Zenit 3 SL
Launch vehicle Zenit 3-SL/Block DM-SL
Launch site International Waters, Pacific Ocean
Date/Time 2013-02-01 06:55
Description First stage thrust vector control failure
Payload Intelsat 27
Desired orbit Geostationary transfer orbit


Following the unsuccessful launch of the SL-48 mission, Sea Launch and Energia Logistics Ltd. (ELUS) formed a Failure Review Oversight Board (FROB) to review the contractor findings and agree on root cause and appropriate corrective actions to prevent recurrence.

On 25 April 2013, the FROB completed its review of investigations into the failed launch attempt. The investigations into the cause of the failure covered the entire Sea Launch complex to ensure all contributors to the failure were properly identified.

The investigations isolated the failure to the Zenit-3SL first stage hydraulic power supply unit (BIM) used to pressurise the RD-171M main engine gimbal actuators. No additional contributors to the failure were found. The BIM failed approximately 3.9 seconds into the flight due to the abnormal performance of the pump that's function is to pressurise the hydraulic oil supplied to the RD-171M main engine gimbal actuators. The pump failure was the result of contributing factors associated with a pump manufacturing process that proved difficult to control.

The FROB confirms that the investigation has properly identified the cause of the failure and that the identified corrective actions will eliminate the possibility of recurrence going forward.

See also:

Launch Failures Chronology