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2009 Feb. 11: A Proton M rocket equipped with a Breeze M upper stage lifted off from Site 200 in Baikonur Cosmodrome on Feb. 11, 2009, at 03:03 Moscow Time, carrying the Express-AM44 and Express-MD1 communications satellites for Russia's Satellite Communications Organization. The mission was originally scheduled for December 2007, June, August, Sept. 25 and December 2008.
2009 Feb. 28: A Proton K rocket with Block DM-2 upper stage lifted off from Site 81 in Baikonur Cosmodrome on Feb. 28, 2009, at 07:10 Moscow Time, carrying the Raduga-1-8 (Globus-1) (No. 18L) communications satellite for the Russian military.
2009 April 3: A Proton rocket successfully carried the W2A satellite to orbit for Eutelsat Communications of France. The launch vehicle lifted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome on April 3, 2009, at 10:24 p.m. local time (12:24 p.m. EDT, 16:24 GMT). The launch of the W2A satellite marked the first ILS launch of the year and the 50th commercial launch overall for ILS; a significant milestone. The Proton Briz M vehicle is built by Khrunichev Space Center of Moscow and has a heritage of 344 missions since its inception.
The W2A spacecraft built by ThalesAleniaSpace, is a Spacebus 4000 C4 model and carried three payloads including the first S-band payload for Europe. The W2A C-band and Ku-band payloads for Eutelsat will provide Europe, Africa and the Middle East with an array of professional video and business services. Solaris Mobile is a joint venture between SES Astra and Eutelsat. The satellite, the 27th in the Eutelsat fleet, will be operated at Eutelsat’s 10 degrees East location, an orbital location used by Eutelsat for over 20 years. The mission was delayed from March 28, 16:29 UTC.
2009 May 16: A Proton rocket successfully carried the IndoStar 2/ProtoStar 2 satellite into orbit today, marking the second commercial mission of the year for International Launch Services (ILS) and the fourth successful Proton launch of 2009. The Indostar II/Protostar II satellite was launched for Protostar LTD of Bermuda and will be commercially operated for Indovision of Jakarta, Indonesia, the largest Direct to Home operator in Indonesia.
The Proton M rocket equipped with a Briz M upper stage lifted off from Pad 39 in Baikonur Cosmodrome, on May 16, 2009, at 6:57 a.m. local time (8:57 p.m. EDT, 00:57 GMT). After a 9 hour 15 minute mission, the Breeze M successfully released the satellite into the planned geo-transfer orbit. This was the 345th launch for the Proton.
The Indostar II/Protostar II satellite, located at 107.7 degrees East, was built on the Boeing 601 HP platform and is the second satellite in Protostar’s evolving constellation. This satellite replaces the existing Chakarawarta 1 and will bring high power S-band and Ku-band capacity over Indonesia, with expanded service to India, the Philippines and Taiwan. The satellite’s S-band transponders will support Direct to Home TV and Radio services for Indovision. The satellite will also offer HDTV multimedia and broadband services throughout the ASEAN region. The contract for the mission was announced on April 1, 2008. (Delayed from the first quarter and late April 2009, at the beginning of May posponed from May 14, 2009, at 00:58 GMT, and from May 15, 2009 at 00:57 GMT)
2009 June 30: A Proton rocket successfully delivered the SIRIUS FM-5 satellite, International Launch Services announced. The Proton M rocket with the a Briz M upper stage lifted off from Pad 39 in Baikonur Cosmodrome, on July 1, 2009, at 1:10 a.m. local time (June 30, 2009, at 3:10 p.m. EDT, 19:10 GMT). After a 9 hour 14 minute mission, the Briz M successfully released the SIRIUS FM-5 satellite, weighing over 5.8 metric tons, into geo-transfer orbit.
