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Zenit 2 at Baikonur Area 45 (Rosaviakosmos)Zenit

Vehicle Configurations

Vehicle Components

Zenit Launch History

The Zenit (Zenith) rocket was the last, and most advanced, space launch vehicle developed by the former Soviet Union. Although it began life as a military satellite launcher, its primary use in recent years has been to boost commercial satellites into space for the multi-national Sea Launch venture.

Zenit development was begun by Dnepropetrovsk, Urkraine-based NPO Yuzhnoe during the 1970s as an effort to replace ICBM-based boosters with a purpose-built space launcher. Early plans called for a modular series of light, medium, and heavy-lift vehicles, but only the 11K77 medium version won approval. On March 16, 1976, the Central Committee of the Soviet Union officially approved development of the 11K77 two-stage Zenit-2, a rocket capable of boosting 13.7 metric tons into low earth orbit (LEO) from Baikonur, as a replacement for the Tsyklon booster then in use. Subsequently, Zenit-2 won the job of launching the USSR's new Tselina-2 electronic intelligence satellites while the Zenit-2 first stage was selected to serve as a strap-on booster for the Energia heavy-lift launcher. Initial planning called for the first Zenit-2 launch to occur in 1982.

Energia Launcher Used Four Zenit Strap-on BoostersDevelopment of Zenit's powerful staged-combustion cycle first stage engine by the Glushko design bureau (later called Energomash) soon ran into trouble, however. The four-chamber, single-turbopump kerosene/liquid oxygen (LOX) engine, identified as RD-170 for Energia and RD-171 for Zenit-2, suffered a series of test failures during 1981-83 that threatened both programs. The development challenge was daunting. RD-170/RD-171 was the most powerful liquid propellant rocket engine ever developed, producing more thrust than the Saturn V F-1 (806 tons versus 789 tons) and operating at higher chamber pressures than NASA's Space Shuttle Main Engine (245 bar versus 204 bar). Eventually, Glushko was able to qualify the powerful engine for flight.

The rocket's first stage consisted of an engine compartment topped by a kerosene tank and, on top of both, a LOX tank. The tanks shared a common bulkhead. All four RD-171 chambers gimballed to provide three-axis control.

The second stage used a single fixed RD-0120 main engine augmented by the four gimballed thrust chambers of an RD-8 vernier engine. A toriodial kerosene tank wrapped around the RD-0120 engine. A separate cylindrical LOX tank was positioned above the engine section. The launch vehicle control system was mounted atop the second stage.

Zenit 2 Towed to Pad by Rail (NASA)A new launch complex, named Area 45, was constructed on Baikonur's eastern flank. The pad site allowed "automatic" launch processing, with the horizontally integrated launch vehicle transported to and erected on the "launch starter" pad only 90 minutes before liftoff. The process included automatic connection of propellant, power, and data lines. Area 45 included two pads. The "left" pad hosted all initial launches and is still in use. The "right" pad entered service in May 1990, but it was destroyed by an on-pad explosion during its second use in October of that year.

On April 13, 1985, the first 57 meter tall, 460 ton Zenit-2 lifted off from the "left" pad at Baikonur Area 45 with a dummy payload representing a Tselina-2 satellite. The first stage performed well, but problems with the second stage propellant controller caused the RD-0120 second stage engine to run out of fuel and shut down a few seconds early, leaving the vehicle short of orbital velocity. Another second stage problem doomed the second launch on June 21, 1985. Finally, on October 22, 1985, the third Zenit-2 successfully reached orbit with a dummy payload that was announced as Kosmos-1697. Eight more Zenit-2 launches were performed before the vehicle was declared operational at the end of 1987.

Within a few years, however, the collapse of the Soviet Union, the end of the Energia/Buran program, and the technical challenges offered by the new rocket contributed to a series of failures. On October 4, 1990, the 15th Zenit-2 failed five seconds after the liftoff from Area 45 "right" launch complex. The 460 ton rocket fell back through the pad into the flame trench and exploded, obliterating the massive concrete launch pad. The next two Zenit-2 launches, in 1990 and early 1991, fell short of orbit when their second stages failed. After a series of successes, another Zenit-2 failed 48 seconds after liftoff on May 20, 1997.

