Sea Launch and Land Launch Projects
The Sea Launch project is the world's first purely commercial international venture to develop and operate a sea-based space launch system. The main objective of this project is to provide commercial services for launching spacecraft (SC) from a mobile sea-based launch platform. The project assumes that most of the SC will be launched into the geostationary orbit from an equatorial launch site located in the Pacific Ocean near Christmas Island.
The implementation of this project became possible after an international Sea Launch venture was established, and the partners and their subcontractors have completed a large scope of research and development activities including a first demo launch.
The market research made by the Sea Launch company during the Sea Launch project implementation revealed that in prospect it is expedient to perform a great number of launches of spacecraft of the mass up to 4t not from the Sea Platform but from the launch facilities of the Baikonur cosmodrome.
The Land Launch project in which Russia, Ukraine and USA participate envisages the use of the launch complex at Baikonur for launches of the Zenit modernized launch vehicles (two-stage Zenit-2SLB and three-stage Zenit-ЗSLB) with different space payloads in a wide range of orbits and inclinations.
The Land Launch project implementation assumes the maximum use of the available stock for the Zenit and Sea Launch complexes. For this purpose the following was modified: the Zenit-2 launch vehicle and Block DM-SL, technical and launch complexes for the Zenit space rocket complex available, technical complex for the ascent unit, fueling station and other objects of the ground space infrastructure at Baikonur.
The total combination of the solved organizational and technical problems of the Zenit complex modernization together with the Land Launch project support by the Government of the Russian Federation and Russian investors as well as the availability of the payload launch services in the market for the Zenit middle class launch vehicles provide favourable conditions for successful implementation of this project.
A new niche opened to render space services on a commercial basis to launch spacecraft into different target orbits.