The SIRIUS FM-5 satellite, located at 96 degrees West, was built on the flight proven Space Systems/Loral 1300 platform and is the fourth satellite in SIRIUS’ constellation, all built by Space Systems/Loral. SIRIUS FM-5 is one of the most powerful satellites constructed with an X-band uplink and an S-band downlink payload. The satellite carries a range of technologies which will allow for highly concentrated transmissions to small, advanced devices. This was the 346th launch for the Proton. It was previously planned for 2008, early June 2009 and June 29, 2009.
2009 Aug. 12: Russia successfully delivered a communications satellite for a Hong Kong-based satellite operator. A Proton rocket lifted off from Pad 39 in Baikonur Cosmodrome on Aug. 12, 2009, at 01:47:33 local time (Aug. 11, 2009, 23:47 Moscow Time). The vehicle carried the AsiaSat 5 communications satellite for Asia Satellite Telecommunications Company Limited. According to Khrunichev enterprise, (the Proton manufacturer), the mission proceeded flawlessly with the successful separation of the payload from its upper stage on Aug. 12, 2009 at 09:02 Moscow Time or nine hours 15 minutes after a liftoff.
The satellite was designed to offer an enhanced pan-Asian C-band footprint and high-power Ku-band beams over East Asia, South Asia, and an in-orbit steerable Ku beam. The spacecraft was based on the Space Systems/Loral 1300 platform, designed for a lifespan of 15 years. The station-keeping lifetime of the satellite was promised to be greatly improved due to the available performance of the Proton launch vehicle.
The contract for the AsiaSat 5 mission was announced on Feb. 24, 2009, and at the time, the delivery of the satellite to the launch site was expected in the early summer of 2009. The mission was originally scheduled to fly on the Zenit-3SLB from Baikonur between July 1 and Dec. 31, 2008. It was later rescheduled for the second quarter of 2009 and continued slipping. By February 2009, Land Launch had to postpone the mission to the middle of 2010. In the meantime, AsiaSat-5's predecessor at the orbital location of 100.5 degrees East-- AsiaSat-2 -- was to reach the end of its projected lifespan at the beginning of 2011. After the switch to Proton, the mission was expected as early as July 15, 2009. It was later scheduled for August 10, 2009.
2009 Sept. 17: Russia sent aloft a second space mission in a single day from launch site in Kazakhstan. A Proton M rocket with a Briz M upper stage lifted off on Sept. 17, 2009, at 23:19:19 Moscow Time from Pad 39 in Baikonur Cosmodrome. The rocket carried the 4,745-kilogram Nimiq 5 satellite for Telesat of Canada. Built by Space Systems/Loral, the spacecraft was expected to operate at 72.7 degrees West longitude over the Equator, carrying a wide range of high-definition and specialty direct-to-home television services with 32 Ku-band transponders.
The first three stages of the Proton used a standard ascent profile to place the payload section (payload fairing, Briz M upper stage and the payload) into a sub-orbital trajectory. The Briz M was then expected to perform five engine firings to carry the satellite first to a circular parking orbit, then to an intermediate orbit, followed by a transfer orbit, and finally to a geo-transfer orbit. Separation of the Nimiq 5 satellite was scheduled to occur approximately 9 hours, 15 minutes after liftoff in the 35,786 by 9,490-kilometer orbit with the inclination 13.0 degrees toward the Equator. On September 18, International Launch Service, ILS, which markets the Proton launches to commercial customers, confirmed that the Nimiq 5 had successfully separated from the upper stage. The operation took place at 08:34 Moscow Time, according to Roskosmos. The contract for the launch was signed with ILS, on April 26, 2007. The mission was previously expected to take place in early August 2009.
2009 Nov. 24: A Proton rocket successfully carried the W7 satellite to orbit for Eutelsat Communications of France, the International Launch Services, ILS, announced. The rocket lifted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome on Nov. 24, 2009, at 20:19 local time (14:19 GMT). After a nine-hour 12-minute mission, the Briz M upper stage released the W7 satellite into geostationary transfer orbit.
