Sea Launch

Had an expensive oopsie.

At least they didn’t wreck the launch platform this time. But it’s not helpful for coming out of bankruptcy. I wonder if this is another symptom of the problems that the Russians have been having (yeah, I know that Zenit is Ukrainian, but as Marcia Smith notes, Sea Launch is mostly owned by Energia RSC)? Speaking of which, if Congress was really worried about safety (not to mention non-proliferation), they’d be accelerating commercial crew, and getting us off our dependency on the Russians ASAP.

7 thoughts on “Sea Launch”

  1. Remember,

    This thing was the booster for Enegra, the almost-mythical Soviet system that flew twice and who fanbois cite as having been a much better system than the Shuttle even though it never launched a single Cosmonaut.

    1. It was “better” in that it could land automatically and did not have segmented solids. The system was also different in that Energia itself was a super heavy lift vehicle capable of launching other payloads. RD-180 is still one of the few LOX/Kerosene staged combustion engines. The RD-0120 LOX/LH2 staged combustion engine was a simplified and cheaper single-shaft engine with channel wall nozzles compared to the SSME. Buran did not have any main boosters attached.
      However there were rumors the heat protection system in Buran was a failure and the whole launch system was too expensive to maintain after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

  2. Elon Musks phone is proabally ringing today. I bet this benefits him. Mabey he could buy the platform cheap.

  3. Is the Ukrainian space industry infrastructure just as decrepit as that of Russia?

    You know, one of these days a Soyuz flight to ISS might fail. And instead of being taken as evidence of the problems at Roscosmos et al, the main result will be to strengthen those on the Hill and elsewhere who say that it only shows that spaceflight is _so dangerous and difficult_ that all manned flights, even by private entities for private access, must be controlled by NASA FAR-based certification and supervision. And maybe we should have only Orion government capsules, besides.

    1. With a little luck, there will be a lot of private manned flights (and womanned flights) into space, before Orion or Dragon carry a single astronaut.

      XCOR and Virgin Galactic aren’t worried about FARs.

      You knew there were risks putting all your commercial eggs in the NASA/ISS basket, or at least you should have.

      Just a thought experiment, Charles. What if New Space had paid less attention to BVSE, back in 2004, and more to SpaceShip One? Instead of lobbying for money so NASA could build Ares and Constellation and Orion, what if it had called for a new national space policy focused on emerging industries — including tax incentives, regulatory and liability reform, technology prizes, space property rights, etc.? Would you be worse off than you are today?

  4. As with the Shuttle they are just ignoring/explaining away the risk and hoping the odds don’t catch up with them.

    Of course if their luck run out than the Congressional witch hunt will be on for scrap goats 🙂

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