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MOSCOW, November 21 (Itar-Tass) — Russia’s Aerospace Defence Forces (ADF) will move the Briz-M upper stage off the target orbit of the EchoStar 16 satellite in order to secure the spacecraft’s safe flight, ADF spokesman Colonel Alexei Zolotukhin told Itar-Tass on Wednesday.
“After the separation of the spacecraft specialists of the Aerospace Defence Forces have started operations for moving the Briz-M upper stage off the target orbit of EchoStar 16,” he said.
Alexei Zolotukhin said that the Aerospace Defence Forces have in general ensured control of the launch of the Proton-M heavy carrier rocket with the EchoStar 16 spacecraft using the ground-based automated control equipment.
“At 22:35 MSK, Tuesday, the equipment of the Titov Main Test and Space Systems Control Centre started the tracking of the Proton-M carrier rocket,” he specified. After the successful separation of EchoStar 16 from the Briz-M upper stage the satellite control was transferred to the customer.
A spokesman for the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roskosmos) said for his part that the launch of the Proton-M carrier rocket and placement of the spacecraft into the target orbit passed in the normal mode.
The Proton-M rocket with the Briz-M upper stage and the American telecommunication satellite EchoStar 16 was launched on Tuesday evening from the 81st launch pad of the Baikonur Cosmodrome at 22:31 MSK. Nine minutes after liftoff, at 22:40 MSK, the upper stage separated from the carrier rocket and continued the US satellite’s placing into the target orbit in accordance with the flight sequence.
The EchoStar 16 spacecraft is a US telecommunications satellite of the EchoStar company. It was designed by Space Systems/Loral and is based around the LS-1300 satellite bus. It is equipped with 32 J band (IEEE Ku band) transponders. At launch it had a mass of about 6.5 tonnes. It has a common configuration with EchoStar 11 and EchoStar 15. The satellite is expected to be operational in orbit for 15 years. It is positioned in geostationary orbit, and will be located at a longitude of 61.5° West, from where it is intended to provide direct broadcasting of high-definition television services to the United States for Dish Network.
The launch of the previous communications satellite on the order of EchoStar (EchoStar 15) was carried out on July 10, 2011 with the Proton-M carrier rocket and the Briz-M upper stage from the Baikonur Cosmodrome. The next day – on July 11, the upper stage placed the satellite into orbit.