6 Dec 2019 11:59

Moving Sea Launch platform from U.S. to Russia to take around one month - ship repair plant rep

VLADIVOSTOK. Dec 6 (Interfax) - The relocation of the Sea Launch platform from the United States to Russia's Far East will take around three weeks, Andrei Yakimchuk, the general director of the Slavyanka Ship Repair Plant, which will temporarily host the launch platform, told Interfax.

"It will become clear as soon as they set off. [Relocation will take] three weeks," Yakimchuk said when asked how long the process is going to take.

He declined to say when the relocation may start.

"They want to arrive as early as possible. All documents have been received. Their administration [S7 Space] believes that it's necessary to leave the U.S. as soon as possible," Yakimchuk said.

S7 Space technical specialists will decide how the platform will be relocated.

"The command ship is highly likely to travel on its own. The platform will possibly be transported in a dock. However, it's up to the company's specialists to make this decision," Yakimchuk said.

The plant's specialists are currently assessing the scope of repairs the platform may require, he said.

"We have a repair work specification. It's quite extensive. We're interested in these repairs. We're assessing and getting ready now," Yakimchuk said, adding that the existing contract, however, envisages only the platform's mooring. However, the plant has all the specialists and capacities needed to repair the platform, he said.

The Sea Launch platform will be docked at the Slavyanka Ship Repair Plant for at least three years, Yakimchuk said.

"We have a 300-meter-long pier, which is more than nine meters deep in some places. They will fit in there just fine. Talks have long been under way. We conducted research, measured the depths once again, and cleaned up the seabed. Relevant commissions have been at work too. We meet all the parameters," he said.

S7 is preparing to move the Sea Launch platform to Russia. All necessary permission to change the system's location has been received, including from the U.S. Department of State. The transfer of the launch platform and the command ship to a port in the Far East is planned for 2020, S7 Space said in an earlier statement.

After the transfer is completed, the launch platform and ship will be temporarily based at the Slavyanka Ship Maintenance Plant in the community of Slavyanka, the statement said.

S7 Space (LLC S7 Space Transportation Systems) is Russia's first commercial company offering the full cycle of space launch services. S7 Space, part of S7 Group, owns the Sea Launch system.

In April 2018, the Energia Corporation sold its Sea Launch assets to S7 Group.

The subject matter of the deal was the Sea Launch Commander ship, the Odyssey launch platform, ground-based equipment at the Port of Long Beach in the U.S., and the Sea Launch trademark.