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Technology at its finest

8. December 2004
The flexible gangway linking the launch platform and command vessel

Sea Launch is a prime example of one of the most advanced applications for dynamic positioning. It represents a meeting of technology, innovation and development, as satellites blast off from the ocean platform and rocket into the stratosphere. The fact that the launch platform is remotely controlled from a command vessel makes the tension obvious when the launch countdown progresses.

Tiny margins

The Sea Launch system consists of a launch platform and a command ship. KONGSBERG has redundant Dynamic Positioning (DP) systems on both the platform and the vessel. At the moment of launch, even tiny margins can be critical. In that sense, the DP is one of several crucial elements in a successful launch.

Side by side

During preparations, the platform and the vessel remain side by side thanks to KONGSBERG DP system. On separate sides of the equator and with nothing but a flexible gangway linking the units together, it is important that the distance between them is constant and under control. The positioning equipment ensures that the vessels remain precisely at the same relative positions.

Unmanned

"There is a lot of sophisticated technology involved in the Sea Launch project", points out Roar Inge Alfheim of Kongsberg Maritime. "During launch, the platform is unmanned and remotely controlled from the support vessel. This also applies to the DP equipment. We're talking about the world's largest remotely controlled boat here", he laughs.