Sea Launch And Its Amazing Ocean Going Rocket Launch Site

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Sea Launch was a launch provider who offered launched to geostationary orbit from a floating launch platform in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. This enabled them to deliver satellites closer to the target orbit than any of their competitors, using rockets that had been developed during the cold war.
It was a collaboration between multiple organizations and while it went well initially it eventually struggled, went bankrupt and stopped launching in 2014 after the launch vehicle became a victim of politics.

  1. Anna Fraley

    Hahaha, yeas we hope SpaceX is the next REAL sea launch 🚀 👍 ✅

  2. DuffMan

    7:02 1400mi = 220km? I hope you mean 2200km

  3. chaos

    I love your Outer WILDS poster.

  4. Sabercy

    How have I never heard of this before??



  6. grow scotland

    I belong too Glasgow, Glasgow belongs too me

  7. Bjarne S.

    Faster than the notification

  8. clavo

    Damn; you make great videos! Playback at 1.5 speed is no problem at all. Great educational and informative info. Thanks. Love the brevity. Wonder how you feel about the concept of: efficiency?

  9. david MOORE

    Zeelaunch !!! I thought you were trying to do a German accent there.

  10. Roderick Franklin

    I don’t need anymore my job with the help of, *p a i d t o b e h o m e .c o m*

  11. Pedro Miranda

    is it me or the engines are being censored on 10:03?

  12. Liam Live Loop


  13. chaos

    So we’ve had Space Ships, now we need Ships in Space.

  14. Doctor Bonez

    Hullo there.

  15. Ro Herms

    You solved this whole video in the first minute… “Russian deputy prime minister…. ” Still grasping at straws to attempt a challenge to SpaceX

  16. CacheRAM

    G’day Scott. I was looking at your bookshelf behind you, and noticed a book by Anne McCaffrey. Were you aware that her son Todd has continued writing stories in the P.E.R.N. universe?

  17. Gitarzan 66

    I just noticed the tower next to your Saturn V. That is killer!

  18. Martin King

    How have I never heard of this before now !

  19. Clark Kent

    Elon Musk tweeted that SpaceX SuperHeavy/Starship is ~10X the mass of Zenit.

  20. Brian Cox

    Now we just need some mad lad to make sea dragon a thing.

  21. John Stoner

    The SpaceX vision entails a whole lot of cargo beig launched to space, like to the point that you would probably need integrated railyards. It wouldn’t be quite as massive as a modern robotic shipyard, I think, but it would be pretty big.

    Maybe they could integrate directly with a shipyard. Like load their ships at port, sail to wherever they wanted to launch from, and go. Hm.

  22. K A

    SeaDragon or all other lifters too!

  23. Aaron Collier

    No idea why I have never heard of this. Would be awesome if it started launching again!

  24. AubriGryphon

    The platform has been purchased by a celebrity chef who intends to convert it into a floating restaurant called Sea Lunch.


    S E A L L A U N C H

    (i would pay to see that)

  26. Gamblor

    This is so Thunderbirds.

  27. SRFriso94

    It’s funny that the ship itself is the satelite launch platform in The Winter Soldier.

  28. Jason Lockhart

    I love you videos they’re so informational thanks for the great content

  29. tinkmarshino

    Oh no! I want that model of the Saturn V and launch tower!!! Now that was really interesting.. I wondered what had happened to those guys.. I think it is a great idea hope they can make a go of it.. Hey Scott I saw that guys comment about you writing a book.. what about a good sci-fi book.. I bet you have one or two of them in ya..

  30. Boris Brodski

    Elon was looking for cool ideas for the dummy payload for the first Starship orbital flight. #seallaunch 🤣

  31. Jason Gardner

    Pedantically speaking…having worked in the oil industry…it’s pronounced Ka-vern-er, well in the UK anyway.

  32. Paul Haynes

    Once again. an unexpected subject and an informative video. – many thanks.

  33. wht02lightning

    I can’t help but think the Starship never going to fly.

  34. Jay S

    What kind of temperature increase around the body of water, shockwave etc and forces does the structure take I wonder.

  35. Dan Swinehart

    It is, isn’t it?

  36. Satguy 141

    On another topic aren’t the sky’s getting a bit crowded with everybody launching nowadays?

