Spaceport company plans to demonstrate a sea-based pad for launching spacecraft from it as early as May of this year. Up to 4 launches are planned. Thus, they plan to unload ground-based spaceports.
New “Sea Launch”
Spaceport startup plans to start using sea-based launch pads for space rockets. The first of them is promised to be demonstrated in May 2023. The main purpose of this project is to unload ground-based spaceports.
The idea of a floating launch pad is not something new in the space industry. Back in the early 2000s, the international project “Sea Launch” was implemented, which used a platform located in the Pacific Ocean for launches. It was from it that the Ukrainian Zenit-3SL rockets took off.
However, over time, due to financial and political problems, the Sea Launch was closed and the global space industry forgot for a while. But now their interest has rapidly begun to return. The leader here is East Asia. China and South Korea already have floating platforms from where they launch rockets.
Western countries are trying to keep up with them. SpaceX has already bought two closed drilling platforms, intending to turn them into spaceports. However, over time, it came to the conclusion that such a restructuring was impossible and recently sold them. But Spaceport is not going to abandon its own plans.
The main problems that Spaceport plans to overcome by creating a floating spaceport are organizational and technical. Usually, the construction of such an object on land requires the construction of a large number of auxiliary structures.
In addition, the spaceport must obtain a permit from the Federal Aviation Administration, known as Par 420. For example, in Camden County, Georgia, a private spaceport has been unable to be built for many years precisely because of the inability to obtain this document.
In the case of using a floating platform instead of a piece of land, in fact a ship, all the requirements of Part 420 will still have to be fulfilled. But it will be much easier to do it all. According to the founder of the company Tom Marotta, the launch pad can simply take a certain position off the coast of the USA, where the depth does not exceed 60 m, rest on the bottom with supports, and it is ready for use.
If the tests are successful in May, Spaceport will build a much larger floating platform. Even rockets like Alpha, which is being developed by Firefly Aerospace, will be able to launch with it. According to Marotta, his company has already signed an agreement with Virginia Space on Wallops Island. It provides for the testing of a full-size launch pad in the waters near it starting in 2025.
According to spacenews.com
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