Return to Flight for Sea Launch

Now there’s a space history headline that’s hard to parse out of context!

Five years ago today — January 15, 2008 — Sea Launch successfully placed a payload in orbit from its floating launch platform, after a year-long hiatus due to a previous launch failure.

(Thuraya 3 launch. Image linked from Sea Launch web site.)

The payload was Thuraya 3, a communications satellite for the United Arab Emirates. The Zenit 3SL rocket lifted off from the Odyssey launch platform while the vessel held position along the equator, almost due south of Christmas Island in the Pacific Ocean.

I have a soft spot in my heart for Sea Launch, having spent a lot of time at their Long Beach headquarters and gone to sea with them in 2002 for the Galaxy IIIC launch, so it was great to see them have another launch success.

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