Zenit returned to service with two successful government launches in 1998, but the rocket suffered an embarrassing failure on September 9, 1998. During its first international commercial satellite launch attempt with 12 Globalstar satellites, the rocket suffered a control system failure during the second stage burn. Globalstar had planned to buy multiple Zenit-2 launches, but after the failure the company switched to Boeing Delta II and Starsem Soyuz. The failure, combined with Russia's gradual ending of Zenit-2 military launches, dealt a serious blow to the rocket. Only four Zenit-2 launches occurred between 1999 and 2001, and none took place in 2002.

Zenit 3SL First Stages (Sea Launch)Zenit managed an unlikely rebirth, however. During the early 1990s, several companies began studying the creation of a three-stage "Zenit-3" to launch commercial satellites into geosynchronous transfer orbit (GTO) from a floating launch platform. Payload mass could be increased by launching from the equator, where the Earth's rotation provides more velocity to assist the launcher. Russia's RKK Energia offered its Blok DM as an upper stage, USA's Boeing its payload integration and western marketing skills, Norway's Anglo-Norwegian Kverner Group the floating launch platform and command ship, and SDO Yuzhnoye/PO Yuzhmash the two-stage Zenit, launcher equipment, and launch operations. The four companies officially formed Sea Launch in 1995 with 25%, 40%, 20%, and 15% shares, respectfully. Plans called for Sea Launch operations to be based in Long Beach, California, near several major satellite manufacturers.

Zenit 3SL Erected on Launch Platform (Sea Launch)For Sea Launch, Zenit's first stage was strengthened, the second stage engine thrust was increased, more propellants were loaded, and electronics were upgraded. The improved rocket, named Zenit-3SL, was topped by the Blok DMSL third stage and an enlarged payload fairing. Initially rated to handle 5.25 metric ton payloads to GTO, Zenit-3SL's payload capacity soon grew to 6 tons.

Hughes signed on as the first Sea Launch customer in 1995, adding three orders in 1996. Space Systems/Loral ordered five launches in 1996.

In late 1996, the "Sea Launch Commander" was launched from the Kyaerner shipyard in Scotland. Both "Commander" and launch platform "Odyssey" sailed to Russia in 1997 for outfitting. On June 12, 1998, "Commander" departed St. Petersburg, Russia for Long Beach, carrying the first two Sea Launch vehicles. Eight days later "Odyssey" left Russia for Long Beach, making an epic journey through the Dardenelles Straight.

Zenit 3SL Launch from Odyssey platform (Sea Launch)After weathering a 1998 suspension of work order from the U.S. government due to technology transfer concerns, Sea Launch Zenit successfully performed its first launch with a dummy payload on March 27, 1999. On October 9, 1999, the second Zenit 3SL successfully boosted Direct TV 1-R into GTO.

On March 12, 2000, Sea Launch suffered its first launch failure. The ICO F-1 communications satellite was lost after the rocket's second stage shut down 80 seconds early. A control pressure valve commanding error in the pre-launch ground sequence software was responsible. The improper valve setting caused control of the second stage RD-8 vernier engines to be lost after some time passed, so that the stage tumbled out of control. The rocket's control system automatically shut down the RD-0120 engine when it lost control authority.

Sea Launch recovered with eight consecutive successful launches, but the 14th flight failed in mid-2004 when the DMSL stage shut down 54 sec early due a suspected loose electrical connection. The Apstar 5 payload was left in a transfer orbit with an apogee 14,000 km lower than planned, but the satellite was subsequently able to use its own fuel to reach the planned geosynchronous orbit.

z3sl16f.jpg (4010 bytes)Zenit 3SL then reeled off nine consecutive successes, including five in 2006.  Spaceway 1, orbited during that string, was, at 6.1 tonnes, the heaviest commercial GTO payload launched up to that time.  But the run ended emphatically on January 30, 2007 when a Sea Launch Zenit with SES New Sky's NSS-8 satellite exploded in a huge fireball at liftoff.  The failure,  caused by the ingestion of a metal object by the RD-171M main engine's LOX turbopump, knocked off and sank Odyssey's 250 tonne exhaust deflector and damaged other parts of the platform and its launch equipment.  While Sea Launch scrambled to repair Odyssey, several payloads drifted away to Ariane or Proton. 

