17:07 GMT23 April 2021
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    Russia's S.P. Korolev Rocket and Space Corporation (RSC) Energia and the US aircraft manufacturing company Boeing are preparing an agreement on building lunar infrastructure and exploring deep space after settling the Sea Launch project dispute, Energia's General Director Vladimir Solntsev said Thursday.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — In 2015, a US court awarded Boeing a multimillion compensation from its former Sea Launch partners, including Energia, following a voluntary bankruptcy procedure when Boeing fully repaid debts to project lenders. Energia and its Ukrainian counterpart Yuzhnoe claimed that Boeing had given unwritten assurances to its Sea Launch partners that it would not seek reimbursements. A preliminary dispute settlement deal was reached in August.

    "We are preparing a document which, apart from finalizing the court case, also creates a program for long-term cooperation on a wide range of issues. We are working on projects to cooperate in low earth orbit, create moon infrastructure and explore deep space," Solntsev told the Russian Izvestia newspaper.

    The two companies now plan to create nodes and units capable of synchronizing space technologies, including a docking station for a proposed lunar orbiting station. Meanwhile, Sea Launch settlement documents are set to be signed before the end of November, according to Solntsev.

    "We plan to sign the documents by the end of November. We will determine the costs, the needed work and the deadlines in which we will settle Sea Launch with Boeing," he said.

    Sea Launch was formed in 1995 as a consortium of four companies from Norway, Russia, Ukraine and the United States, and was managed by US aerospace giant Boeing. The project aimed to use a floating launch site to place rockets on the equator, which is the best possible location for launch giving the rocket additional speed using centripetal force caused by Earth's rotation. The project faced financial difficulties due to low demand.

    Sea Launch resumed operations in 2011 after a 30-month hiatus that saw passage through US Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The company is now 95-percent owned by Energia Overseas Limited, a subsidiary of Energia.


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