Sea Launch Honored at National Space Symposium

Sea Launch today received the General James E. Hill Space Achievement Award "for outstanding demonstration of the possibilities for international, commercial collaboration in the post-Cold War space industry."

The Space Foundation presented the prestigious award to Will Trafton, president of Sea Launch, at the opening ceremonies of the National Space Symposium in Colorado Springs, Colo.

"We are humbled by such a great honor at this early stage in our history," said Trafton, in accepting the award before several hundred peers attending the Space Symposium. "But the acknowledgement is particularly fitting for our international partnership of American, Russian, Ukranian and Norwegian companies. While we are frequently challenged by the very innovation we have created, each of the partner organizations is proud to be a part of this unique effort to provide timely and efficient commercial launch services. We appreciate this recognition and hope we can pave the way for continued international cooperation and collaboration in commercial space developments."

The Space Foundation annually recognizes an individual or organization that has demonstrated lifetime achievement, breakthrough space technology, or program or product success deemed to represent a critical milestone in the evolution of space exploration and development. Previous recipients of the award include the NASA/Boeing International Space Station Team, General Thomas S. Moorman, Jr., and Capt. James Lovell, Commander, Apollo 13.

Sea Launch's inaugural demonstration launch on March 27, 1999, and equally successful first commercial launch of the DIRECTV 1-R broadcast satellite on October 9, 1999, validated the program concept and demonstrated overall system capability. On the third mission, on March 12, 2000, an anomaly developed during the operation of the second stage and the rocket failed to reach orbital velocity. The Sea Launch Failure Review Oversight Board is currently assessing the data. Return to flight is anticipated in the Summer of 2000.

The Sea Launch partnership combines the expertise of international aerospace and maritime companies to provide commercial launch services from an ocean-based platform in the Pacific, situated on the equator. Partners in the Sea Launch venture are: Boeing Commercial Space Company of Kent, Washington; RSC Energia of Moscow, Russia; KB Yuzhnoye/PO Yuzhmash of Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine; and the Anglo-Norwegian Kvaerner Group of Oslo, Norway.

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Paula Korn