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Three days ago Sea Launch suffered an embarrassment when $300 million-worth of satellite failed just 40 seconds after lift-off. Now, to add to the injury, former partner Boeing is suing Sea Launch for $350 million which follows on from Sea Launch’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy back in 2009.
The action was started in a Los Angeles court on Feb 1st and names RSC-Energia, which is partly-owned by the Russian government, and two Ukrainian-backed businesses, PO Yuzhnoye Mashinostroitelny Zavod and KB Yuzhnoye, which now owns Sea Launch. Boeing’s other original partner in designing and building Sea Launch was Norway’s Kvaerner.
Boeing’s argument is that the new Sea Launch owners failed to honour a promise that they would reimburse Boeing its share of the original funding. RSC Energia originally owned 25 percent of the venture, which it boosted to 95 percent. Boeing had various guarantees in place to Sea Launch’s banks and the banks called the guarantees in which cost Boeing $449 million.
Sea Launch emerged from bankruptcy in 2010. Boeing, in a statement, says RSC Energia and the Ukrainian companies are required to pay their share of that sum. Boeing initially pursued reimbursement through an arbitration filed in 2009 with the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce, but in 2010 the arbitrator said it lacked jurisdiction over the case. That action is now before the Swedish Court of Appeal.