23 May 2019 21:50

Roscosmos, S7 in talks over relocating Sea Launch platform to Far East - Rogozin

MOSCOW. May 23 (Interfax) - Roscosmos and S7 airline company are discussing a Russian project to create a multiple-use rocket with a 17-tonne lift capacity with returnable stages for launches from a sea platform on the equator, the state corporation's chief Dmitry Rogozin said.

"I want us and the S7 company to implement the Sea Launch project whereby - nominally - the Soyuz-5 rocket will be loaded onto their ship in the town of Bolshoi Kamen in our Far East and we will take that ship to the equator. Then our medium rocket with the 17-tonne lift capacity will be able to remove 22-23 tonnes from the equator. Same as the Falcon 9 [launch vehicle]," Rogozin told students at the Lomonosov Moscow State University on Thursday.

He said that earlier on Thursday had had met with S7 managers to discuss a possibility of signing a design specification for S7 Space to create a modification of the Soyuz-5 rocket with returnable stages for a launch from the Sea Launch platform.

"What makes the Sea Launch interesting? All our cosmodromes are much farther to the north than those of our competitors: we cannot afford to launch a rocket from Cape Canaveral and we don't have a cosmodrome like the one the Chinese have in southern China," Rogozin said.

The closer to the equator a launch pad is, the bigger the payload it can take to space, so Roscosmos has to make extra efforts to compete with foreign rivals, he said.

In April 2018 RSC Energia sold its assets in the Sea Launch project to S7 Group.

The assets were: the Sea Launch Commander ship, the Odyssey platform with rocket-segment equipment installed thereon, ground control equipment at the base port in Long Beach (U.S.) and the Sea Launch trademark.