The Boeing-led Sea Launch group is planning the maiden launch of its Zenit 3SL booster, from the Odyssey offshore platform in the equatorial Pacific Ocean, on 15 March. It will carrya dummy satellite to demonstrate geostationary orbit-launch capability.

Six Ukrainian-Russian Zenit boosters are complete and three commercial flights are scheduled for 1999. The commercial manifest is by no means stable however, having suffered from defections after the Zenit 2 failure launch in September, in which 12 Loral Globalstar satellites were lost.

Fourteen launches have been reserved by Hughes and five by Space Systems Loral, although these await conversion to firm bookings.

One ICO Global Communications spacecraft will also be launched by Sea Launch into Medium Earth Orbit (MEO). There were originally three ICOs on the manifest. It has also been reported that CD Radio may use Sea Launch vehicles for flights of two satellites to MEO.

Source: Flight International