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Ready for Launch | by jurvetson
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Ready for Launch

Straining in the rain.

 

For a sense of scale, the red elevator in the foreground is huge (I noticed it had a limit of 22 people).

 

Sea Launch is a conversion of a massive oil platform + ship into a floating rocket launch facility capable of launching satellites to geosynchronous orbit.

 

I am standing on a ship that houses the crew and has a three-stage rocket in horizontal assembly loaded with fuel and in final prep with an Italian military satellite. The ship is also the launch control (no people are on the launch platform during launch).

 

The platform slowly sails to the equator and then erects the Zenit rocket for launch.

 

The vertical strut tanks are flooded with water so that the platform sinks to the yellow marks on the right strut. This provides ballast so that the platform shifts less than 1 degree when the rocket launches from the far edge.

 

(megapixels)

 

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Taken on February 6, 2009