Sergey Gugkayev, CEO of Sea Launch, an international spacecraft launch service, on Monday told ITAR-TASS the rumors about plans to sell the project to the Israelis are baseless.
“The reports that an Israeli company is planning to buy the Sea Launch project are not true. We have received no proposals on the Sea Launch purchase, ” Gugkayev insisted.
At the same time, Gugkayev confirmed that Sea Launch, which sends to space the Russian-Ukrainian Zenith-3SL rockets from a mobile platform in the Pacific Ocean, is negotiating “cooperation in the sphere of launching spacecraft” with an Israeli company.
OK, that’s totally different, right?
Gugkayev explained that the Israeli company in question, Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), a major Israeli aerospace and aviation manufacturer, “is not the only company manufacturing satellites with which we are holding negotiations on possible joint work.”
A director of information policy department at Russia’s United Rocket and Space Corporation, Igor Burenkov, told ITAR-TASS that “various options for developing the Sea Launch project are being considered, in particular, in the interests of Russia.”
Well, as long as that’s covered…
The entire brouhaha has erupted over media reports, citing unnamed sources, that a Israel Aerospace is in talks to buy the Sea Launch consortium.
Those reports suggested that the Russian space agency, Roscosmos, and the United Rocket and Space Corporation re not interested in buying Sea Launch, so the consortium has been looking for foreign buyers.
Sea Launch was established in 1995 as a consortium of four companies from Norway, Russia, Ukraine and the United States, managed by Boeing with participation from the other shareholders. The first rocket was launched in March 1999.