The satellite was originally scheduled to fly on a Zenit-3SL with a DM-SL upper stage from the Sea Launch platform and it was delayed from July to October 2009. However, due to bankruptcy and resulting uncertainty about Sea Launch's future, on Sept. 7, 2009, International Launch Services announced it would fly it on Proton in mid-November 2009. At the time, the satellite was in preparation for delivery to Baikonur. On Nov. 23, 2009, ILS announced a 24-hour delay of the mission from Nov. 23, 2009, at 17:22 Moscow Time.
2009 Dec. 14: Continuing a tradition of several previous years, Russia launched an end-of-the-year mission to replenish its navigation constellation. A Proton-M rocket equipped with a Block DM-3 upper stage lifted off on Dec. 14, 2009, at 11:38 Moscow Decree Time from Site 81 in Baikonur Cosmodrome. It carried a trio of GLONASS-M satellites.
2009 Dec. 29: Russia conducted its last orbital launch of 2009, successfully delivering a commercial communications satellite. A Proton-M rocket with a Briz-M upper stage lifted off from Pad 39 in Baikonur Cosmodrome on Dec. 29, 2009, at 03:22 Moscow Time, carrying the DirecTV 12 communications satellite. The Briz-M upper stage and its payload successfully separated from the 3rd stage of the launch vehicle in an initial parking orbit at 03:31 Moscow Time. Following five burns of the Briz-M's propulsion system, DirecTV 12 successfully separated from the upper stage at 12:32 Moscow Time, or nine hours 10 minutes after liftoff, Russian space agency, Roskosmos, announced. At separation, the satellite was expected to be in a 35,786 by 5,120-kilometer orbit with an inclination of 20.7 degrees toward the Equator. The spacecraft was then to use its own propulsion system to enter its final geostationary orbit.
According to International Launch Services, ILS, which markets Proton missions around the world, the DirecTV 12 next-generation satellite will play an important role in extending DirecTV’s content leadership position in the pay TV industry. When it becomes operational in the first half of 2010, it will expand DIRECTV’s HD capacity by 50 percent to more than 200 national channels, ILS said. The powerful 131-transponder payload integrates 32 active and 12 spare TWTAs (Traveling Wave Tube Amplifiers) in the Ka-band for national service and 55 active and 15 spare TWTAs for spot beams. The payload is powered by a gallium arsenide solar array that spans more than 48 meters. DirecTV 12 will receive and transmit programming throughout the United States with two large Ka-band reflectors, each measuring 2.8 meters in diameter and nine other Ka-band reflectors. The spacecraft weighs around 5,900 kilograms and was designed to function for 15 years in the orbital position 102.8 degrees West longitude over the Equator. It is based on Boeing's 702 satellite bus platform.
The mission was initially delayed from late September 2009 by the payload owner. As of mid-October 2009, the officially planned launch date in December 2009 was considered unlikely, since the DirecTV mission conflicted with Proton's federal launch of the Globus satellite, which was likely to get priority over a commercial payload. In the meantime, the DirecTV mission was under pressure to launch before the end of 2009, in order to use an optimized launch azimuth enabling reaching an initial parking orbit with the inclination 48 degrees toward the Equator, agreed with the government of Kazakhstan. It was expected to be the last mission heading to the 48-degree parking orbit, which enabled around 200 kilograms of extra payload delivered to the geostationary transfer orbit. In the wake of the JCSAT-11 failure, which landed debris within 40-50 kilometers of the town of Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan prohibited this particular launch path after 2009. Even though different launch pads were available for DirecTV and Globus missions, the personnel availability would normally require a five-day break between Proton launches. The DirecTV launch was targeted for a Dec. 24 - Dec. 29 period or had to be delayed to the beginning of 2010. By the end of November 2009, the Globus mission slipped to 2010, thus freeing the Dec. 29-30 launch window for DirecTV 12.
Summary of Proton missions in 2009 (as of January 21, 2012 ):
Page author: Anatoly Zak; Last update: January 21, 2012
Page editor: Alain Chabot; Last edit: February 27, 2011
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A Proton carried the W2A satellite for Eutelsat Communications of France on April 3, 2009. Click to enlarge. Copyright © 2009 Anatoly Zak