The group of companies S7, owned by the spouses Alexander and Natalia Fileva, closed the deal to purchase the Sea Launch launch site from the Rocket and Space Corporation Energia for 6.28 billion rubles.
"Today, on April 17, the deal on the sale of the assets of the Sea Launch project of the S7 Group by the Energy Group has been completed," reads the message posted on the website of the RKK. The subject of the transaction was the ship Sea Launch Commander, Odyssey platform with the missile segment equipment installed on them, ground equipment in the base port of Long Beach (USA) and the Sea Launch trademark.
The authorization documents received from the state bodies of Russia and the United States made it possible to complete the transaction, make appropriate entries in the ship's registry about the transfer of ownership of Sea Launch vessels to buyers and carry out the alienation of equipment to the new owner.
"The final calculation has been made with the sellers," RSC Energia noted.
The Corporation has promised to continue its participation in the Sea Launch project as a supplier of components and to assist the S7 Group in the operation and maintenance of the complex. RSC Energia will also carry out development work to adapt the Soyuz-5 medium-range missile for launches from the sea cosmodrome.
The general director of S7 Space (a subsidiary of the S7 Group) Sergey Sopov confirmed to RIA Novosti that from now on, S7 is the rightful owner of the property and intellectual property of the Sea Launch. "The acquisition of the Sea Launch launch site is an" entrance ticket "for us in the space industry," the general director of S7 Space said.
He said that before the emergence of a new medium-class carrier "Soyuz 5" for launch, the Zenit rocket will be used. The contract for the 12 first and second stages of Zenit is signed, the two missiles are ready and are waiting for the delivery of engines and control system. By November 2018, it is planned to deliver components to the port of Long Beach, California. And there to conduct the final assembly of Zenit-3SL for the Sea Launch, in order to launch rockets at least four times a year starting from 2019.
Sopov said that the port of Long Beach is only 14 km from the office of the company SpaceX American billionaire Ilona Mask. "Our project will have to exist in conditions of intense competition with US space companies," the head of S7 Space said, calling the price and quality of services the main competitive advantage of the Sea Launch. "We need to make sure that the customer starts when working with us was warm, cozy and comfortable, and fulfill all of their obligations on time with the proper quality and within the limits of the money that we agreed on," said Sopov.
The fact that the group of companies S7 bought a floating space launch "Sea Launch", it became known on September 27, 2016. It was then planned that the deal would be closed in the spring of 2017 upon the approval of the Directorate for the Control of Defense Trade (DDTC) and the Foreign Investment Committee of the United States (CFIUS). In early 2017, S7 Space received a license to carry out space activities in Russia. The receipt of US permits was delayed for a year and a half.
In the autumn of 2016, the buyer of the Sea Launch Vladislav Filev (a graduate of the Mozhaisky Academy of Military Space Forces and a former military engineer in the strategic missile forces) promised to begin launching activities in late 2018. So far - in December 2017 - S7 Space has become the operator of launching the spacecraft into orbit, preparing for the RSC Energia the integration of the "Angosat" satellite with the space rocket complex. The satellite "Angosat" was successfully launched into the target orbit.
The rival billionaires
The company S7 Space became the first Russian private company that managed to prepare a large commercial satellite for launch. In the world the first private company that put the commercial satellite into orbit, in 2009 became SpaceX.
It was SpaceX, created in 2002, in 2015, received a contract with NASA for the delivery of cargo to the International Space Station (ISS) and has already conducted more than two dozen successful missions. In the future, the company will also deliver astronauts to the ISS. In SpaceX they say that they have a package of contracts for the launch of more than 70 missions in the next few years. Their total cost is about $ 10 billion. The manned mission to the ISS using the Falcon 9 launch vehicle and the Dragon spaceship created by Mask is planned for May 2018.
But Vladislav Filev will have to compete not only with Mask. Another three billionaires from the United States and Great Britain entered a private space race. Among them are the richest man in the world, the founder and head of Amazon Jeff Bezos. He has funded the Blue Origin project since 2000. The Bezos team plans to use reusable launch vehicles (at the end of 2015, a controlled landing of the New Shepard reusable rocket was successfully conducted). In this sense, Blue Origin is the direct competitor of SpaceX Ilona Mask.
The founder of Virgin Group Briton Richard Branson in 2004 created the company Virgin Galactic, aimed at the development of space tourism. He already secured the support of hundreds of people wishing to travel to a suborbital flight with Virgin Galactic worth more than $ 200,000. Tickets were booked by about 800 people, among them actress Angelina Jolie and singer Lady Gaga.
Co-founder of Microsoft billionaire Paul Allen founded the company Vulcan Aerospace, whose first spacecraft - Stratolaunch - is now under development.
It is planned that a Stratolaunch heavy aircraft with almost twice the wingspan than the Boeing 786 Dreamliner will climb to a height of about 9 km, where a rocket suspended under the wing of the overclocker will be launched. The company expects that the machine will provide a cheaper and more flexible way of launching satellites into near-earth orbit.