Boeing Sues Yuzhnoye, Energia Over Sea Launch Reimbursements

Boeing Co. sued Ukraine’s Yuzhnoye SDO and Russia’s S.P. Korolev Rocket and Space Corp. Energia, alleging they owe $350 million in reimbursements for Boeing’s investments in their failed Sea Launch Co. joint venture.

The two companies breached a contractual commitment to pay, if Sea Launch failed, their fair share of the funding Boeing Commercial Space Co. provided to create and operate the venture they set up in 1995 to launch commercial satellites from an ocean-based platform, according to a complaint filed Feb. 1 in federal court in Los Angeles.

“Yuzhnoye and Energia owe Boeing and BCSC more than $350 million, with interest continuing to accrue daily,” Chicago-based Boeing said. “Instead of paying claims to which they have no defense on the merits, Yuzhnoye and Energia have decided to stall and evade, forcing plaintiffs to chase them around the world to secure payment of debts clearly owed.”

Sea Launch filed for Chapter 11 reorganization in June 2009 to stop attempts by Hughes Network Systems LLC to collect a $52 million arbitration award made in connection with a canceled contract following a failed launching in 2007.

In 2010, Energia Overseas Ltd, a unit of Moscow-based Energia, acquired a 95 percent stake in the reorganized company, Sea Launch AG, which is now based in Bern, Switzerland. Boeing and Norway’s Aker ASA own the remaining 5 percent, according to the Sea Launch website.

Command Ship

Sea Launch uses a launch platform and command ship based in Long Beach, California, that travel across the Pacific Ocean to the equator from where commercial communications satellites are launched into space.

Peter Stier, a spokesman for Sea Launch in Long Beach, didn’t immediately return a call for comment on the lawsuit. Representatives of Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine-based Yuzhnoye didn’t immediately respond to an e-mailed request for comment on the allegations.

The case is Boeing v. Yuzhnoye, 13-00730, U.S. District Court, Central District of California (Los Angeles.)