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Modernization of Sea Launch space facility to begin in two months

A view of the Odyssey launch platform of the Sea Launch service at a port in Slavyanka. Credits: Alexander Ryumin/TASS

MOSCOW, 13 September 2020 – Reconstruction and modernization of the Sea Launch space complex, currently based in Russia’s Far East, is expected to begin in November 2020, Roscosmos Director General Dmitry Rogozin said in a video posted on YouTube.

“I think that [we need to] solve all problems, legal issues, and to start modernizing the facility,” Rogozin said.

Earlier this week, Roscosmos said in a statement that its top management along with industry experts had assessed the Sea Launch’s readiness for missions of the prospective Soyuz-5 and Soyuz-6 rockets.

According to Rogozin, a Soyuz-5 rocket, with the capacity to deliver up to 18 tonnes of payload to the orbit when launched from the Baikonur and Vostochny space centers, will be able to lift more than 20 tonnes if launched from the sea-based facility positioned at the equator.

Since 2016, S7 Group (the holding company that integrates S7 Space Transport Systems) has been the owner of the assets of the Sea Launch rocket and space compound where 36 launches (including 32 successful) were carried out before being suspended in 2014. The sea compound comprises the Odyssey floating launch platform and the assembly and command vessel where rockets are assembled and control of pre-launch operations is exercised.

This spring, the command ship and the floating platform were taken from the United States to Russia’s Far East. On March 17, the Sea Launch Commander ship arrived to Slavyanka and berthed at the Slavyanka Shipyard. The Odyssey spacecraft launch platform arrived to the port a couple of weeks later, on March 30.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov told reporters on August 24 that the reconstruction of the facility would require about 35 billion rubles (roughly $470 million) and is expected to be over in 2023-2024.

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