A Russian rocket lifted-off with an advanced direct to home broadcast satellite for Arab Satellite Communications as the company increases support for Saudi Arabia and Africa.
Arabsat's BADR-5 satellite will operate in an orbital plane close to the BADR-4 and 6 satellites, broadcasting direct to home network channels, and expand Arabsat's high def channels lineup.
Liftoff of the International Launch Services Proton-M from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in western Kazakhstan occurred on time this evening at 6:00 pm EDT (2200 GMT) from launch pad 39.
This was ILS's 60th Proton launch, and the sixth Proton launch of the year.
The Proton rocket soared into the dark morning skies of the predawn as it climbed eastward and across Kazakhstan.
The booster's six RD-276 engines provided a lift-off thrust of 2.5 million pounds to loft the 1.55 million pound fully fueled rocket up and away.
Two minutes into the ascent, the first stage dropped away and the second stage's three RD-0210 engines took over to power the rocket another three and one-half minutes.
Seconds after the third stage took over at 6:05:30 pm, the protective payload cover peeled away as the craft entered the last traces of the earth's atmosphere.
Powered by a lone RD-0213 engine, the third stage's trajectory kept the craft on a due east flight plan as it began to fly high over Mongolia.
The third stage later separated from the Breeze-M upper stage. This upper stage then began to steer and place the spacecraft into it planned geostationary orbit during a series of five long burns over the next several hours.
The Breeze-M uses one main engine which supports a thrust of 4500 pounds.
At the conclusion of five insertion burns by the Breeze-M, the 11,949 pound satellite will separate high over the equator east of Africa at 3:13 am EDT on Friday.
At this point, BADR-5 will be in a planned elliptical orbit of 22,236 x 3598 miles high. Over the next few weeks, the satellite's orbital low point will be raised to ensure the craft stays in a fixed point at 26 degrees East.
BADR-5 will be placed in a geostationary orbit over central Africa at 26 degrees East where it will utilize both it's Ku-Band and Ka-Band transponders to provide more channels to a larger footprint of the middle east region.
On Monday, the 191-foot Proton-M rocket was rolled out to it's desert launch complex via railway in a horizontal position. It was then raised up to the vertical position to be connected by ground umbilicals which will provide electrical power and fuel lines.
On June 23rd, the European Space Agency will launch the Arabsat 5A from South America aboard an Ariane 5.