Sea Launch Completes Return to Flight Activities

Sea Launch has successfully completed its Return to Flight/Systems Readiness Review. All participants signed a certificate of agreement indicating they are completely satisfied that all corrective actions are being implemented satisfactorily. Preparations for a launch in late July are now underway.

"The Sea Launch team and its near-term customers have reached consensus that Sea Launch is ready to proceed with its next launch campaign," said Will Trafton, president of Sea Launch.

The initial Return-to-Flight/Systems Readiness Review was held in Long Beach, June 5-6. A follow-on review brought the group to full consensus on June 12. These meetings were the next major step, following completion of the Sea Launch Failure Review Oversight Board investigation of the March 12 launch. That launch failed to place the ICO F-1 communications satellite into orbit. Members of the Board issued a signed report to Sea Launch on May 22.

"Based on the investigation and subsequent report, we are completely confident the root cause was clearly identified," said Jim Maser, chair of the Board and chief engineer for Sea Launch. "We also identified corrective actions that address not only the ground software logic error, but also all associated process weaknesses that could have allowed such an error to go undetected."

A small team of representatives from the Board presented a comprehensive briefing to both the U.S. and the international insurance communities as well as near-term customers. Sea Launch was successful in obtaining the necessary licenses and approvals from the Federal Government in a timely fashion to support this briefing schedule.

Prior to vessel departure for the launch site on the equator, Sea Launch will conduct its standard Mission Readiness Review to ensure all elements are ready to support mission operations and all action items are closed. In addition, for this particular mission, the launch team will conduct an additional Executive Review to clearly demonstrate to its customer that the highest levels of each partner organization have been intimately involved in the satisfactory implementation of all corrective actions. This extra step will enable all participants to formally state mission readiness.

Sea Launch, an international launch services company based in Long Beach, Calif., launches commercial communications satellites into orbit from a floating platform positioned on the equator at 154 degrees West Longitude. The Sea Launch partners include Boeing, RSC Energia, SDO Yuzhnoye/PO Yuzhmash and the Anglo-Norwegian Kvaerner Group. For information and updates on the forthcoming mission, visit the Sea Launch web site at:
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Paula Korn