Russia plans four spacecraft launches in 2014

Moscow, May 25 (IANS/RIA Novosti) Russia’s Energia Rocket and Space Corporation will make four launches next year from the Pacific Ocean-based Odyssey platform under the Sea Launch programme, an official said.

Corporation president Vitaly Lopota said that after 2014, Energia will be able to make five or more launches a year.

Next year’s launches will be the first since one of Sea Launch’s Zenit vehicles carrying an Intelsat-27 telecom satellite crashed shortly after lift-off Feb 1 this year.

Russian officials blamed the incident on Ukrainian-made components and insisted no defects were found in Russian equipment.

Lopota confirmed that the failure was due to a defect in a hydraulic oil pump.

Sea Launch was formed in 1995 as a consortium of four companies from Norway, Russia, Ukraine and the US, managed by US aerospace giant Boeing.

The project aimed to use a floating launch site to place rockets on the equator – the best possible location for launch – which gives the rocket additional speed on lift-off thanks to centripetal force caused by Earth’s rotation.

Sea Launch resumed operations in 2011 after a 30-month hiatus that saw passage through US Chapter 11 bankruptcy, a change in ownership from Boeing to Russia’s Energia, and a move of the company headquarters from California to Switzerland.

Energia now holds a 95 percent stake in Sea Launch.

Of the 34 previous Sea Launch rocket launches since 1999, three have failed, with a fourth placing its payload into an incorrect but recoverable orbit.

The first failure occurred March 12, 2000, when a software error resulted in premature cut-off of the second stage, leaving its ICO F-1 satellite unable to reach orbit.

On June 29, 2004, during the launch of an Apstar 5 satellite, the upper stage shut down 54 seconds early due to a wiring fault, leaving the satellite in a lower than planned orbit.

A Zenit-3SL exploded on the launch pad Jan 30, 2007, after an engine failure caused by debris in the turbo pump. The payload on that flight was an NSS-8 communications satellite for SES New Skies.

The most recent failure was that of the Zenit-3SL Feb 1.

–IANS/RIA Novosti


Facebook Notice for EU! You need to login to view and post FB Comments!

The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by authors, news service providers on this page do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of Hill Post. Any views or opinions are not intended to malign any religion, ethnic group, club, organization, company, or individual. Hill Post makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site page.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.