Sea Launch mission fails, rocket and satellite destroyed

Craig Lloyd - Feb 1, 2013, 2:12pm CST
Sea Launch mission fails, rocket and satellite destroyed

A 20-story rocket carrying an Intelsat communications satellite failed 40 seconds after liftoff, destroying both the rocket and the satellite, and crashed into the ocean. The rocket launched from a floating launchpad out in the Pacific Ocean near the equator. No one was injured in the incident, but Sea Launch is looking into the situation to see what caused the failure.

The failed launch, while always unfortunate, could be a huge setback for Sea Launch, which got out of Chapter 11 bankruptcy in October 2010 and began launching rockets again starting in September 2011. However, this isn’t the first launch failure that the company has had. In 2007, they also experienced a disastrous launch, which ended up being recorded and became viral that year.

The Intelsat satellite, which was made by Boeing, was going to be used to transmit signals in the US and Europe, and was built to withstand 15 years of service. It’s not said how much it cost to build the satellite, nor how much the entire launch cost, but it was definitely money down the drain, and Sea Launch will most likely spend even more money putting together a team to investigate the failed launch.

Sea Launch isn’t that well known in the space industry, but they’ve been launching satellites and other cargo into space since 1999, with some of their biggest clients being Intelsat and DirecTV. However, as the demand for satellites fell during the turn of the millenium, Sea Launch began seeing less and less business. By 2002, the company had only sent up one satellite. After emerging from bankruptcy, the company is back, but who knows what this most recent failed launch will mean for the company as it continues to struggle.


Image via Flickr

Must Read Bits & Bytes