Sea Launch was ready to return to flight during the final weeks of 2007, but poor weather conditions at the launch site forced Odyssey to return to port.  Zenit 3SL finally returned to service on January 15, 2008 with the successful launch of Thuraya-3.  

z3slb1a.jpg (roskosmos)While Sea Launch battled its way back from the 2007 failure, a Zenit renaissance was being planned for Baikonur, where "Land Launch" Zenit flights were scheduled.   Zenit 2 SLB and Zenit 3 SLB variants would carry commercial payloads from Baikonur's remaining 45/1 pad.  On June 29, 2007, a Zenit 2M, equipped with the RD-171M and upgraded digital flight control computer that the new Land Launch Zenit's would use, flew successfully from Baikonur. 

The first Zenit 3 SLB, a two-stage Zenit topped by an RSC Energia Blok DM-SLB third stage, arrived at Baikonur for pre launch processing in late 2007.  On April 28, 2008, the rocket carried Amos 3, an Israeli communication satellite, into near geosynchronous orbit from Area 45, Pad 1. 

Sea Launch Bankruptcy

On June 24, 2009, about three months and 10 years after it performed its first demonstration space launch from a platform floating in the Pacific Ocean, Sea Launch Company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy court protection. The unique international consortium, owned by Boeing (40 %), Russia's RSC-Energia (25 %), Aker ASA of Oslo, Norway (20 %), and Ukraine's SDO Yuzhnoye/PO Yuzhmash (15%) listed assets of $0.1-0.5 billion and liabilities of $0.5-$1 billion.  Boeing said that it might have to charge as much as $0.513 billion against earnings as a result of the bankruptcy. Sea Launch reportedly owed Boeing $0.978 billion in loans, trade debt, and partner liabilities.

The Long Beach, California-based company said that it planned to consider selling one or more of its divisions, but that it intended to use cash on hand to meet operating expenses and that it intended to continue to operate after the filing.  Sea Launch owned a stake in Land Launch, which might or might not be considered a "division".  

It was the first time that a major, established launch services company had declared bankruptcy.  Other companies, like Kistler, failed prior to establishing service.  For that reason, it was difficult to predict whether Sea Launch would emerge as a continuing business.  The partners, especially Boeing, were likely in position to decide whether or not the business continued.

At the time of the filing, Sea Launch reportedly had a 10 launch backlog, including eight Sea Launch and two Land Launch missions from Baikonur, Kazakstahn. Two to three launches were planned for 2009, but Sea Launch had recently lost three payloads to Russian competitor International Launch Services.  The switches were caused by program delays following a 2007 Zenit 3SL launch failure, by the 2008 financial crises, and by delayed Zenit 3SL/Blok DMSL deliveries.

z3f01.jpg (20262 bytes)Zenit 3F

On January 20, 2011, the first Zenit 3F (or Zenit 3SLBF) was used to orbit Russia's first Electro-L weather satellite from Baikonur.  Zenit 3F used an upgraded hypergolic Fregat SB upper stage in place of Energia's cryogenic Blok DMSLB stage.  Fregat SB added drop tanks to the previously-flown Fregat stage.   


z3sl48.jpg (8875 bytes)Sea Launch Zenit Fails (Updated Febraury 2, 2013)

A Zenit 3SL/Blok DMSL failed shortly after launch from Sea Launch Odyssey launch platform in the equatorial Pacific Ocean on February 1, 2013, destroying the rocket and its Intelsat 27 satellite payload.  It was the fourth Sea Launch failure in 35 flights, breaking a string of 10 consecutive successes spanning six years.

