ILS launch DirecTV 10 satellite via improved Proton M

by Chris Bergin

An International Launch Services (ILS) Proton-M with Briz-M upper stage has launched with the DirecTV 10 telecommunications satellite. Launch occurred at 9:16pm Eastern from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan.

Over nine hours of flight – including five burns of the Breeze M upper stage – was required, ahead of a successful spacecraft separation into a Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO). A free launch video is available on the link below (read more).


**FREE PROTON-M/DirecTV 10 Launch video plus bonus ‘improved’ Proton overview video**Free to all forum members (registration is free – we do not use your e-mail for spam, only to send you your forum password – which is automated)..


‘We’re proud of the excellent performance of our Enhanced Proton Breeze M and its demonstrated ability to lift such a massive payload as the DIRECTV 10 satellite,’ said ILS President Frank McKenna. ‘At around 6 metric tons, this Boeing 702 model was the heaviest spacecraft launch for Proton.
‘Not only are we proud of the vehicle’s performance, we’re also proud of our schedule performance. We met our commitment to launch the satellite in order to support DIRECTV’s goal of delivering up to 100 national HDTV channels by the end of the year.’

‘With the successful launch of our DIRECTV 10 satellite, we are, to borrow a phrase, boldly going where no TV service has gone before – a new world of up to 100 HD channels and a viewing experience unmatched in the multichannel video marketplace,’ added Derek Chang, executive vice president, Content Development and Strategy, DIRECTV, Inc.

‘We congratulate the Boeing and ILS teams on a flawless launch as we begin the next countdown to September when the first of our new HD channels will be available to our customers.’

Mission background:

The DirecTV 10 mission will be the debut of the Enhanced Proton Breeze M, which is capable of launching spacecraft over 6,000 kg into Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO).
This new Proton configuration offers missions designs with improved performance of 6.3 tons inserted into GTO with a (delta-v) velocity of 1500 m/s to GSO. Improvements include: ‘Increase efficiency (112 percent) of the propulsion system to provide extra payload capacity – on the first stage. Reduction of tanks mass by using thinner tank skins and bottoms but based on the same aluminum alloys,’ noted ILS.

The Second Stage changes include: ‘Composite structure (carboepoxy isogrid) replaces metal in equipment bay stringerandring frame. Composite structure (carboepoxy isogrid) replaces metal in aft bay stringer-and-ring frame. Reduction of tanks mass by optimizing the weight of structural elements: aft ends, skins and rings using the same aluminum alloys,’ along with a reduction in the third stage mass.

The Breeze M upper stage has a ‘new configuration of the avionics bay due to the use of two new high-pressure tanks (80 liters) to replace six smaller tanks, and the relocation of command instruments towards the center to mitigate shock loads when the additional propellant tank is being jettisoned.’

DirecTV-10 is a commercial civil multipurpose communications satellite. The satellite, built on Boeing 702 bus, is designed to provide DIRECTV Inc. customers unprecedented local and national High Definition Television (HDTV) throughout continental United States, Alaska and Hawaii, with the ability to beam HDTV programming to 500 local markets from the company’s primary orbital slot at 101 degrees west longitude.

The satellite is the heaviest ever and most powerful DIRECTV spacecraft – and will become the 10th satellite in DirecTV geostationary orbital constellation.

** Job Opportunities** 

Related Articles