International Launch Services (ILS) have returned their Proton M back into service for the multi-national company, with the launch of the Inmarsat-4 F3 satellite from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan.
NASASpaceflight.com covered the launch as a live event, with background, live updates, and a free launch video – all available on the links below (read more).
**Proton M/Inmarsat-4 F3 – Live Update Pages**
**FREE Proton-M/Inmarsat-4 F3 Launch Video** – available now.
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The Proton M launch vehicle will be utilizing a five burn Breeze M mission design, with the Inmarsat-4 F3 satellite on board. It will take nine hours of flight prior to spacecraft seperation.
The first three stages of the Proton will use a standard ascent trajectory to place the Breeze M fourth stage and the Inmarsat-4 F3 satellite into a suborbital trajectory from which the Breeze M will then place itself and the spacecraft into a low Earth circular parking orbit.
Once Inmarsat-4 F3 is in the parking orbit, it will be injected into a geosynchronous transfer orbit following four additional burns of the Breeze M. This will be the 3rd ILS launch of 2008, the 46th Proton launch for ILS, and the 9th Eurostar satellite launched on Proton.
The satellite, an EADS Astrium Eurostar 3000 model, will weigh approximately six metric tons at liftoff, perfectly suited for the Proton Breeze M?s lift capability. Khrunichev Space Center of Moscow, the majority shareholder in ILS, manufactures the Proton system.
The Inmarsat-4 F3 satellite will complete Inmarsat?s next-generation global satellite network, providing broadband MSS services to users everywhere.
This is the first ILS mission since a Breeze M upper stage suffered a failure during the AMC-14 mission in March.
The Proton Breeze M is ready to return to flight now that a Russian State Commission and an ILS-led independent review panel have concluded their inquiries into that incident and corrective actions have been completed.
“Having participated in the failure review process in its entirety, I am satisfied that the appropriate actions have been taken to deal with recent failures and to reassess the quality of the Proton vehicle,” said Gene Jilg, Chief Technology Officer for Inmarsat.
“We thank Inmarsat for its support and patience,” added ILS President Frank McKenna. “We know how important this satellite is for the continued success of Inmarsat’s growing broadband services, and we look forward to the start of the campaign in the coming days.”
Re-live the launch updates on the live event pages, linked above.