Sunday, December 27, 2015

Proton-M Rocket Successfully Orbits Express-AMU1 Communications Satellite

Proton-M rocket launches Express-AMU1 satellite on Dec. 25, 2015. Credit: ILS

Express-AMU1, Russia’s new heavy communications and broadcasting satellite, has been inserted in the geo-transfer orbit. On Dec. 25, 2015 at 00:31 Moscow time, the satellite was launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome on board a Proton-M / Briz-M launch vehicle. The spacecraft separated from the Briz-M upper stage at 09:43 Moscow time. Following the satellite translation to the geostationary orbit and completion of appropriate tests, the satellite will be controlled using RSCC’s ground-based control facilities.

The launch and flight of the launch vehicle proceeded nominally. At the design time, the orbital block comprising the Express-AMU1 SC and Briz-M upper stage separated from the Proton’s third stage and continued the mission in the autonomous mode. Subsequently, the spacecraft was injected in its target orbit using the Briz-M Upper Stage main engine.

Earlier, some media reported that the apparatus was put into a non-nominal orbit. According to a TASS source in the rocket and space industry, the perigee and apogee of the satellite, that is the points closest and maximally distant from the center of the Earth on its orbit are within acceptable frames.

Express-AMU1, a high-tech satellite, is outfitted with transponders in the Ku- and Ка-bands and is intended to support the development of TV and radio broadcasting services, including DBS and broadband data, in the European part of the Russian Federation and in sub-Saharan Africa. Positioned in the geostationary orbit at 36˚E, the Express-AMU1 satellite will have a 15-year service life expectancy.

The Express-AMU1 satellite was manufactured on orders of RSCC under the Federal Space Program of the Russian Federation for 2006 – 2015. The building of the satellite was funded using extra-budgetary sources based on credits from Gazprombank JSC.

The commissioning of the Express-AMU1 satellite is scheduled for February 2016 after completing flight and structural tests and settling the satellite in its nominal orbital slot.

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