International Launch Services (ILS) have opened their 2014 campaign with the launch of the Russian Proton-M launch vehicle, this time carrying the TURKSAT-4A communications satellite on a successful multi-hour flight to its transfer orbit. Launch from the from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan was on time at 21:09 GMT.
The Proton booster launching the Sirius FM-6 satellite 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 Proton vehicle has a heritage of nearly 400 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 Proton M launch vehicle utilized a five-burn Breeze M mission design.
The first three stages of the Proton used a standard ascent profile to place the orbital unit (Breeze M upper stage and the TURKSAT-4A 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 TURKSAT-4A satellite occurred approximately 9 hours, 13 minutes after liftoff.
TURKSAT-4A is a commercial communication satellite built by Mitsubishi Electric. Photos of the satellite were classed as proprietary.
The satellite will provide telecommunication and direct TV broadcasting services over a wide geographic region between west of china and east of England spanning Turkey, as well as Europe, Central Asia, the Middle East and Africa. TURKSAT-4A consists of multiple transponders with an expected on-orbit Maneuver life of 30 years.
TURKSAT-4A satellite will expand the space capacity of Turkey and provide enhanced performance to its coverage areas.
With a mass of 4,850 kg, the satellite is based on Mitsubishi Electric’s DS2000 platform. It sports 36 transponders and a 2084 MHz communications capacity.
As noted, this was the first ILS Proton launch of the year. Overall it was the 85th ILS Proton launch, but the first TURKSAT satellite and Mitsubishi Electric satellite to ride on the Russian workhorse with ILS as the launch service provider.
More will follow as the mission progresses.
(Images via ILS).