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28 March, 1999
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Sea Launch Successfully Tested

On March 27, 1999 at 5:30 p.m. PST the first Sea Launch Ukrainian "Zenit" rocket was blasted off from an equatorial site in the Pacific Ocean near the Christmas Island. A demonstration satellite, which is a dummy copy of the latest and heaviest (about 4.5 t) telecommunication satellite of the US Hughes Corp., has been successfully put into the assigned orbit.

The Sea Launch is an unprecedented international project that demonstrates unique technical achievements of the world space science and technology. Its practical realization also ushers in a new approach to cooperation at the time of globalization of space economy, as the participants of the project - Ukraine, the USA, Russia and Norway - were in different camps in the "cold war" period.

The symbolic significance of this launch is evident from the fact that for the first time a Ukrainian-built rocket, some versions of which, capable to carry up to 10 nuclear warheads and targeted at the territory of the United States during the "cold war", will now be used for placing into orbit 12 telecommunication satellites for peaceful purposes. The implementation of the project was hindered by many legal and technical problems, which had to be jointly overcome in the course of several years.

The Sea Launch has become the first large strategic project of the Ukrainian-US partnership not only in the space field, but also in our cooperation with the United States as a whole. It also gives practical substance to the strategic partnership between our countries and peoples.

The ceremonies in Long Beach, the Sea Launch base port near Los Angeles, were attended by Olexander Negoda, General Designer of the National Space Agency of Ukraine, Yury Alexeyev, General Director of VO "Pivdenmash", Stanislav Koniukhov, General Director, "Pivdenne" Design Bureau, and other representatives of Ukraine’s aerospace industry. Ukrainian Ambassador to the United States Anton Buteiko also took part in the ceremonies.

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