  37. treborg777

    I haven’t gone thru all the comments, so I’ll add the following extras:
    1) The SeaLaunch business model depended upon having two launches per trip out to the Pacific launch area. One rocket rode out to the launch area on the Odyssey, and another on the Commander. After the first launch, the Commander was to dock with the Odyssey and transfer the second rocket. Everyone assumed for years that the sea state in the open-ocean launch site would be glassy calm. However, late in the program but before the first launch, someone actually checked the sea state out there & found perpetual 6 ft waves or worse. This prevented the booster transfer mid-ocean and essentially doubled the cost of a launch.
    2) US tech transfer laws forced some very bizarre operations in the program. Essentially, the US and Russian crews could not speak about any technical matters related to the rocket or launch without explicit “licenses”, and there were tech transfer “cops” on board to prevent such discussions. There were two completely separate launch control rooms on the Commander, one for the US and one for the Russians. If anything went wrong with the launch process, one side or the other would have to apply for a special tech transfer license (which could take days+) before the problems could be investigated. The two technical crews developed a special language thru which they could exchange some technical info without alerting the tech-transfer cops.

  38. ImGonSay It Anyway


  39. Walter

    Great show !
    Too much explosions on that platform
    it could be sold to Hollywood stars for having a villa on a sea platform, they can drive with Ferraris and Lambos on the platform, those cars tend to explode all the time !

  40. Rizky Resyah

    remind me of Jormungand when they launch quatum computer into space

  41. Spooky Donkey

    I think you mean Serius XM Inc. shoutout to my boy Howard 😉

  42. nkronert

    That was one hell of a fire ball. Probably a very efficient way to strip all paint off your vessel…

  43. FLY&I

    Hey Scott .. I saw you had the MCO launchpad in the background. Is that the one of ebay?

  44. Aaa Aaa

    Your Russian’s so good that I have to correct you! ;)
    Bor-I-sov, Zen-I-t, YU- zh-noye (where’s “zh” sounds simply like “j” in “Jack” without d)…

  45. Franklin Ratliff

    Always enjoy your videos. I find them entertaining, informative, and without the glaring technical errors I occasionally see in some of the other Youtube space commentators.

  46. Steven Storkson

    Great video! While watching I was thinking, “Man, this is relevant to what Elon Musk tweeted the other day.”

  47. Vince P1C1

    Another great and timely video packed with lots of information. Great job Scott!

  48. Der Hobbs

    Hey Scott! I’m sure you’ve answered this at some point, but where did you get your Lego Saturn V tower? I would love to get one!

  49. fritz walter

    Your Videos are just great. Im always amazed by how much you know about everything space related and how well You explain everything

  50. William R Warren Jr

    I worked at Boeing in the Graphics/Media Design Group on media images and animations regarding this project, building and surface-mapping 3D models ultimately lit and rendered by Mike Casad: eventually we got eaten by MacDac and SeaLaunch dried up.

    Would it work today? HELL YES!! The Russians don’t have virtually ANY launch sites that don’t end up in high-inclination orbits so their boosters tend to be robust. Also, while more efficient and lighter than Yuri’s launch vehicle, the modern day version is still plodding along, almost-completely-reliably delivering American cosmonauts and cargo payloads and rilly RILLY rich tourists. Virtually unchanged from 1957! Until Elon Musk came along, I had to tell my friends/frenemies that if they wanted to see how a SUCCESSFUL manned space program should work: look at Baikonur!

    But those big robust reliable workhorses would fit in the mothership and the platform workshops/storage bays. Musk has proven you don’t need to build a factory before you start building spacecraft, perhaps assembly on-deck (with rented cranes, no less!) could give Russia its much-coveted equatorial launch access … And Scott, I’m sure you’ve seen a Soyuz re-entry sphere … It’s essentially a cast iron (well, steel+) cannonball with the inside milled out to a skin thickness of about 2″ … This thing weighed tons and didn’t have any of the hatches, hardware, propellant, biomass, and it was still crushing the wood pallets (sorry, I’m referring to the one I found on Antiques Row in Tacoma sometime pre-2005)

    This was just the shell of the sphere, didn’t include the orbital hab module, the service module, nor any of their included consumables and extraneous hardware: ya gotta give it to the Soviets: they built ’em tough but they weighed TONS so … Really powerful engines.

    Skip to SeaLaunch! These huge brute-power 1950s boosters with today’s lightweight (i.e. not vacuum-tube technology) and oh yes: we’ll be hearing about SeaLaunch again!

    Sorry I didn’t look up the name or designation of the Soyuz launcher but you know what I mean, I bet.


