Friday, April 23, 2010

Russian Proton to Launch American Satellite Saturday

SES-1 will support North American TV and data services. (SES)

A Russian rocket will carry into orbit an American communications satellite designed for high definition television and data services for North America on Saturday.

An International Launch Service Proton-M with the SES-1/AMC-4R spacecraft is set to launch on Saturday at 7:19:01 am EDT (1119 GMT) from pad 39 at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

The SES-1 spacecraft will begin service weeks following launch to deliver high speed data or video to VSAT (Very Small Aperture Terminal) credit card stations and HD-resolution video for networks.

The SES-1 supports 24 Ku-Band and 24 C-Band transponders as it anchors in geostationary orbit at 101 degrees West.

The spacecraft will operate for SES World Skies with an expected design life of 17 years.

The four-stage ILS Proton rocket stands 184 feet tall, and at launch will weigh 1,523,000 pounds fueled.

Powered by a core booster hosting six RD-276 engines, the first stage burn will last two minutes as the rocket speeds eastward out over Kazakhstan.

The second stage then takes over as the Proton heads out over northern Mongolia.

The spacecraft's protective fairing will peel away from the upper stage nearly six minutes into flight exposing the satellite to the first traces of space flight.

Following a four minute burn by the third stage's RD-0213 engine, the Breeze-M upper stage will then take over with a series of four burns to carry the spacecraft into a transfer orbit.

The final burn is scheduled for eight and one-half minutes into the flight and will last for twelve minutes.

The Breeze stage uses one main engine which is gimbaled during it's burns to carry it to a geostationary orbit 22,220 miles above the equator.

Spacecraft separation from the Breeze-M will occur at 4:17 pm EDT, over the waters of the Indian Ocean just west of Somalia.

An SES-3 spacecraft is scheduled for launch in February 2011.

The Proton was moved out to it's launch pad on the morning of April 20th by way of railway.

Also of note, SES has a spacecraft known as the Astra 3B down in Kourou, South America ready for launch in May. It's launch has been delayed a month due to an issue with the Ariane 5 rocket and it's launcher subsystems in early-April.

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