Liftoff occurred at 06:56 UTC.  The rocket rose for about 23 seconds before appearing to veer just before its RD-171M main engine suddenly cut out, darkening the scene.  Webcast video then showed a brief flash of light about 58 seconds after liftoff, possibly indicating the time of impact with the ocean surface.    No injuries or damage to Sea Launch floating systems were reported.

The behavior was consistent with an emergency cut off command given to the main engine, a range safety procedure used with Ukrainian and Russian rockets that have flown out of control. 

Sea Launch later announced that it had lost telemetry signals about 40 seconds after liftoff, and that it would conduct an investigation to determine the cause.  Russian news services reported that the flight had been terminated after drifting from its planned flight path.  RD-171M engine manufacturer NPO Energomash director Vladimir Solntsev stated that the engine had worked nominally and that it was not involved in the failure. 

Failure Review Oversight Board

On February 2, Sea Launch announced that 11.4 seconds into flight, "the Zenit flight control system detected an exceedance of a pre-programmed roll limit" indicating a loss of vehicle control, triggering the on-board thrust termination sequence.  The sequence terminated the RD-171M main engine thrust 20 seconds into the flight.  The rocket and its payload impacted the Pacific Ocean surface about 4 km from the Odyssey Launch Platform.

Sea Launch announced that a Failure Review Oversight Board (FROB) would investigate the failure, focusing on systems involved in the thrust vector control of the first stage engine. 

Intelsat 27 was a 6.215 tonne satellite built by Boeing Satellite Services.  It would have been inserted into geosynchronous transfer orbit.   

Zenit 3SL consists of a two-stage rocket Zenit 2S developed by SDO Yuzhnoye of Ukraine, topped by a Blok DMSL upper stage manufactured by Russia's RSC Energia, the majority owner of Sea Launch itself.  Russia's NPO Energomash provides engines for the first two stages.

It was the 80th Zenit series launch since the family entered service in 1985, and the 13 failure.

Sea Launch had conducted four successful missions since emerging from its 2009 bankruptcy. 

z3sl36b.jpg (8947 bytes)Sea Launch Returns

Sea Launch returned to the orbital launch scene on May 26, 2014 for the first time since a February 2013 launch failure. The company's Ukrainian built two-stage Zenit 3SL rocket, topped by a Russian-built Blok DMSL third stage, boosted Eutelsat 3B into geosynchronous transfer orbit after lifting off from Odyssey Launch Platform floating on the Pacific Ocean near the equator at 154 deg. West Longitude.

Zenit 3SL/DMSL lifted off at 21:10 UTC on 740 tonnes of liftoff thrust from its four-chamber RD-171M Russian engine. The first two stages fired in sequence during the first 8.5 minutes of the mission. Blok DMSL then performed two burns separated by a 30 minute long coast to insert the 5.967 tonne satellite into a 385 x 35,686 km x 0 deg transfer orbit. The first burn lasted 4 minutes 40 seconds. The second burn was 6 minutes 57 seconds long.

Airbus Defence and Space built Eutelsat 3B, which was based on the Eurostar 3000 platform. The satellite was equipped with up to 51 C, Ku, and Ka band transponders. it will serve Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia and South America.

No more Sea Launch missions are currently planned until 2016. Following its bankruptcy reorganization, Sea Launch became 95% Russian-owned.  Its next payloads are Russian built satellites for Russian users. Accordingly, Russia has been contemplating moving Sea Launch operations from Long Beach, California to an eastern Russian port.


Sea Launch Scales Back

On August 22, 2014, Sea Launch announced that it would lay off employees at both its Nyon, Switzerland headquarters and at its Energia Logistics’ Long Beach, California Home Port due to a multi-year gap in manifested launches.  The company said that it would also take its Launch Commander and Odyssey vessels out of service to save money.  Sea Launch said that it would "retain key personnel across all corporate and technical functions" to allow the company to restart itself after one or two years.