  51. Micha Grill

    _seallaunch_ lets be honest we all wanna see that so lets seal the deal 🤣

  52. Mario Ursino


  53. Jesse H.



  54. NorwegianCrazyGuy

    My father worked on the Sealaunch odyssey all the way from when they started modifications at Rosenberg verft, Stavanger, Norway, to they started launching. Most of the structural modifications were done in Norway, then they moved it over to St petersburg in Russia to mount most of the launch systems, and then they finaly moved it over to Los Angeles. My father told me that when they first arrived in Los Angeles, they were in a meeting with Boing. When they came in to the conference room it was filled withc people in suit and tie. My father and hes co-worker was wearing jeans and hawai t-shirts and was introduced as “the Norwegian rigg experts”. They got some funny looks. After a while they earned their respect, and my father was one of few people that got videopermission onboard. My father still has the video of the first time they raised a rocket onboard, fuled it, then emptied it. It was the first stress test done onboard.

  55. Katsu Zatoichi

    A weakness with this concept was the transfer from the ship to the rig, and I think the overall idea was the rig should be placed on location all the time, anyhow, I was involved in that project and me and my colleagues all agree, this has been the most exciting and fun project we have ever been involved in

  56. The Monolith

    Can’t believe it has taken all those years to find out what happened to that rig sitting in Dundee. Cheers Scott 👍

  57. Bert Blankenstein

    Mammals in space: It has already been done on Star Trek. ;)

  58. Perry Taylor

    Still waiting for Scott to tell me I’m beautiful..

  59. termeownator

    Si, “fly”

  60. supersonic key lime pie

    Scott, you’re really good at these presentations. Keep it up!

  61. Ster Chess

    The misspelling of “its” in the title really confused me

    Edit: The title has been corrected

  62. Andrew Bennett

    Hey Mr Manley, I was wondering if you had any recommendations on a book relating to anything aerospace engineering (non-fiction) as I’ve recently started my intro to Aerospace class and we are to read a book and write a review of it. Also anyone else reading I’d love to hear your recommendations also!

  63. Falzix [HD]

    “ITS Amazing” Scott, “ITS” :P
    Sorry first and only chance to correct Prof. Manley :D

  64. Каташов Константин

    The big problem with Sea launch is that was the part of privately owned airline “S7” plan to start a new company “S7 Space” two of major shareholders of “S7 airlines” were Vladislav and Natalia Filev’s. Natalia was the the heart of the “S7 space” and since her deadly tragic plane crash on 31 March 2019 the future of this project is uncertain since S7 haven’t posted any info on future development after that on any of their Russian social media accounts.
    My grammar may be wrong, but English is not my first language and I just wanted to help. I hope you guys will read this.

  65. Dan Apted

    Concise, Accurate, no off-topic rambling. You are a Rock Star in my world of geeks. LOL (that’s a compliment btw). Keep up the good work.

  66. CJenda

    Sea launch renewed, sorta. No matter what launched, I always saw that left lean like a bad bowling curve. Lol 😃

  67. Azivegu

    To this day Sea Launch and Pegasus are still my favorite rocket platforms, just for the ingenuity to make space more affordable. If we can make them reusable, that would be amazing.

  68. Helium Road

    I remember seeing that explosion in the early days of Youtube and thinking the launch platform must have been lunched. Was surprised to hear it was only lightly damaged.

  69. J H

    6:11 That’s such an awesome looking setup… An orbital class rocket sitting up on an old modified oil drillship.

  70. Andrew Parker

    Hey Scott Manley, I have recently become very fascinated on the subject of Antimatter propulsion as possible concept for interstellar travel. Since there are no good articles online that easily explain how some of these engines might work, I was wondering if you could do a video on the subject?

  71. Adam Harvey

    From what I’ve heard, the new company is having some trouble bringing the Odyssey back to life in its new port. Then again, I suppose it wasn’t likely to be easy.
    I hope they get a good launcher going – I’d love to see some of that old Russian manufacturing combined with a more modern rocket design.

  72. Human

    Did a job on their fuel purification centrifuges years ago, all the seals chilling on the platforms sponsons was pretty awesome.

  73. Zoltán Pósfai

    Zenit: The pencil rocket with an engine rich exhaust.

  74. manofsan

    0:09 – *Seal Launch “So long, and thanks for all the fish! Arf! Arf!”*

  75. Ian Petrie

    I loved watching this ship being built on the Clyde, I’m glad that there’s still life in it.

  76. CirrusFlyer H

    Amazing, I never knew this company even existed. Thanks for the informative and well researched content. Keep up the good work.

  77. QuasiRandomViewer

    3:04 The Ocean Odyssey was “launched in 1983”.
    Orbital parameters?

  78. Ace King

    I never realized how big that rocket is until now.

