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Proton-M with telecoms satellite to be launched from Baikonur

September 29, 2011, 11:57 UTC+3

Previously, the Proton rocket launched into space 18 satellites on SES’ order

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MOSCOW, September 29 (Itar-Tass) — The launch of the Proton-M space rocket with the QuetzSat-1 telecommunications satellite is planned on Thursday from the Baikonur cosmodrome, the press service of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roskosmos) told Itar-Tass. “The Briz-M upper stage will be used,” the press service said.

On Wednesday, the technical leadership held a meeting at the cosmodrome on the results of tests of the space rocket systems and simulation of the filling of the launch vehicle. At a pad of the launching site 200 specialists of Space Agency enterprises during the preparations for the launch made thermal conditioning of the head of the launch vehicle, charged onboard batteries of the spacecraft. They also attached storage and drainage fittings to the carrier rocket’s fill port.

On September 30, the Proton-M rocket is to take into a geostationary orbit another satellite of one of the world’s leading providers of telecommunications services – SES S. A., the Russian-American company International Launch Services (ILS) the majority stake in which is owned by the Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Centre, reported.

Previously, the Proton rocket launched into space 18 satellites on SES’ order. The orbital cluster of the corporation that is registered in Luxembourg has now reached 45 spacecraft.

According to a SES press release, QuetzSat-1, part of the 45+ satellite fleet of SES, will be located at the 77 degree west orbital location at which the Mexican Government has granted the DTH frequency rights to QuetzSat S. de R.L. de C.V., a Mexican-controlled company comprised of SES and Mexican investors. The spacecraft will provide coverage over Mexico, North America and Central America. The spacecraft is fully contracted to EchoStar Corporation and will be used in part by Dish Mexico, an EchoStar joint venture, for DTH services in Mexico and to a subsidiary of DISH Network for use in connection with its U.S. DTH business. Satellite Statistics: 32 Ku-band transponders; Orbital location: 77 degrees west; Anticipated service life: 15 years.

The Proton M launch vehicle, utilizing a 5-burn Briz M mission design, will lift off from Pad 39 at Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, with the QuetzSat-1 satellite on board. The first three stages of the Proton will use a standard ascent profile to place the orbital unit (Briz M upper stage and the QuetzSat-1 satellite) into a sub-orbital trajectory. From this point in the mission, the Breeze M will perform planned mission manoeuvres to advance the orbital unit first to a circular parking orbit, then to an intermediate orbit, followed by a transfer orbit, and finally to a geosynchronous transfer orbit. Separation of the QuetzSat-1 satellite is scheduled to occur approximately 9 hours, 13 minutes after lift-off.

The new satellite with a weight of 5.5 tonnes was created by the California-based firm Space Systems. It is designed for digital television broadcasts for Mexico, North America and Central America. The estimated time of service is 15 years.

In the period from 18 to 30 August, a ban of the launch of the Proton-M rockets with the Briz-M upper stages was in effect. It was introduced because of the need to analyse the causes of the Express-AM4 satellite’s aborted ascent on August 18.

Earlier, the Russian Federal Space Agency planned to carry out five launches of these carrier rockets before November 1.

ILS is based in Reston (Virginia) and promotes on the international market the Proton launch vehicle and Briz-M upper stage developed by the Khrunichev Centre. The joint venture was established in 1995 by Lockheed Martin, Khrunichev and RKK Energia Rocket-Space Corporation. In 2006, Lockheed Martin withdrew from the partnership by selling a majority stake to a German businessman. In May 2008, Khrunichev bought the stake. Since 1996, ILS has carried out 66 launches of the Proton rocket.

Proton (formal designation: UR-500) is an expendable launch system used for both commercial and Russian government space launches. The first Proton rocket was launched in 1965 and the launch system is still in use as of 2011, which makes it one of the most successful heavy boosters in the history of space flight. All Protons are built at the Khrunichev plant in Moscow, and then transported for launch to the Baikonur Cosmodrome, where they are brought to the launch pad horizontally and then raised into vertical position for launch.

Like many Soviet boosters, the names of recurring payloads became associated with their launchers. Thusly, the moniker “Proton” originates from a series of large scientific Proton satellites, which were among the rocket's first payloads. It is also known as the D-1/D-1e or SL-12/SL-13.

Launch capacity to low Earth orbit is about 22 tonnes (49,000 lb). Geostationary transfer capacity is about 5–6 tonnes (11,000–13,000 lb). Commercial launches are marketed by International Launch Services (ILS). In a typical launch of a commercial communications satellite destined for geostationary orbit, a Proton M/Breeze M can place a spacecraft with mass at separation of 9,127 pounds (4,140 kg) into an orbit with an apogee of 35,786 kilometres (22,236 mi), a perigee of 6,257 kilometres (3,888 mi) and an inclination of 19.7 degrees.

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