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American Shipper

Battered Sea Launch platform arrives home

Battered Sea Launch platform arrives home

The Sea Launch Co.'s 'Odyssey' launch platform sailed into the Port of Long Beach Friday, battered and bruised, but moving under her own power.

   The launch platform survived a massive explosion when a 20-story-tall Zenit-3SL rocket detonated on the platform during an equatorial launch attempt on Jan. 30.

   Sea Launch sends the 'Odyssey,' a modified North Sea oil-drilling rig mounted on two Russian submarine hulls, and an accompanying mission control ship to the equator to launch satellites into orbit.

   Sea Launch said a flame deflector below the launch pad was lost and doors to the platform's hangar were off their supports, but the vessel's main structures were in good condition and its marine systems operational, allowing it to return home under its own power.

   The company is conducting an internal investigation into the explosion and said a final damage assessment will be completed in port. Findings of that probe could hamper the system's busy launch schedule, which includes five more payloads this year.

   Sea Launch is owned by Boeing Co., RSC-Energia of Moscow, Kvaerner ASA of Oslo, Norway, and SDO Yuzhnoye/PO Yuzhmash of Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine.

   Both the 'Odyssey' and the Sea Launch command vessel are home-ported in Southern California's Port of Long Beach.

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