Launch Platform Looms Over Honolulu Harbor

Sea Launch Odyssey

If you’ve been anywhere near downtown Honolulu over the past couple of days, you probably couldn’t help but stop and gawk at the massive Sea Launch Odyssey platform docked at Pier 10 near Aloha Tower.

It’s an imposing sight. It stood out even when viewed from my office in Iwilei, and for drivers passing on Nimitz Highway, it’s practically a traffic hazard. Every time I’ve passed, a handful of people are wandering the waterfront, taking pictures.

The Odyssey towers over 200 feet above the waterline (and extends another 100 feet below), and measures about 430 feet long and 220 feet wide. It was built in Japan in 1982 as an ocean drilling rig, but since a major conversion in 1997, it now serves as a mobile — but very stable — platform from which spacecraft can be launched in the open ocean.

The Odyssey is in Honolulu after the successful launch of the Atlantic Bird 7 broadcast satellite for Eutelsat. It was only the second mission for the largely Russian-owned Sea Launch company after it emerged from bankruptcy late last year.

I just posted some photos of the Odyssey on Flickr… where I had also posted photos of the platform when it stopped here for refueling back in 2007.

6 Responses

  1. Donna says:

    I just saw that today and was probably one of those traffic hazards you mention. ;) It’s hard not to gawk at that behemoth!

  2. Embla says:

    Thanks for posting about this! I finally got to see it this afternoon. It’s massive! I was wondering what it was since you posted your instagram picture, and it’s cooler than I could have imagined.. launching spacecraft, wow.. :)

  3. Stephen McMahon says:

    Wow! I used to be awed by some of the cruise ships docked at the same spot, but that thing is HUGE.

  4. Bert says:

    Unbelievable this thing is almost like a city.
    Nice article thanks.

    Kind regards

  5. That is a beautiful shot! Is it gone already?

  6. David says:

    Thanks for that shot. My wife was telling me about this and how it looked so cool – got to see it now :) The big golf ball is cool, but I think this one is a little more interesting. Launching spacecraft from sea – how cool.

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