The Odyssey

Page 1     Page 2


ODYSSEY (launch platform)

Isle of Man # (2002) 37p


The ODYSSEY is a self-propelled, semi-submersible launch platform. She was originally modified from the Northern Sea offshore drilling rig, OCEAN ODYSSEY, which was built in Japan in 1982. In 1989, the platform was damaged by fire and one person was killed. Some time later, ODYSSEY was partially dismantled, and in 1991-1992, she was modernized at the Vyborg Shipyard.

Later, the decision was made to convert ODYSSEY into the launch platform. The conversion project was carried out in two phases. The first phase, from late 1995 to May 1997, Kvaerner Rosenberg of Stavanger, Norway, extended the length of the platform and added a pair of support columns and additional propulsions. A superstructure was erected on the upper deck to accommodate the launch pad and LV service hangar.

Life-support facilities and LV service equipment were put in place. All of the vessel’s systems were installed, including a powerful electricity generating station, living quarters, and various service rooms.

In May 1997, the ODYSSEY arrived at Kvaerner Vyborg Shipyard and the second phase of the project began: the installation of LV-related segment equipment. The following are just some examples of more than 3,000 tons of structures and automated rocket handling equipment installed by the shipyard:

• a launch table

• a fuelling system with storage facilities for fuel and oxidizer

• a thermostatic system

• an automatic system of launch preparation sequence control

• a transporter-erector designed to carry an LV to the launch table and erect it

• a flame deflector assembled under the launch pad

On June 23, 1998, ODYSSEY left Vyborg and arrived at the port of Long Beach, California on Oct. 4, 1988. After the platform passed autonomous tests and integrated trials,, the first Zenit-3SL launch from ODYSSEY, controlled from the Sea Launch command ship, was successfully made on March 28, 1999.

SEA LAUNCH COMMANDER (assembly and command ship)

Isle of Man # (2002) 37p

The SEA LAUNCH COMMANDER is one of the most high-tech, civilian ships in the world. It’s mission is to launch communication satellites using Russian-built rockets. Considering the intricacies inherent to rocket launching, the ship needs to remain on-station with pinpoint accuracy, hence is equipped with a dynamic positioning system driving a retractable Kamewa azimuth thruster. The Assembly and Command Ship serve as a rocket assembly factory, while providing the mission control facilities, crew and customer accommodations for 240 people during sea-based launches.

An analysis of the space launch services market indicates that space launches conducted from the near-equator zone is one way to improve the efficiency of launch vehicles designed to place satellites into geostationary orbits and reduce payload delivery costs.

In the fall of 1997, SEA LAUNCH COMMANDER sailed for Russia, where special equipment for handling rocket segments, command and control, was installed and tested. She arrived at Long Beach on July 13, 1998, its homeport.

Here the senior partner in SL, Boeing Corporation of Seattle, assembles the spacecraft, the fairing and the satellite. Boeing also markets SL launches to American satellite manufacturers, particularly Hughes and Loral.

Together the ships accommodate the various Russians, Ukrainians, Norwegians, Americans and others responsible for the launch operations. Although registered in Liberia and crewed primarily by Filipinos, both vessels remain under Kvaerner’s control.


Page 1     Page 2