Sea Launch Sold

I read just yesterday that Sea Launch has been sold. Then I get an email last night that this post from August 2014 inspired the purchase that solidified when SpaceX was able to recover on land the first try after banging the barge repeatedly. I wonder how much modification will be required to use the Falcon9 from the ocean platform.

Repost from 27 August 2014

Sea Launch has the sea going craft to launch large rockets at sea. They are also, according to rumors, not making quite as much money as the investors would prefer. It seems possible that they might be at least semi-motivated to sell off the under performing launch assets.

What if the real intention of SpaceX is to acquire those assets at bargain prices for use in house. Launch a few hundred miles at sea fromĀ Vandenburg for a feet dry landing there, with the actual launch location dictated by the desired launch azimuth. The first stage would never have an IIP intersecting property on land, while the second stage would have an IIP that moved fast enough to minimize theoretical injury and property damage probabilities. A day out to launch and a day back. Twice a week seems possible.

From Brownsville the trip would be even shorter. A quick run to a point that gave the right launch Ā azimuth and distance from the cape for a Falcon recovery there. Possibly a day trip with the launch frequency that implies if the business develops.


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I do construction for a living and aerospace as an occasional hobby. I am an inventor and a bit of an entrepreneur. I've been self employed since the 1980s and working in concrete since the 1970s. When I grow up, I want to work with rockets and spacecraft. I did a stupid rocket trick a few decades back and decided not to try another hot fire without adult supervision. Haven't located much of that as we are all big kids when working with our passions.

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8 Responses to Sea Launch Sold

  1. Manfred B says:

    Probably the most important reason to launch from a sea platform would be that you can launch from the aequator. Compared to Cape Canaveral, this would boost a rocket’s payload to GTO by 25% to 30%.

  2. johnhare johnhare says:

    Not if you can get the first stage back intact after delivering 73% of the payload. According to the portion of the operational document that was sent.

  3. Manfred B says:

    April 1st — ok, I get it.

  4. johnhare johnhare says:

    Sea Launch being sold was on parabolic arc yesterday. You’ll find the 27 August 2014 post in the archives for this blog. There being only one reference to that post,yeah it’s possible.

  5. I was tweeting yesterday if it’s possible to fit Vulcan on the sea launch platform, If so what would be Vulcan performance from the equator?(plus 30% ? )
    could Boeing transfer ownership to ULA? or lease it?

  6. Paul451 says:

    “A quick run to a point that gave the right launch azimuth and distance from the cape for a Falcon recovery there.”

    There are no circumstances where any launch vehicle will ever be allowed to re-enter across the Florida peninsula in order to land at the Cape. Doesn’t matter whether it’s land-to-land or sea-to-land. It’s the “flying across Florida” that will never be allowed. (The only exception was the human-piloted Shuttle orbiters.)

    The whole idea needs to die. Not gonna happen, ever.

    A pseudo oil platform might be more stable for landing than the not-barge. With enough sub-platform infrastructure to enable preliminary handling for refurb — defueling, safeing all the secondary tanks/thrusters/pyro/hydraulics/etc, removing the landing legs, installing the strong-back, and of course securing it for transport back to port. If you have a high launch rate, then a crane to transfer the recovered stage to a separate transport ship back to port, allowing the platform to remain on-station for more recoveries. Even allowing one stage to be onboard still in processing while the platform is able to recover another stage.

    That said, the design of a dedicated landing platform is going to be different than a launch platform, with very little overlap in equipment. Not seeing the advantage for a company like SpaceX buying SeaLaunch.

  7. johnhare johnhare says:

    You did notice the date on the post? Other than that,all excellent points as usual.

  8. N/A says:

    Sold to the siberian version of Richard Branson, but for what end considering the equipment/costs/politics? Refit for equatorial angara launches with a russian government anchor customer for stuff too sensitive or heavy to launch on soyuz from kourou, as a backup against the hot mess that is vostochny?

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