CEO of S7 Space Transport Systems Sopov told TASS that the company might delay the resumption of launches for five years to develop a new rocket
S7 Group, the new owner of the Sea Launch floating spaceport, intends to carry out 10-12 launches in the first five years after the resumption of the spaceport’s work, CEO of S7 Space Transport Systems Sergei Sopov told TASS on Friday.
S7 Space Transport Systems is the operator of the Sea Launch spaceport.
"About 10-12 launches, if we take the year 2017 as a starting point," he said in response to the relevant question.
It was earlier reported that commercial launches from the floating spaceport might restart at the end of 2018. S7 Group co-owner Vladislav Filev noted that up to 90 launches could be carried out from the Odyssey platform over 15 years.
CEO of S7 Space Transport Systems Sopov told TASS that the company might delay the resumption of launches for five years to develop a new rocket, if problems arise with the delivery of the Russian-Ukrainian carrier rockets Zenit.
"We have a purely commercial interest. If Yuzhmash [the Ukrainian design bureau that makes Zenit carrier rockets] does not produce rockets, we’ll take a pause for five years and will be developing another rocket together with Russian enterprises for our spaceport," he said.
A new rocket should have a multiple first stage, Sopov said.
"If we want to make a rocket for the Sea Launch, it should be better than the Zenit by its functions and capabilities. This should be a completely new rocket and, undoubtedly, the first stage should have a multiple capacity," he said.
An agreement between S7 Group and the Russian Rocket and Space Corporation Energia stipulates the possibility of creating a medium-class carrier rocket to replace the Zenit, Sopov noted.
Sea Launch is an international commercial project using Russian-Ukrainian carrier rockets Zenit blasting off from the Odyssey floating platform. Launches were suspended in 2014. In late September 2016, S7 Group signed a contract with Sea Launch Group for buying the Sea Launch project. The acquisition deal covered the Odyssey platform, the ground equipment in the port of Long Beach and also the Sea Launch trademark.