By mid 2015, Sea Launch was attempting to sell its assets, signaling that the venture would not fly again.  Launch Commander and Odyssey remained docked in Long Beach at year's end. 


Vehicle Configurations

(metric tons)
200 km x
51.6 deg
(200 km x
1477 m/s
from GEO*
Configuration LIftoff
(metric tons)
Zenit 2 13.74 t
(11.38 t)
      2 Stage Zenit
57.4 460 t
Zenit 2SLB (Zenit 2M) 13.92 t
(10.61 t)
      2 Stage Zenit 2M
57.4 450-460 t
Zenit 3SL   6.066 t   4.0 t 2 Stage Zenit 2M
+ Blok DMSL
59.6 m 463 t
Zenit 3SLB (Zenit 3M) 5.0 t
(5.0 t)
3.6 t   3.78 t 2 Stage Zenit 2M
+ Blok DM-SLB
58.65 m 462-466 t
Zenit 3SLBF (Zenit 3F)   >3.3 t (est)
4.2 t (est)
>1.74 t
2.3 t (est)
  2 Stage Zenit 2M
+ Fregat SB
57.4 m (est) 460 t (est)

* GEO: Geosynchronous Earth Orbit

Vehicle Components

  Zenit 2
1st Stage
Zenit 2
2nd Stage
Zenit 2M
1st Stage
Zenit 2M
2nd Stage
3rd Stage
3rd Stage
Fregat SB
3rd Stage
Diameter (m) 3.9 m 3.9 m 3.9 m 3.9 m 3.7 m 3.7 m 3.875 m 4.15 m 3.9 m 4.1 m
Length (m) 32.9 m 10.4 m 32.9 m 10.4 m 4.5 m 4.5 m 2.4 m 11.39 m 13.6 m 10.4 m
Empty Mass (tonnes) 29 t 8.9 t 27.564 t 8.367 t (LL)
8.307 t (SL)
2.44 t *** 1.80 t *** 1.05 t (core)
0.36 t (drop tank)
Propellant Mass (tonnes) 320 t 80.6 t 326.78 t 82.487 t 15.85 t 14.58 t 7.1 t max      
Total Mass (tonnes) 349 t 89.5 t 354.35 t 90.854 t (LL)
90.794 t (SL)
18.29 t 16.38 t 8.51 t max      
Engine RD-171 RD-0120
+ RD-8
RD-171M RD-0120
+ RD-8
11D58M 11D58M S5.92      
Engine Mfgr Glushko Glushko Glushko Glushko Energia Energia Isayev Boeing PO
Fuel Kerosene Kerosene Kerosene Kerosene Kerosene Kerosene UDMH      
Oxidizer LOX LOX LOX LOX LOX LOX N2O4      
(SL tons)
740 t   740 t              
(Vac tons)
806.4 t 87 t
+ 8.1 t**
806.4 t 93 t
+ 8.1 t**
8.1 t 8.1 t 2 t/1.4 t      
ISP (SL sec) 311 s   309.5 s              
ISP (Vac sec) 337 s 349 s 337.2 s 350 s 361 s 361 s 333.2 s      
Burn Time (sec) 143 s* 249 s
+ 75 s**
143 s 278 s
+ 75 s**
695 s 695 s >1,720 s      
No. Engines 1
(4 chamber)
+ 1
+ 1 (4 chamber)
1 1 1      

* Throttles to 50% at 114 sec
** RD-8 vernier (steerable 4-chamber) burn begins at second stage RD-0120 main engine (fixed 1-chamber) start and continues 75 seconds after RD-0120 shutdown.
*** Does not include 1.42 tonne lower and middle adapter masses.  Adapters jettisonned prior to first Blok DMSL(B) burn.

