A No-Go for Sea Launch

On Friday, Switzerland-based and Russian-owned ocean-faring rocket launcher Sea Launch AG confirmed that its latest launch attempt was a bust. Forty seconds after lifting off from the company's floating launch platform aboard a Ukrainian Zenit-3SL rocket, a Boeing (NYSE: BA  ) -built Intelsat 27 spacecraft lost contact with its ground controllers, "indicating a loss of mission."

At this time, Sea Launch has no explanation for what went wrong but says it is forming an ad hoc Failure Review Oversight Board "to determine the root cause of the incident."

Since beginning operations in 1999, Sea Launch has made nearly three dozen launch attempts. Friday's incident was only the fourth such failure in 14 years of operation, but it was enough to push the company below a 90% success rate.


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