Sea Launch is a commerical space launch partnership between Boeing
, RSC Engergia
, SDO Yuzhnoye/PO Yuzhmash, and the Anglo-Norwegian Kvaerner Group.
Sea Launch uses two ships, a launch platform
and a command ship
, that sail to the equator
; the Kvaerner Group contributes the ships.
By launching from the ocean, Sea Launch is able to schedule their own launches and operate with a reduced infrastructure. The equatorial launch site also maximizes the payload capacity and orbit-placement flexibility.
The launch vehicle is a hybrid, its lower states coming from the Zenit
-3SL (SDO Yuzhnoye/PO Yuzhmash). The upper state is a Block DM, from RSC-Engergia.
Sea Launch first became operational from its home port of Long Beach
, in 1999.