Advanced Television

China uses boat for rocket launch

April 26, 2022

By Chris Forrester

China used a floating barge to launch a Long March 11 rocket on April 26th. The rocket carried a satellite and launched from China’s Yellow Sea some 150 miles north-east of Shanghai.

Such ocean-based launches were more commonplace when the Sea Launch operation was active from 1995 to 2014. Then the Sea Launch pair of Commander (the control vessel) and Odyssey (actual floating platform) were regularly used for rocket launches.

Sea Launch, initially backed by four businesses and managed by Boeing, went bust in in 2009. It emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganisation in 2010 with a Russian company (Energia) as the majority shareholder and small stakes held by Boeing and others.

In 2017 a Russian company, S7 Group, reportedly bought the assets but the operation has not been active.

During its operation Sea Launch successfully launched satellites into orbit for EchoStar, DirecTV, SES, Sirius-XM, Eutelsat and Intelsat. However, two satellites were lost, NSS-8 for New Skies/SES (in 2007) and Intelsat 27 (in 2013).

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