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Closing of the transaction on purchase of “Sea launch” project

S 7 Group of companies closed the transaction on purchase of property complex of “Sea Launch” project, having become the full owner of the floating spaceport. “Sea Launch” Group of companies, affiliated with RSC “Energia”, was the previous owner. Now at the disposal of S7 are the floating launch platform intended for launches LV "Zenit", the Command Vessel for management of all complex and land infrastructure in California. S7 and “Roskosmos” plan to create a new launch vehicle "Union-5" for replacement Ukrainian “Zenit”. The CEO of S 7 Space company, Sergey Sopov, told us what will follow closing of the transaction, when the unique spaceport will resume work and how "Sea Launch" will intend to fight for the market in the conditions of a fierce competition with the Western space companies.

— Is the transaction on purchase of "Sea Launch" closed?

— Yes. All documents are processed, approved and signed. Now the owner of the property complex and intellectual property of "Sea launch" is S 7 Company.

— Why S 7, in general, was required to be engaged in Space?

— First of all, we want to earn money. It is, certainly, the main purpose of any business. Then, you know, Space is beautiful and immemorial dream of all human generations. The person is very curious, he always wants to know what is there — behind the horizon. All who gathered in our team (both young specialists, and specialists with wide experience of work) love their work, we know this sphere and we want to carry out our job professionally.
In recent years, forgotten romanticism of the first generations of Space pioneers returned to a world’s Space industry. Suborbital tourist flights prepare, and development of the Moon and Mars becomes not the just next point of long-term national programs and finds specific outlines in the next decade plans. Russia was the first country launched the satellite to the Space, the first country that sent the Person into Orbit. There would be no Space programs in the current type without Russian experience, the Space shall not be left by Russia, and we shall not leave Space. In this sense, we feel responsibility for the whole country.

   Now the Space interwove into all spheres of economy. Space programs give us all communication, navigation and mapping resources. All modern economy of the Earth is tied on the Space. These are the huge markets, which will only grow further. Acquisition of “Sea launch” spaceport is a “ticket of admission” to the world’s Space industry for us. We are sure that it is very interesting direction of business, which has good and long-term prospects.

— The transaction on purchase of "Sea launch" is closed. What is next?

— We are going to recover launch activities of the spaceport as fast as possible. From now on, we begin to incur very serious charges on operation of the spaceport. We wait for the Russian government authorization on delivery of launch vehicles’ "Zenit" accessorizes which are necessary to start launches from “Sea Launch” spaceport. Two years ago, when we signed the purchase contract, recovery of launch activities within use of a LV "Zenit" in the configuration of the spaceport fixed in the agreement between governments of the Russian Federation and the USA was one of conditions just. We kept this configuration. In addition, before emergence of new LV of the middle class (“Soyuz - 5”) we will use LV "Zenit". The contract for 12 first and second stages of LV “Zenit” is signed, two vehicles are designed and we expect delivery of Russian engines and management systems. LV can be delivered to our Home Port (Long Beach, California, the USA) where we will carry out final assembly of "Zenit-3SL" for “Sea Launch” project. We have been waiting for permissions of the USA government on purchase of the spaceport for one and a half of the year. Now we are waiting for permission to delivery of LV engines and management systems from the Russian government during 8 months already.

     It is necessary to remember that “Sea Launch” spaceport is the unique high-technology project, which in the current political situation unites Russia and the USA. It is peculiar “Apollo–Soyuz” of our time. The project, which in the conditions of the difficult political relations shall show a possibility of international cooperation. At the same time our project will shall exist in the conditions of a fierce competition with the American space companies. The office of SpaceX, by the way, is in only 14 kilometers from port of Sea launch.

   Many people, including workers of “Roskosmos”, mistakenly assume that success of this project is the personal interest of co-owner of S 7, Vladislav Filev. However, today, when the Space industry and ideas of flights to the Moon and Mars have become a mainstream again, when broadcasts of launches collect the audiences comparable to large TV shows, success of “Sea Launch” project or its failure will directly affect image of Russia. Perhaps, “Roskosmos” occupied with its problems doesn't see yet that "Sea Launch" is anything special and considers that it another minor Space project. But other players of the market, including in the West, understand that maintenance of the spaceport and carrying out the first launch from the Equator in 2019 will have a bigger resonance in the world, than all progress or failures of “Roskosmos” in a year.

— How do you intend to compete with “SpaceX” Company, also in its territory?

— Believe me, there is nothing new in this task. We will compete by the price, quality of the services, convenience and comfort of work with the customer. It is necessary to make customer of launch feel warm, cozy and comfortable during the work with us and, certainly, to fulfill all the liabilities time with due quality and within that money about which we agreed.

— Do you have some further plans after carrying out the first launch in 2019?

— We will carry out launches further; at least, four launches a year. By our estimates, within the next 15 years we could carry out about 70 space launches. However, on this point our ambitions do not come to the end.

    The following stage (if we can speak about period of 2022-2024 years) consists in creation of Orbital Spaceport based on elements of the International Space Station. Last year “Boeing” corporation asked NASA about the offer on privatization of the American segment of ISS for commercial operation’ purposes. This step goes in line with policy of the USA on commercialization of activities on low Earth orbit, which the USA advances for the last two decades.

  We plan to create the Orbital Spaceport. It can be the crucial element of perspective space transportation system "near Space — distant Space". The ISS could become some kind of transshipment facility, a Spaceport, a transport hub (if you want), between the Earth and distant Space, significantly cutting down total expenses for the organization of such flights. There will be no need to create very expensive “super-heavy” LV to carry necessary fuel and equipment from the Earth. We could do everything at the Orbital Spaceport: to refuel, to repair the equipment, even to have a rest.

  The OS project is offered to be realized within the concessionary agreement on the Russian segment of the ISS. Besides, the reusable interorbital tows developed in Russia with the nuclear power station of a megawatt class shall become the basic structural element of such spaceport. Nobody has these technologies in the world yet. Moreover, for us (I mean the Russian Federation), it is necessary to occupy rather a niche of transportations in distant Space. Actually, therefore complete name of our company is "S 7 Space Transportation Systems" we intend to work not only at the market of launch services and at the market of delivery of payloads to the Earth Orbit. We also going to be engaged in transport service of Space infrastructure on the Earth Orbit and in servicing of interplanetary transport routes.

Interview: https://ria.ru/interview/20180417/1518794965.html

Photo by: https://iz.ru/689548/dmitrii-strugovetc/s7-gotova-vziat-v-kontcessiiu-rossiiskii-segment-mks 


Closing of the transaction on purchase of “Sea launch” project