MOSCOW, December 13. /TASS/. A Proton-M carrier rocket with the Ekspress-AMU3 and Ekspress-AMU7 telecoms satellites blasted off from the Baikonur spaceport, Russia’s state space corporation Roscosmos announced in a live broadcast on its website on Monday.
The Proton-M rocket with the two telecoms satellites lifted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome at 15:07 Moscow time. In about nine minutes after the lift-off, the rocket’s head unit comprising the Briz-M booster and the two communications satellites separated from the carrier’s upper stage. The Ekspress-AMU-7 will separate from the booster in 17 hours and 50 minutes and the Ekspress-AMU3 in 18 hours and 7 minutes.
The satellites will be finally orbited with the help of two SPD-100V thrusters and one SPD-14OD engine.
It will take no more than 56 days to finally orbit the Ekspress-AMU7 satellite and no more than 59 days to put the Ekspress-AMU3 into final orbit.
Roscosmos Chief Dmitry Rogozin announced in December last year that the launch of these satellites had been rescheduled for the end of 2021. Roscosmos announced its plans in mid-November to launch the satellites on December 6.
Roscosmos Chief Rogozin later told TASS that the launch of the Ekspress-AMU3 and Ekspress-AMU7 telecoms satellites atop the Proton-M carrier rocket had been rescheduled from December 6 for December 12 over the need to carry out some work on the Briz-M acceleration unit. Roscosmos subsequently specified that specialists of the Khrunichev Space Center had eliminated a fault found on the Briz-M booster. However, Roscosmos announced on December 9 that the lift-off was postponed to the back-up date over a problem with the Briz-M booster and the carrier rocket was delivered back to the assembly and measuring facility.
The fault was subsequently eliminated and the state commission at the Baikonur spaceport made a decision on December 11 on delivering the Proton-M heavy carrier rocket to the launch pad to prepare it for launch on December 13.
Ekspress telecoms satellites
The Ekspress-AMU-3 and Ekspress-AMU7 telecoms satellites are designed to provide fixed-line and mobile communications, digital television and radio broadcasting, high-speed access to the Internet and transmit data in the C-, Ku- and L-bands on the territory of Russia and CIS countries.
The satellites have been launched to provide communications for the state-run Russian Satellite Communications Company. Roscosmos plans to place the Ekspress-AMU3 satellite into the orbital point of 96.5 degrees of east longitude and the Ekspres-AMU7 into the position of 145 degrees of east longitude.