  79. pauldzim

    “everything stopped working.” I guess that’s one way to put it 😊

  80. Hunterzeit

    its a baby sea dragon just give it time

  81. Locut0s

    “The former soviet countries could have refused Russia access to their space ports after the collapse of the USSR”

    Russia, holding a vial of polonium: “No”

  82. Yu Shuhuan

    There was a “sea launch” testing mission on 2019, performed by the Chinese Space Agency. The rocket was a Long March 11, and launch site was on the East China Sea. It seems like a easy win to convert some of the mobile launch ICBM capabilities into a mobile launch booster.

  83. Nuka

    There’s probably North Korean officers on YouTube watching this right now

  84. Space Ranger

    That Saturn five in the back looks awesome
    (I’m new)

  85. sambowman91

    Scott, Lor-AL. Like Data’s brother, and Al Roker.

  86. silmarian

    The Enterprise-D (per the Technical Manual) had dolphins on it, so the future for spaceborne aquatic mammals is clearly bright!

  87. hntr177

    8:50 Interesting how the nozzles point outward at first to limit the amount of heat damaging the launch pad.

  88. Zypofaeser

    2:08 Look at Afghanistan on the map.

  89. UnshavenStatue

    Scott, here’s an improvement for your Russian. The “zh” combo represents a sound that we actually have in English, only we don’t normally spell it as such. It’s the second “g” in American “gara *g* e”, or the middle consonant of words like “mea *su* re” or “plea *su* re” (or the letter “j” in French, like the word “je”), or words like “vi *si* on”. Zh would be the most natural way to type this sound even in English, consider the following “box”: 1) *s* 2) *z* 3) *sh* 4) *??* . “zh” perfectly fills the blank: “zh” is to “sh” what “z” is to “s”, and also, “zh” is to “z” what “sh” is to “s”. It’s the perfect spelling. Only in English, being an imported French sound (sort of), we spell it only French ways (with *j* or *g* ) or sometimes with the *su* or *si* (or *se* ) combos I’ve mentioned before.

    And this sound is represented, very logically, as zh when writing Russian with the English alphabet. So “Yuzhnoye” is pronounced “yuzh” like the first syllable of ” *usu* al” (a case of the *su* spelling), “no” like English “no” or perhaps like English “nuh”, then “ye” rhymes with “bet”, not “bat”. Yuzh-no-ye.

    Here’s the Wikipedia sample:

  90. Carde

    If spaceX launches from a ocean going platform before Sea Launch, Elon be like: “Hey we build an other trampoline, this time on the ocean. These things are amazing, next one is going to be on the moon.”

  91. Nikita Elizarov

    It’s ‘Enérgia’ — with the emphasis on the second syllable.

  92. The Wizard Games

    this is pretty cool, damn near the unlimited launch area.

  93. starshipeleven

    “one day kazakistan might stop allowing to launch rockets from Baikonur”

    That’s the day a bunch of russian tanks suddenly take the wrong turn and cross their borders, accompanied by infantry and supported by russian air force.

  94. georgH

    Another reason for choosing the Zenit was it’s extreme automation sorting tomorrow and preparation for launch. There are several videos in Russian in YouTube about the level of automation and how a rollout to the pad is accomplished. Even without knowing Russian, the images are quite self explanatory.

  95. ChaosSwissroIl

    I would rather have a Sea Dragon.

  96. Magnus jacobsen

    Hi scott! have you every thought about writing a book about anything to do with space?

  97. William Wheeler

    I was at XM for their four launches including one that was aborted with less than 10 seconds to go with someone yelling “Stop! Stop! Stop!” in a Russian accent on the command loop. At the time they were some of the heaviest and most powerful satellites built and XM used the output of the solar arrays that normally power a couple dozen TV transponders to just power one massive one. That’s why XM works so much better than your average satellite delivered service, well that and the frequency used but that’s another story. But the SeaLaunch launches were cheap at the time since they were a newcomer. In addition the equatorial launch also saved the birds a lot of housekeeping fuel since it lifted them several thousand km higher than if they had used say a KSC launch site or worse yet something in Kazakhstan.

    But the other great reason for the sea launched system was told to me by one of the Boeing managers. He simply said, “Fish don’t vote.” Once they got past the huge pain in ITAR and such, launching was easier since they didn’t have the hassles of a land based site. If they dropped a bird in the middle of the ocean, the fish didn’t care.

    But there are a lot of stories about SeaLaunch that just won’t get told and it’s probably for the better.

  98. Stephen Spittal

    I watched this ship being build as a young boy at school and now work in the same ship yards that built it

  99. Myles Willis

    WHY was this never in a bond movie? It has everything, boats, rockets, Russians.

  100. InventorZahran

    Sea Launch: *lifts off from a ship*

    SpaceX: *lands on a ship*

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