We have official confirmation – S7 group acquired major stock of Sea Launch company.
Representatives of both companies met in Moscow on 28 December 2016 and signed final agreement – in this way, Russian S7 group known mainly because of its subsidiary PJSC Siberia Airlines, became launch service provider. This agreement finishes hard period for Sea Launch – owner one of the most interesting from technical point of view launch pads – floating launch platforms. After signing agreement, S7 became legal owner of ships, trademark, platform and ground segment created and carefully maintained by Sea Launch.
First changes will appear already before transferring second half from $150 million, which is planned for June 2017. Platform used for launching Zenit rockets will be re-registered with Liberia (previously it was operating from California under American flag). Next headquarters of the company will be moved from from Bern in Switzerland to Moscow. According to one of the owners of S7 group, Vladislav Filev, first launches are even possible in 2018. It means, that new owner probably will try to keep sea platform operating and maybe will invest in new Zenit rockets, previously provided by Yuzhnoye Yuzhnoye Design Office and Yuzhmash factory. It was not directly confirmed, but as stated Vladimir Solntsev, head of the RKK Energia, previous owner of Sea Launch:
“S7 has already assumed ownership of the Sea Launch. Certain documents had to be signed, and we signed the last of them to close the deal in December. S7 has already assumed certain expenditures, including costs to maintain the floating launch platform and its infrastructure,”
No details on future of Sea Launch were not unveiled, still most reasonable would be using Zenit rockets and keeping costs under control – $30 million for maintenance are acceptable. If new management will take under consideration creating new launch vehicle probably it would be necessary to invest much more money and time. In such case whole venture would not be profitable for at least three years and this is not best situation for S7 group.