2009 and after its reorganization in 2010 Russia’s Energiya Corporation gained the leading role in the project. Space launches were suspended in 2014.

In late September 2016, S7 signed a contract with Sea Launch Group on the project’s acquisition. The purchase items comprised the Odyssey floating platform, the Sea Launch Commander ship, the ground-based equipment at Long Beach port (California), and also the Sea Launch trademark.

Launches from the floating seaport are scheduled to restart in 2019. A total of 10-12 launches are planned under the project during the first five years.

CEO of S7 Space Transport Systems Sergei Sopov earlier told TASS that S7 might close the deal for the purchase of the Sea Launch project before the end of February 2018.

He also said that S7 would not give up Ukrainian-made Zenit rocket rockets in the Sea Launch until Russia’s Energiya Rocket and Space produced a new carrier for the project. The company plans to sign a memorandum with Energiya Rocket and Space Corporation for the manufacture of 85 Soyuz-5 rockets (50 plus an option for 35 carriers) for launches from the floating sea platform. Sopov added that the Ukrainian side was contracted to deliver 12 Zenit rockets by 2022.

It was reported earlier that investments in the project to resume the Sea Launch program totaled $220 million.