S7 Space called on the project logistics industry to help relocate its Odyssey launch platform, part of the Sea Launch project, from the USA to the port of Slavyanka in Primorsky Krai, Russia.

The self-propelled, semi-submersible mobile spacecraft launch platform, which was converted from a mobile drilling rig in 1997, first had to be moved from Los Angeles Harbor to an outside anchorage near Long Beach.

For this stage of the project, five tugboats from Crowley – Master, Leader, Admiral, Veteran and Scout – were deployed on behalf Barber Moss Ship Management to tow the platform from the harbour.

Once at the anchorage, the 436 ft (133 m) long and 220 ft (67.1 m) wide platform was originally planned to be loaded onto COSCO Shipping’s heavy transport vessel Xin Guang Hua. However, weather conditions and resulting sea swells delayed the operation and Crowley had to come up with an alternative solution.

The platform and the heavy lift vessel were moved back inside the harbour breakwater and, in close coordination with local authorities and the US Coast Guard, Crowley’s operations team formulated a plan for a loading window that would minimise interruptions to other port traffic.

Two days after the initial attempt, the heavy lift vessel was staged inside the breakwater under a Crowley tug escort while the other four Crowley tugs positioned Odyssey onto Xin Guang Hua, for onward transportation to Russia.

In Russia, Fesco Transportation Group provided ship agency services for COSCO Shipping.

Fesco also obtained all the necessary documents and coordinated the unloading of the platform at the port.