Zenit Launch History

DATE     VEHICLE           ID      PAYLOAD                 MASS(t) SITE*     ORBIT*
04/13/85 Zenit-2           1L      Dummy                    3.25   TB 45/1   [FTO][1]  
06/21/85 Zenit-2           2L      Dummy                    3.25   TB 45/1   [FTO][2] 
10/22/85 Zenit-2                   Dummy                    3.25   TB 45/1    LEO [2a]
12/28/85 Zenit-2           5L      Tselina-2 3              3.25   TB 45/1   [EEO][3]
07/30/86 Zenit-2                   Dummy                    3.25   TB 45/1    LEO 
10/22/86 Zenit-2                   Taifun-1 9/Dummy         3.25   TB 45/1    LEO
02/14/87 Zenit-2                   Dummy                    3.25   TB 45/1    LEO 
03/18/87 Zenit-2                   Dummy                    3.25   TB 45/1    LEO 
05/13/87 Zenit-2                   Tselina-2 4              3.25   TB 45/1    LEO 
08/01/87 Zenit-2           11L     Dummy                    3.25   TB 45/1    LEO 
08/28/87 Zenit-2           10L     Dummy                    3.25   TB 45/1    LEO
05/15/88 Zenit-2                   Tselina-2 5              3.25   TB 45/1    LEO 
11/23/88 Zenit-2                   Tselina-2 6              3.25   TB 45/1    LEO
05/22/90 Zenit-2                   Tselina-2 7              3.25   TB 45/2    LEO 
10/04/90 Zenit-2           15L     Tselina-2 8              3.25   TB 45/2   [FTO][4]
08/30/91 Zenit-2           16L     Tselina-2 9              3.25   TB 45/1   [FTO][5]
02/05/92 Zenit-2                   Tselina-2 10             3.25   TB 45/1   [FTO][6]  
11/17/92 Zenit-2                   Tselina-2 11             3.25   TB 45/1    LEO 
12/25/92 Zenit-2                   Tselina-2 12             3.25   TB 45/1    LEO 

03/26/93 Zenit-2                   Tselina-2 13             3.25   TB 45/1    LEO 
09/16/93 Zenit-2                   Tselina-2 14             3.25   TB 45/1    LEO
04/23/94 Zenit-2                   Tselina-2 15             3.25   TB 45/1    LEO 
08/26/94 Zenit-2                   Orlets-2 1              10.50   TB 45/1    LEO 
11/04/94 Zenit-2                   Resurs-O1 3 & Safir-R    1.955  TB 45/1    LEO/S   
11/24/94 Zenit-2                   Tselina-2 16             3.25   TB 45/1    LEO

10/31/95 Zenit-2                   Tselina-2 17             3.25   TB 45/1    LEO
09/04/97 Zenit-2                   Tselina-2 18             3.25   TB 45/1    LEO 
05/20/97 Zenit-2                   Tselina-2 19             3.25   TB 45/1   [FTO][7]  

07/10/98 Zenit-2                   Resurs-1 2/microsats     2.00   TB 45L     LEO/S       
07/28/98 Zenit-2                   Tselina-2 20             3.25   TB 45L     LEO     
09/09/98 Zenit-2           22L     Globalstar 12 sats       5.40   TB 45L    [FTO][8]

03/28/99 Zenit-3SL/DMSL    SL1     DemoSat [HS-702 sim]     4.50   PO OLP     GTO 
07/17/99 Zenit-2           17L     Okean-O 1                6.15   TB 45/1    LEO/S 
10/10/99 Zenit-3SL/DMSL    SL2     Direct TV 1-R            3.446  PO OLP     GTO+  

02/03/00 Zenit 2           1-94    Tselina-2 21             3.25   TB 45      LEO
03/12/00 Zenit 3SL/DMSL    SL3     ICO F1                   2.75   PO OLP    [FTO][9]
07/28/00 Zenit 3SL/DMSL    SL4     PanAmSat 9               3.659  PO OLP     GTO
09/25/00 Zenit 2                   Orlets-2 2              10.50   TB 45      LEO
10/21/00 Zenit 3SL/DMSL    SL5     Thuraya 1                5.108  PO OLP     GTO

03/18/01 Zenit 3SL/DMSL    SL6     XM-2 "Rock"              4.682  PO OLP     GTO
05/08/01 Zenit 3SL/DMSL    SL7     XM-1 "Roll"              4.682  PO OLP     GTO
12/10/01 Zenit 2           19L     Meteor 3M-N1/microsats   2.68   TB LC45    LEO/S

