In 1995 Yuzhnoye State Design Office named after M.Yangel and State Enterprise “Production Association Yuzhny Machine – Building Plant named after A. Makarov” with Boeing company (USA), Kvaerner company (Norway) and S. Korolev Rocket and Space Corporation Energia (Russia) began to develop the unique international project – Sea Launch.
The development and implementation of the project has totally commercial base without any state financing, but under the state agencies’ control and support.
At the first time the idea of a sea platform usage for commercial space launches from equatorial zone was realized in this project. The main advantage of the ocean-based launch site is its positioning directly at the equator that allows using Earth rotate effect and carry loads into orbit with fewer cost.
Sea Launch Program aimed first of all to launch satellites in a high-altitude geostationary orbit.
Rocket section consists of three-stage ecological launch vehicle Zenit-3SL and technological equipment complexes for carrier rocket preparation and launch.
Zenit-3SL carrier rocket launches from ocean-based, semi-submersible launch platform Odyssey, placed at the area of Pacific Ocean water.
In 2017, the Sea Launch project was resumed under the guidance of the company S7 Space Transportation Systems.
Sea Launch rocket components of Zenit-3SL are manufactured at YUZHMASH (first and second stages) as a partner of the Sea Launch Program.