International Launch Services (ILS) have launched their third Proton-M rocket of the year on Monday. Lift off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan was on schedule at 22:18 GMT, with the Proton’s Briz-M Upper Stage then tasked with deploying the large telecommunications satellite – which successfully occurred after nine hours of flight.
ILS Proton Launch:
The Proton booster tasked with the launch of the satellite was 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 Proton vehicle has a heritage of 373 launches since 1965 and is built by Khrunichev Research and State Production Center, one of the pillars of the global space industry and the majority owner of ILS.
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 a 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 Breeze-M upper stage is the Phase III variant, a recent upgrade which utilizes two new high-pressure tanks (80 liters) to replace six smaller tanks, along with the relocation of command instruments towards the centre – in order to mitigate shock loads when the additional propellant tank is being jettisoned.
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The Proton M launch vehicle, utilizing a 5-burn Breeze M mission design, launched from Pad 39 with the Y1B satellite on board. The first three stages of the Proton used a standard ascent profile to place the orbital unit (Breeze M upper stage and the Y1B satellite) into a sub-orbital trajectory.
From this point in the mission, the Breeze M performed 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 transfer orbit. Separation of the Y1B satellite was on schedule approximately 9 hours, 12 minutes after liftoff.
“ILS was honored to launch the Y1B satellite on ILS Proton, enabling the deployment of their YahClick network that will provide high speed broadband services across South West Asia, Africa and the Middle East. ILS was squarely focused on achieving on-time delivery to meet Yahsat’s requirements for their commercial and government customers,” noted ILS President Frank McKenna.
“My sincere thanks to the ILS, Khrunichev, Yahsat, Thales Alenia Space and Astrium teams who worked tirelessly to ensure a successful mission and launch for our new customer Yahsat.”
Second Yahsat satellite to be launched in one year, Y1B will deliver communications in Ka-band for both commercial and governmental users. It will provide high-data rate internet services for public and private users in the Middle East, Africa and Southwest Asia above the limitations of existing terrestrial and satellite systems.
Y1B commercial communication payload uses state of the art Ka-band multi spot-beam technology, achieving cost-effective bandwidth supply through 61 narrow spot beams.
The Eurostar E3000 satellite platform sports 14 kW spacecraft electrical power, and has a chemical and electrical propulsion system consisting of four SPT-100 plasma thrusters. The 6,100 kg satellite was deployed at a perigee of 3,945 km, an apogee of 35,786 km, at a 23.8 degrees inclination.
“We are delighted to see this milestone in our business plan reached with the launch of Y1B. With the satellite in orbit, we are on track in our mission to connect communities around the region with reliable, affordable broadband services through our “YahClick” service,” added Yahsat CEO, Tareq Abdel Raheem Al Hosani.
“Communications is a vital factor for economic and social growth in today’s world and we are very excited to be bringing this pioneering vision into reality.”
Monday’s launch was the 72nd ILS Proton-M mission, and follows close on the heels of the successful deployment of the Intelsat 22 telecommunications satellite into a 65,000 km super-synchronous transfer orbit – the first time ILS had conducted such a mission.
More will follow after S/C Sep.
(Images via ILS).