ILS Proton-M launches with SIRIUS FM-5

by Chris Bergin

International Launch Services (ILS) have launched the SIRIUS FM-5 communication satellite on its way to a geostationary transfer orbit via their Proton-M launch vehicle, following lift off from Launch Pad 39 at the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan. Launch occurred on time at 20:10 UTC, starting a launch phase that lasted a total of nine hours.

The launch is utilized a 5-burn Breeze M mission design. The first three stages of the Proton used a standard ascent profile to place the ascent unit (Breeze M upper stage and the SIRIUS FM-5 satellite) into a sub-orbital trajectory.

“Our partnership with SIRIUS goes back many years; ILS has launched all of the SIRIUS satellites. It is an honor to be entrusted, once again, with the expansion of their satellite constellation, with the advanced technologies that the powerful SIRIUS FM-5 satellite will provide,” said ILS President Frank McKenna.

“ILS Proton has been a steady, trusted and reliable solution for our business over the years, providing flawless launches for each of our satellites. Our relationship with ILS spans well beyond contract signing; we work side by side throughout the mission to ensure success. We thank the entire mission team for its diligence and hard work for the launch of SIRIUS FM-5, to expand our growing constellation and our range of services,” added David Frear, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, Sirius XM Radio Inc.

Built by the Khrunichev State Research and Production Center, 8K82KM Proton-M is the largest Russian launch vehicle in operational service. The rocket launches all Russian geostationary and interplanetary missions under Khrunichev, establishing it as the principal workhorse of the Russian space program.

The Proton booster is 4.1 m (13.5 ft) in diameter along its second and third stages, with a first stage diameter of 7.3 m (24.0 ft). Overall height of the three stages of the Proton booster is 42.3 m (138.8 ft).

The first stage consists of a central tank containing the oxidizer surrounded by six outboard fuel tanks. Each fuel tank also carries one of the six RD-275 engines that provide first stage power. Total first stage sea-level thrust is approximately 9.6 MN (2,158,000 lbf) with a vacuum-rated level thrust of 10.5 MN (2,360,000 lbf).

The second stage is powered by three RD-0210 engines plus one RD-0211 engine and develops a vacuum thrust of 2.3 MN (517,000 lbf).

The third stage is powered by one RD-0213 engine, this stage develops thrust of 583 kN (131,000 lbf), and a four-nozzle vernier engine that produces thrust of 31 kN (7,000 lbf).

The Breeze M is powered by one pump fed gimbaled main engine that develops thrust of 19.6 kN (4,400 lbf). The Breeze-M is composed of a central core and a jettisonable additional propellant tank. Inert mass of the stage at lift-off is approximately 2,370 kg (5,225 lb).

The quantity of propellant carried is dependent on specific mission requirements and is varied to maximize mission performance. The Breeze M is controlled by a closed loop, triple-redundant guidance system.

From this point in the mission, the Breeze M will perform planned mission maneuvers to advance the ascent unit first to a circular parking orbit, then to an intermediate orbit, followed by a transfer orbit and finally to a geo-transfer orbit. Separation of the SIRIUS FM-5 satellite is scheduled to occur approximately 9 hours, 14 minutes after lift-off.

Today’s launch is the fifth Proton Launch of 2009 and the third ILS Proton of the year. Overall, this marks the 52nd Proton Launch for ILS, the fourth SIRIUS XM Satellite launched on a Proton, and the 11th Space Systems/Loral Satellite launched on a Proton.

The satellite is based on the LS-1300 platform, and will have a separated mass of 5820 kg.

The SIRIUS FM-5 satellite will supplement the existing fleet of SIRIUS satellites with a high-power geostationary satellite that enhances their service. The satellite features 1 X-Band Receive Payload, 1 S-Band Transmit Payload, and will be located at an orbital location of 96 degrees West Longitude, for an anticipated service life of 15 years.

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