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Kazakhstan Investing in Sea Launch?

By Doug Messier
Parabolic Arc
February 8, 2010
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RIA Novosti has a very interesting article about the Kazakhstan government’s apparent intention to invest about $100 million in bankrupt Sea Launch.

The article quotes Talgat Musabayev, head of the Kazak space agency Kazkosmos, as saying the government wants to acquire shares in the rocket company, which is a joint venture of  Boeing (US), RSC Energia (Russia), Kvaerner (Norway), and Yuzhnoye Design Bureau (Ukraine).

“The first step of Kazakhstan to participate in this project is the acquisition of shares in the Russian-Ukrainian companies….It is also advisable to invest in the infrastructure development of the project, ground start, because it is Kazakhstan’s participation in technological operations with the launch of this launcher is secure,” stated Musabayev.

Sea Launch uses Zenit rockets to launch from a platform at sea. It has a Land Launch Zenit variant that is fired from Baikonur in Kazakhstan. Land Launch is what Musabayev refers to in terms of infrastructure. (The above quote is a rough translation of RIA Novosti’s original story, which was in German.)

Sea Launch declared bankruptcy last year due to business setbacks; the partners are in the midst of a reorganization. The last news we had on this was that U.S.-based PlanetSpace and Excalibur Almaz of the Isle of Man were teaming up with a rescue plan. Zenit rockets would likely be used to launch Excalibur Almaz’s planned space station, which would utilize refurbished Soviet military hardware.

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