International Launch Services (ILS) have launched the Intelsat 16 telecommunications satellite via their veteran Proton-M launch vehicle and Breeze-M upper stage on Thursday. Lift-off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan was on schedule at 7:39pm EST, ahead of over nine hours of flight until the spacecraft was successfully released into orbit.
Proton/Intelsat Mission Overview:
The Proton booster is 4.1 m (13.5 ft) in diameter along its second and third stages, with a first stage diameter of 7.4 m (24.3 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-276 engines that provide first stage power. Total first stage vacuum-rated level thrust is 11.0 MN (2,500,000 lbf).
Of conventional cylindrical design, the second stage is powered by three RD-0210 engines plus one RD-0211 engine and develops a vacuum thrust of 2.4 MN (540,000 lbf).
Powered by one RD-0213 engine, the third stage develops thrust of 583 kN (131,000 lbf), and a four-nozzle vernier engine that produces thrust of 31 kN (7,000 lbf). Guidance, navigation, and control of the Proton M during operation of the first three stages is carried out by a triple redundant closed-loop digital avionics system mounted in the Proton’s third stage.
The Proton and the Breeze M are built by Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center.
The Proton M launch vehicle, utilizing a 4-burn Breeze M mission design. The first three stages of the Proton will use a standard ascent profile to place the orbital unit (Breeze M upper stage and the Intelsat 16 satellite) into a sub-orbital trajectory.
From this point in the mission, the Breeze M will perform planned mission maneuvers to advance the orbital unit first to a circular parking orbit, then to an intermediate orbit, followed by a transfer orbit, and finally to a geostationary orbit. Separation of the Intelsat 16 satellite is scheduled to occur approximately 9 hours, 34 minutes after liftoff.
Built by Orbital Sciences Corporation, the Intelsat 16 satellite (IS-16) will be located at 58 degrees West Longitude. The high-power Ku-band payload will provide expansion capacity for SKY Mexico offering High Definition (HD) services and delivering news, sports and entertainment programming to its direct-to-home viewers. In addition, IS-16 will be available to provide backup capacity for SKY Brazil.
“Selecting ILS Proton for additional launches was a logical extension for our business needs. Intelsat depends on the reliability of an on-time, on-orbit launch for each of our satellites to expand our business and serve all of our customers,” noted Intelsat’s Senior Vice President Space Systems, Ken Lee. “We look forward to this successful relationship with ILS.”
Originally the 2,500kg Intelsat-16 was to be launched on a Zenit-3SLB, before the contract was switched to ILS.
“ILS is pleased to launch another Intelsat mission on Proton to support their requirements for on-time delivery of the Intelsat 16 satellite,” added Frank McKenna, President of ILS. “We have demonstrated responsiveness to our customer’s near term needs and created real, bottom-line value for Intelsat and their customers.”