06/15/02 Zenit 3SL/DMSL    SL8     Galaxy 3C                4.81   PO OLP     GTO+

06/10/03 Zenit 3SL/DMSL    SL16    Thuraya 2                5.177  PO OLP     GTO
08/08/03 Zenit 3SL         SL10    Echostar 9               4.737  PO OLP     GTO
10/01/03 Zenit 3SL/DMSL    SL13    Galxy13/Horzns 1         4.090  PO OLP     GTO

01/11/04 Zenit 3SL/DMSL    SL12    Estrela Do Sul 1         4.8    PO OLP     GTO
05/04/04 Zenit 3SL/DMSL    SL14    DirectTV-7S              5.5    PO OLP     GTO
06/10/04 Zenit 2           1-95    Tselina-2 22             3.25   TB 45/1    LEO
06/29/04 Zenit 3SL/DMSL    SL11    Apstar 5                 4.6    PO OLP    [EEO][10]

03/01/05 Zenit 3SL/DMSL    SL17    XM-3                     5.5    PO OLP     GTO
04/26/05 Zenit 3SL/DMSL    SL18    Spaceway 1               6.1    PO OLP     GTO [11]
06/23/05 Zenit 3SL/DMSL    SL4     Intelsat Americas 8      5.5    PO OLP     GTO
11/08/05 Zenit 3SL/DMSL    SL19    Inmarsat-4F2             6.0    PO OLP     GTO

02/15/06 Zenit 3SL/DMSL    SL15    Echostar X               4.33   PO OLP     GTO
04/12/06 Zenit 3SL/DMSL    SL21    JCSAT 9                  4.4    PO OLP     GTO
06/18/06 Zenit 3SL/DMSL    SL20    Galaxy 16                4.64   PO OLP     GTO
08/22/06 Zenit 3SL/DMSL    SL23    Koreasat 5               4.47   PO OLP     GTO
10/30/06 Zenit 3SL/DMSL    SL22    XM-4                     5.193  PO OLP     GTO

01/30/07 Zenit 3SL/DMSL    SL24    NSS-8                    5.92   PO OLP    [FTO][12]
06/29/07 Zenit 2M          1-05    Tselina 2  23            3.25   TB 45/1    LEO

01/15/08 Zenit 3SL/DMSL    SL25    Thuraya 3                5.17   PO OLP     GTO
03/19/08 Zenit 3SL/DMSL    SL26    DirecTV 11               5.92   PO OLP     GTO
04/28/08 Zenit 3SLB/DMSLB  1L      Amos 3                   1.25   TB 45/1   [GEO-][13]   
05/21/08 Zenit 3SL/DMSL    SL27    Galaxy 18                4.642  PO OLP     GTO
07/16/08 Zenit 3SL/DMSL    SL28    EchoStar 11              5.511  PO OLP     GTO
09/24/08 Zenit 3SL/DMSL    SL29    Galaxy 19                4.69   PO OLP     GTO+

02/26/09 Zenit 3SLB/DMSLB  2L      Telstar 11N              4.012  TB 45/1    GTO+
04/20/09 Zenit 3SL/DMSL    SL30    Sircal 1B                3.08   PO OLP     GTO+
06/21/09 Zenit 3SLB/DMSLB  3L      Measat 3a                2.37   TB 45/1    GTO+
11/30/09 Zenit 3SLB/DMSLB  4L      Intelsat 15              2.484  TB 45/1    GTO+

01/20/11 Zenit 3F/FregatSB 1-07/1  Electro-L                1.74   TB 45/1    GEO
07/18/11 Zenit 3F/FregatSB Z2F02   Spektr-R                 3.66   TB 45/1    EEO
09/24/11 Zenit 3SL/DM-SL   SL39?   Atlantic Bird 7          4.60   PO OLP     GTO+
10/05/11 Zenit 3SLB/DMSLB  5L      Intelsat 18              3.2    TB 45/1    GTO+
11/08/11 Zenit 2SB                 Phobos-Grunt             13.15  TB 45/1    LEO [14]

