Proton/Breeze M successful return

by Chris Bergin

International Launch Services have launched their Proton and Breeze M upper stage launch vehicle, carrying the Hot Bird 8 communications satellite.

Following a nine hour flight, the Breeze M upper stage successfully injected the spacecraft into its new geostationary home around the planet. A free video of the launch can be seen on the link below.


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The Proton/Breeze M launch vehicle successfully injected the satellite into geosynchronous transfer orbit, using a five-burn Breeze M mission design. This was the first launch from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan since the failure of the RS-20V Voevode (SS-18 Satan) Dnepr, which crashed shortly after lift-off.

‘We appreciate the continued confidence Eutelsat has shown Proton,’ said ILS President Mark Albrecht. He noted that the launch campaign proceeded smoothly, on schedule, after the spacecraft arrived at the Baikonur launch site July 6.
‘Today’s successful launch was made possible through the exceptional levels of commitment by ILS and Khrunichev to the Proton launch vehicle. Our HOT BIRD(TM) 8 broadcast satellite is now well on course to its final destination at our prime video neighborhood at 13 degrees East, and we look forward to bringing it into commercial service in October,’ said Eutelsat CEO Giuliano Berretta.

Albrecht said, ‘ILS is now on track to complete six launches in 2006 – we have seen two each for Proton Breeze M and Atlas V, and have two more planned for Proton. The Russian government plans a total of three Proton launches this year, so with seven missions Proton remains the workhorse of the industry.

‘Additionally, the Atlas V is scheduled to fly with its first U.S. Air Force EELV mission late in the year,’ Albrecht said. ‘This complementary mix of 10 government and commercial missions ensure a good launch tempo that benefits all customers.’


The first three stages of the Proton will use a standard ascent trajectory to place the Breeze M fourth stage, with the satellite, into a suborbital trajectory, from which the Breeze M will place itself and the spacecraft into a circular parking orbit of 173 km (107.5 miles), inclined at 51.5 degrees.

Then the satellite will be propelled to its transfer orbit by additional burns of the Breeze M. Following separation from the Breeze M, the spacecraft will perform a series of liquid apogee engine burns to raise perigee, lower inclination and circularize the orbit at the geostationary altitude of 35,786 km (22,236 miles).

This is ILS’ second Proton mission of the year and fourth launch overall for 2006. ILS suspended missions with the Breeze M upper stage after a February 28 launch failed to place the Arabsat 4A satellite into the correct orbit. ILS is ready to return to flight with its Proton M/Breeze M vehicle now that a Russian State Commission and an independent review panel have concluded their inquiries into that failure.

‘As we start the launch campaign, we acknowledge the confidence of our long-standing customer Eutelsat in the Proton M/Breeze M vehicle,’ said ILS President Mark Albrecht.

‘The Proton M launch vehicle has a 100 percent success rate, and the reliability of the Breeze M upper stage remains one of the highest in the industry.’

Hot Bird 8 will be a Eurostar 3000 series satellite with 64 Ku-band transponders to provide video, radio, and data services from 13 degrees east longitude. The spacecraft was scheduled for launch in early 2006 on an Ariane 5, however that was moved to ILS’ Proton.

Hot Bird 8 will be Eutelsat’s largest spacecraft, with a launch mass of 4,700 kilograms and total end-of-life power of 14 kilowatts.

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