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.
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.
"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.