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Sea Launch Could Be Coming Back

By Doug Messier
Parabolic Arc
September 24, 2016
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Zenit lifts off with communications satellite. (Credit: Sea Launch)

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

It looks as if the moribound Sea Launch company could have a new lease on life.

Majority owner Energia has scheduled a press conference with the S7 Group on Tuesday during the International Astronautical Conference in Guadalajara, Mexico. The invitation promises a major announcement about the future of the long troubled venture.

S7 is reported to be a Russian airline company with 66 aircraft total that is based out of Novosibirsk, Russia.

Sea Launch uses a floating platform towed to the equator to launch Zenit boosters carrying communications satellites. The company’s history has been dogged by booster failures and a weak demand for its booster. It has not launched since May 2014.

Energia has been trying to sell Sea Launch for years. Efforts have been stymied by a lawsuit that Boeing brought against Energia and Ukrainian partners over their failure to reimburse more than $500 million in expenses and interest in developing the venture. Boeing previously owned 25 percent of Sea Launch.

In May, Boeing won a $322.49 million judgment against Energia and a $193.44 million judgment against KB Yuzhnoe and its production partner, Yuzhmash.

In August, a Russian media outlet reported that Boeing and Energia had reached a preliminary settlement of their dispute.