Today I learned about Sea Launch, essentially a launch pad floating on the sea. (Pretty crazy, right?)

What's cool about that is that you can launch from the equator without the tricky part about your country being on the equator.

So, say, hypothetically, SpaceX* made their own floating launch pad on the equator. Obviously it would be costly to make, costly to transport the rocket there, and there's possible pain in the neck with ITAR requirements, etc…

But what's the upside? How much extra performance could you squeeze this way vs launching from Cape Canaveral (or even more southern Boca Chica)? Say you want to launch to a geostationary orbit, how much more payload could you carry?

* - Or anyone else for that matter

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    $\begingroup$ Actually, space.stackexchange.com/questions/8486/… is a better dupe. $\endgroup$ Jan 5, 2016 at 21:15
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks @RussellBorogove! Yeah, this might be a dupe, but neither post seems to put a concrete kg number on the difference — what do you think? $\endgroup$
    – radex
    Jan 5, 2016 at 21:52
  • $\begingroup$ I did a little math and came up with a difference of 3 additional payload tons to equatorial LEO (assuming equatorial launch yields +240m/s horizontal speed over Canaveral) but that seems really high, so I feel like I must be doing something wrong. $\endgroup$ Jan 6, 2016 at 2:55