Odyssey (launch platform)

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Sea launch 1.jpg
Odyssey at a graving dock in Esquimalt, British Columbia.
Career
Name: L/P Odyssey
Owner: RKK Energia
Operator: Sea Launch
Port of registry: Monrovia, Liberia
Builder: Sumitomo Heavy Industries, Oppama Shipyard, Yokosuka, Kanagawa, Japan
Completed: 1982
Launched: 1983
Identification: IMO number: 8753196
MMSI number: 636010468
Callsign: ELTA7
General characteristics
Class & type: Semi-submersible mobile spacecraft launch platform
Tonnage: 36,436 GT
Displacement: Empty: 30,000 short tons (27,000 t)
Submerged: 50,600 short tons (45,900 t)
Length: 132.9 m (436 ft)
Beam: 67 m (220 ft)
Draught: 34.5 m (113 ft)
Installed power: 8 × Bergen KVG/B-12 engines (~1,550 hp or 1,160 kW each)
Crew: 68 crew and launch system personnel

L/P Odyssey is a self-propelled semi-submersible mobile spacecraft launch platform converted from a mobile drilling rig in 1997.

The vessel is currently used by Sea Launch for equatorial Pacific Ocean launches. She works in concert with the assembly and control ship Sea Launch Commander. Her home port is the Port of Long Beach in the United States.

In her current form, Odyssey is 436 feet (133 m) long and about 220 feet (67 m) wide, with an empty draft displacement of 30,000 short tons (27,000 t), and a submerged draft displacement of 50,600 short tons (45,900 t). The vessel has accommodations for 68 crew and launch system personnel, including living, dining, medical and recreation facilities. A large, environmentally-controlled hangar stores the rocket during transit and then rolls it out and erects it prior to fueling and launch.

History[edit]

Ocean Odyssey in her original drilling rig configuration

The platform was built in 1982 for Ocean Drilling & Exploration Company (ODECO) by Sumitomo Heavy Industries. It drilled its first exploratory hole about 40 miles (64 km) south of Yakutat for ARCO Alaska, Inc. The rig cost about US$110 million to build during the early eighties oil "boom".

During construction the vessel was called Ocean Ranger II, and was renamed Ocean Odyssey after the Ocean Ranger capsized with all hands lost during a storm off Newfoundland on February 15, 1982.

When built, Ocean Odyssey was classed +A1 +AMS by the American Bureau of Shipping for unrestricted worldwide ocean service. She was a 390-foot (120 m) long, 226-foot (69 m) wide, twin-hull design with a 12,450 hp (9,280 kW) propulsion system. The rig's structure was designed to simultaneously withstand 100-knot (190 km/h) winds, 110-foot (34 m) waves, and a 3-knot (5.6 km/h) current. The derrick was fully enclosed with a heated drill floor permitting operations down to −35 °C (−31 °F).

The rig had other advanced extreme-condition features as well. For example, the rig's columns were strengthened to withstand some ice impact and the marine riser had a feature similar to a cow-catcher to keep floating ice off the marine riser that connected the rig to the well on the ocean bottom.

1988 North Sea gas blowout[edit]

On September 22, 1988, Ocean Odyssey suffered a blowout while operated by ODECO (now Diamond Offshore Drilling) on hire to ARCO (now a subsidiary of BP), drilling the 22/30b-3 well on a prospect in the North Sea.[1] The ultimate direct cause of the incident was a failure of the subsea wellhead equipment after a prolonged period of well control.[2] During the resulting fire the radio operator, Timothy Williams, was killed. He had been ordered from the lifeboats and back to the radio room by the rig's manager, who failed to countermand the order when the rig was evacuated.[1]

Launch platform conversion[edit]

Ocean Odyssey spent the next several years as a rusting hulk in the docks of Dundee, Scotland. Her availability prompted Boeing to establish the Sea Launch consortium, for which she was bought in 1993 by Kværner Rosenberg of Stavanger, Norway, and renamed L/P Odyssey.

From late 1995 to May 1997, Kværner extended the length of the platform and added a pair of support columns and additional propulsion systems. The upper deck — the location of the former drill floor — was rebuilt to accommodate the launch pad and launch vehicle service hangar. In May 1997, Ocean Odyssey arrived at Kværner Vyborg Shipyard for the installation of the launch vehicle equipment itself.

By 1999, the vessel was ready for service, and on March 27, 1999, a Zenit-3SL rocket successfully launched a demonstration satellite to a geostationary transfer orbit.[3] The first commercial launch occurred on October 9, 1999, with the orbiting of the DirecTV 1-R satellite.[4]

2007 launch failure[edit]

Odyssey at port, with Sea Launch Commander behind

On January 30, 2007, a Zenit-3SL carrying the NSS-8 satellite exploded aboard Odyssey at liftoff due to a turbopump malfunction. There were no injuries, as the ship was evacuated for launch operations. Damage to the launch platform was mostly superficial, though a 600,000 lb (270,000 kg) flame deflector was knocked loose from underneath the platform and lost, along with damage to the hangar doors and antennae. The vessel was repaired at a shipyard in Vancouver, British Columbia.[5][6]

Odyssey returned to service with the January 15, 2008, successful launch of the Thuraya 3 satellite.[7]

2013 launch failure[edit]

On February 1, 2013, the Zenit-3SL rocket carrying Intelsat 27 suffered a failure after its launch from Odyssey, crashing a short distance from the launch platform. Its first stage engine appeared to shut down around 25 seconds after launch and telemetry from the rocket was lost about 15 seconds later.[8] Telemetry indicated that excessive roll was detected 11 seconds after launch. The guidance system was programmed to shut down the engine, but only after the rocket was safely away from the launch platform. It is believed that a failure in a hydraulic pump that provides power for gimbaling the RD-171 engine was ultimately the cause.[9]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Ocean Odyssey Blowout". Oil Rig Disasters. April 14, 2008. Archived from the original on January 4, 2010. Retrieved July 17, 2010. 
  2. ^ Wann, Kevin E; Chapoy, Antonin; Yang, Jinhai; Ahmadloo, Farid; Valko, Ivan; Zain, Zahidah (September 5, 1989). "The Ocean Odyssey: Well Control Project". Offshore Europe (Aberdeen). doi:10.2118/19247-MS. 
  3. ^ "DemoSat". Sea-Launch.com. Archived from the original on June 9, 2011. 
  4. ^ "DirecTV 1-R". Sea-Launch.com. Archived from the original on June 9, 2011. 
  5. ^ Antczak, John (January 31, 2007). "Sea Launch rocket explodes". The Seattle Times. Archived from the original on February 4, 2013. 
  6. ^ Clark, Stephen (January 15, 2008). "Sea Launch successfully returns to flight". Spaceflight Now. Archived from the original on February 4, 2013. 
  7. ^ "Sea Launch: the Twenty-Fifth Launch of Zenit-3SL" (Press release). Yuzhnoye.com. January 21, 2008. Archived from the original on February 4, 2013. 
  8. ^ Morring, Jr, Frank (February 1, 2013). "Sea Launch Failure Bodes Ill For Company". Aviation Week. Archived from the original on February 4, 2013. 
  9. ^ "Sea Launch provides initial Details about Zenit 3SL Mishap". Spaceflight 101. February 2, 2013. 

External links[edit]