The Odyssey2

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Summer 1993: Exploratory discussions occur.

Spring 1994: Initial Sea Launch studies begin.

April 1995: Sea Launch is formed.

December 1995: Hughes signs first order. Ship construction commences.

July 1996: Hughes commits to three more launches. Space Systems/Loral orders five satellite launches.

August 8, 1996: Ground-breaking held for Home Port in Long Beach, California.

December 1996: Command ship completed and launched from Kvaerner shipyard in Scotland.

May 1997: Launch platform sails from Norway to Russia.

September 1997: Sea Launch Commander christened.

May 1998: Modifications to Sea Launch Commander and the Odyssey completed in Russia.

June 12, 1998: Sea Launch Commander leaves St. Petersburg, Russia for Long Beach, carrying the first two Sea Launch vehicles.

June 20, 1998: The Odyssey leaves Russian shipyard for Long Beach.

Summer/Fall 1998: Vessels arrive at Home Port; final preparations begin.

March 1999: First launch – Demonstration Payload.

October 1999: First commercial launch – DIRECTV 1-R

February 2000: PanAmSat commits to launch of Galaxy IIIC with four options.

March 12, 2000: Unsuccessful launch of the ICO F-1 communications satellite

May 9, 2000: Contract signed for two launches for AssureSat

July 26, 2000: Contract signed with Space Systems Loral for launch of Telstar-8

July 28, 2000: Launch of PAS-9 broadcast communications satellite

October 20, 2000: Launch of Thuraya-1 mobile communications satellite, heaviest commercial payload in history.

The Galaxy IIIC mission was successfully completed on June 15, 2002. A Sea Launch Zenit-3SL rocket lifted off precisely on time at 3:39:30 pm PDT from the Odyssey Launch Platform and inserted PanAmSat’s Galaxy IIIC satellite into Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit. While the 4850 kg (10,692 lb) satellite was designed for a 15-year lifespan, this exceptionally accurate launch is expected to yield additional years of life on orbit. Built by Boeing Satellite Systems, Galaxy IIIC will provide Internet, video, audio and data services to the United States and Latin America.


D. Rodlie; Lloyd’s, 2002; Jane’s Space Directory, 2000.

Dan Rodlie

Editor; Watercraft Philately

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