Proton fails carrying AMC-14 – Delta II launches from Cape

by Chris Bergin

The 334th launch of a Proton has failed, following lift-off from the PU-39 launch pad of launch complex LC200 at the Baikonur Cosmodrome. The ILS (International Launch Services) mission carrying AMC-14 failed during the second burn of the Breeze M upper stage.

Meanwhile, a Delta II launch vehicle has launched with the Lockheed Martin GPS-IIR-M satellite from Cape Canaveral.

L2 Resources: Proton Launch Vehicle Manual and Payload Planner’s Guide, plus more.

**LIVE EVENT PAGES FOR Proton-M/AMC-14 Launch** – L2 resource, personal camcorder video of the launch.

Proton Failure:

It’s not even been a year since the last Proton-M/Breeze-M failure, when ILS’s JCSAT 11 telecommunications satellite launch failed at first/second stage separation.

The latest failure will be a hammer blow to ILS, who are in stiff competition with a number of launch service providers.

‘Khrunichev and International Launch Services regret to announce an anomaly during today’s Proton mission with the AMC-14 satellite,’ ILS announced several hours after launch.

‘The Proton Breeze M rocket lifted off at 5:18 a.m. today local time from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, carrying the AMC-14 satellite for SES AMERICOM and its customer, EchoStar Corporation.

‘Preliminary flight information indicates that the anomaly occurred during the second burn of the Breeze M upper stage. The satellite failed to reach the planned orbit. The satellite was built by Lockheed Martin.

‘A Russian State Commission has begun the process of determining the reasons for the anomaly. ILS will release details when data become available. In parallel with the State Commission, ILS will form its own Failure Review Oversight Board.

‘The FROB will review the commission’s final report and corrective action plan, in accord with US and Russian government export control regulations.

‘ILS remains committed to providing reliable, timely launch services for all its customers. To this end, ILS will work diligently with its partner Khrunichev to return Proton to flight as soon as possible.’

This was the second ILS mission in 2008, the seventh ILS Proton launch for SES AMERICON, the 11th A2100 satellite launched on Proton, and the 45th ILS Proton mission.

The AMC-14 satellite was manufactured by Lockheed Martin Commercial Space Systems, of Newton, Pa. The satellite, with a separated mass of 4140 kg, is based on the Lockheed Martin A2100 platform.

The A2100’s modular design features a major reduction in moving parts – simplifying construction, increasing on-orbit reliability, and reducing weight and cost. Produced entirely in composite materials, the A2100 bus is stronger and lighter than other bus designs and reduces launch costs.

AMC-14 was equipped with 32 Ku-band transponders that was to be used for direct-to-home entertainment services for EchoStar DISH network, covering all 50 United States. AMC-14 was to operate in the geosynchronous orbit at 61.5 degrees West longitude and has an anticipated operational life of 15 years.

The mission plan showed an ascent to orbit that was to take 6 hours and 55 minutes, with the Breeze-M/AMC-14 combination being placed in a suborbital trajectory.

From there the upper stage was to make three burns, taking the spacecraft first to a circular orbital, and later into a geostationary transfer orbit with an apogee of 35,786 km, a perigee of 6,257 km with a orbital inclination of 19.7 degrees. AMC-14 was to separate from the Breeze-M at approximately 6 hours, 55 minutes and 50 seconds after lift-off.

Delta II Launch:


The Delta II (7925 Configuration) is launching the GPS IIR-19M, the sixth in a line of eight GPS IIR satellites that Lockheed Martin Navigation Systems has modernized for its customer, the Global Positioning Systems Wing,Space and Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles Air Force Base.

Each IIR-M satellite includes a modernized antenna panel that provides increased signal power to receivers on the ground, two new military signals for improved accuracy, enhanced encryption and anti-jamming capabilities for the military, and a second civil signal that will provide users with an open access signal on a different frequency.

‘We are extremely proud of the increased capabilities these advanced spacecraft are providing to our warfighters as well as civil users worldwide,’ said Don DeGryse, Lockheed Martin’s vice president of Navigation Systems.

‘The success of this program is based on extensive experience in evolving GPS capabilities and a dedication to teamwork between Lockheed Martin and the Air Force and we look forward to achieving mission success for our customer.’

The GPS constellation provides critical situational awareness and precision weapon guidance for the military and supports a wide range of civil, scientific and commercial functions – from air traffic control to the Internet – with precision location and timing information.

Lockheed Martin and its navigation payload provider ITT of Clifton, New Jersey. designed and built 21 IIR spacecraftand subsequently modernized eight of those spacecraft designated Block IIR-M for the Air Force.

The final satellite, which includes a new demonstration payload that will provide a temporary on-orbit demonstration for the new civil signal, known as L5, has just completed final integration testing and is on track for shipment Cape Canaveral in early April.

The Global Positioning System enables properly equipped users to determine precise time and velocity and worldwide latitude, longitude and altitude to within a few meters.Air Force Space Command’s 2nd Space Operations Squadron (2SOPS), based at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, manages and operates the GPS constellation for both civil and military users.

Full mission background is available on the live event page – linked above.

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