06/01/12 Zenit 3SL/DMSL    SL45    Intelsat 19              5.6    PO OLP     GTO
08/19/12 Zenit 3SL/DMSL    SL49    Intelsat 21              5.982  PO OLP     GTO
12/03/12 Zenit 3SL/DMSL    SL50    Eutelsat 70B             5.25   PO OLP     GTO

02/01/13 Zenit 3SL/DMSL    SL48    Intelsat 27              6.215  PO OLP    [FTO][15]
08/31/13 Zenit 3SLB/DMSLB  6L      Amos 4                   3.5    TB 45/1    GTO

05/26/14 Zenit 3SL/DMSL            Eutelsat 3B              5.967  PO OLP     GTO

12/11/15 Zenit 3F/FregatSB Z2F03   Electro-L2               1.855  TB 45/1    GEO

12/26/17 Zenit 3F/FregatSB SLB80.5 Angosat 1                1.647  TB 45/1    GEO


[1]  First Zenit-2 rocket suffered second stage propellant utilization controller 
      failure.  Propellant depleted early at T+400 seconds.  Failed to orbit.  
      Carried Tselina-2 mass simulator.

[2]  Zenit-2 second stage shot down prematurely, again due to propellant control 
      problems.  Failed to orbit mass simulator, though some fragments reached orbit.

[2a] First Zenit-2 success.  Tselina-2 orbit requires plane change to 71 deg from 
      63 deg, which limits payload mass.   

[3]  Second stage failure left Tselina-2 in 161 x 826 km x 71 deg orbit.  Planned 
       800 km circular orbit.

[4]  First stage engine failure T+4 seconds.  Destroyed Area 45 Pad 2.

[5]  Second stage failure.

[6]  Second stage failure.

[7]  Exploded T+48 seconds.

[8] First Zenit commercial launch, failed to orbit - guidance failure at T+272s during 
     second stage flight before fairing separation.  planned 1410 km  1410 km, 52 deg 

[9] Zenit 2nd stg control loss T+7 min due to an improper ground connector disconnect.  
      Panned MEO 10390 km  10390 km x 45 deg.  

[10] Second burn of third stage cut off 54 seconds early due to an electrical failure.  
      Left short of planned transfer orbit.  

[11] Heaviest Commercial Satellite.  First successful 2-burn DMSL profile.

[12] RD-171 engine failed at liftoff due to turbopump ingesting foreign object.
       Explosion enveloped and damaged LP Odyssey.  Planned GTO.

[13] Amos-3 in 34,225 x 39,368 km x 0.72 deg orbit, expected 35,786 x 39,092 km x 0 deg.
       Shortfall of roughly 75 m/s reportedly cost Amos-3 2-3 years of 18 year design 
       life. Problem caused by "programming error".

[14] Phobos-Grunt Fregat-based propulsion system did not fire, stranding PL in LEO.

[15] RD-171M engine emergency cut off at 23 seconds.  Veered off course prior to 
      cut off.  Cause was failure of hydraulic pump for thrust vectoring of engine 

List does not include 1/8/2001 Zenit-3SL launch abort just before planned liftoff.  Abort 
call occurred after propellant flow "irreversible operation" into RD-171 engine but before 
engine ignition.  Ships had to return to San Diego for first stage replacement.  Stage 
involved was later refurbished. 


 [FTO]:  Failed to Orbit
 [EEO]:  Unintended Eliptical Earth Orbit
 [GTO]:  Unintended Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit
 [LEO]:  Unintended Low Earth Orbit

TB:  (Tyuratam) Baikonur
PO:  Pacific Ocean
OLP:  Odyssey Launch Platform


Sea Launch Payload Planners Guide, Rev. C, Sea Launch, Jan 2003
Land Launch Payload Planners Guide, July 2004

 Last Update:  December 27, 2017