Ukrainian Zenit-3SL Rocket Successfully Launches the EUTELSAT 3B Spacecraft


NYON, Switzerland, May 27, 2014. Today, the Sea Launch SA has successfully launched the EUTELSAT 3B satellite from at its ocean-based Launch Platform Odyssey. This marks the completion of Sea Launch’s first mission in 2014, its third for Eutelsat, one of the world’s leading satellite operators, and its 36th mission overall. The Zenit-3SL rocket (designed by the Yuzhnoye Design Bureau, Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine) carrying the spacecraft lifted off at 14:09:59 Pacific Daylight Time (PDT) on Monday, May 26th (21:09:59 UTC, 23:09:55 CEST) from the launch platform positioned at 154 degrees West longitude in the Pacific Ocean. – reported by Yahoo Finance – May 27, 2014.

The Zenit-3SL is an expendable carrier rocket operated by Sea Launch. It is a member of the Zenit family of rockets, is designed by the Yuzhnoye Design Bureau, Dnipropertovsk, Ukraine, and is built by Pivdenmash (Yuzhmash) Machine-Building Plant, Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine. Energia Rocket-Space-Corporation (RSC), Russia produces the Block DM-SL upper stage, whilst the payload fairing is produced by Boeing Company, USA. Launches are conducted from the Ocean Odyssey platform anchored on the equator in the Pacific Ocean. One of the members of Zenit family of rockets is Zenit-3SL. Zenit 3SL is operated by Sea Launch, California – a company owned by Russian RSC Energia (40%), Boeing Company, USA  (25%), Aker Solutions, Norway (20%) and Yuzhnoye (15%). The Rocket was designed by the Yuzhnoye Design Bureau, and is constructed by Yuzhmash (Pivdenmash), both Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine.


The Zenit-3SL Integrated Launch Vehicle (ILV) is a three-staged rocket on non-toxic propellants (liquid oxygen and kerosene RG-1) intended for injection of spacecrafts (SC) into various near-Earth orbits and escape trajectories. It is created on the basis of the Zenit-2 LV two-staged rocket originated from the Yuzhnoye Design Bureau, Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine, upper stage (US) DM-SL elaborated by Russian Energia Rocket-Space-Corporation (RSC), and payload unit elaborated by Boeing Company, USA. The Zenit-3SL ILV operates as part of the Sea Launch rocket-space complex used by the International Company Sea Launch for providing commercial launch services. The first launch was performed on March 27, 1999. In total 29 succesful launches were carried, by April 20, 2009. From 1985 to 2009 the basic Zenit-2 LV was launched 37 times, 30 of them were successful. Besides, the improved units of its first stage were used in capacity of the strap-on boosters for Energia LV and performed successfully within two launches (in total 8 rocket units).

The Russian Proton-M rocket with an advanced satellite on board crashed outside of Kazakhstan’s territory on Friday, May 15, 2014 about nine minutes after lift-off. The Express-AM4R would have been Russia’s most advanced and powerful satellite. It is not the first case of failure of Russian Proton-M rocket. A Russian Proton-M rocket carrying three GLONASS navigation satellites crashed soon after takeoff from Kazakhstan’s Baikonur cosmodrome on July 2, 2013. All other launches of Proton-type rockets will be halted at Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan until the reason for the crash is determined.


As the Zenit-3SL project is far more promising then Proton-M, the Russian government would like a take closer look at the idea of buying commercial launch services provider Sea Launch, which is owned by a top Russian space contractor but whose key assets are based in California, Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said Feb. 19, 2014.

If Russia takes over this project and other defense projects where Ukraine participates, the outcome might be less than desirable. More EU, US, and Ukrainian shares and investments should be involved in such projects. Aside from that, the Ukrainian space and rocket industry should be realigned for cooperating with the EU and US. Not only a financial, but also a technical assistance program for Ukraine provided by the US and EU would be beneficial. It could reduce Ukraine’s dependence on Russia, while allowing Ukraine to retain its high-tech military potential by having access to the EU and US markets and EU and US projects. The successfull launch of EUTELSAT 3B Spacecraft with the Zenit-3SL rocket serves as good example of the high-tech cooperation that Ukraine needs. It is extremely important for Ukraine to regain its position in world space and missile industry to the benefit of EU and US. It is obvious that Russia will try to prevent such developments as much as it can with a carrot and stick policy directed towards individuals and organizations. One of the methods is to lure Ukrainian defense industry specialists to Russia, another usual method is threatening Ukrainian defense enterprises. That adds to the importance of US and EU technical co-operation with Ukraine in order to handle these challenges.

Edited by Alya Shandra

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3 thoughts on “Ukrainian Zenit-3SL Rocket Successfully Launches the EUTELSAT 3B Spacecraft

  1. Pingback: Ukrainian Zenit-3SL Rocket Successfully Launches the EUTELSAT 3B Spacecraft - Israel Foreign Affairs

  2. Pingback: Ukraina o której się nie pisze. | Zenobiusz

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