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Proton successfully delivers Amazonas-5

During its third mission in 2017, the Proton-M rocket launched on September 11, carrying the Amazonas-5 communications satellite for the Hispasat Group based in Madrid, Spain.

Proton/Amazonas-5 mission at a glance:

Spacecraft designation(s)
Spacecraft operator
Hispasat Group, Madrid, Spain
Spacecraft developer
Space Systems Loral, Palo Alto, California, USA
Delivered (separated) mass
5,900 kilograms
Launch vehicle
Proton-M No. 6307138889 / Briz-M
Payload fairing
Launch date and time
2017 Sept. 11, 22:23:40.953 Moscow Time (3:23 p.m. EDT)
Launch site

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Path to launch pad

Amazonas-5 is one of the two satellites that Hispasat Group ordered from Space Systems Loral LLC, SSL, of Palo Alto, California, the second being Hispasat-1F. Both weigh approximately five metric tons.

According to the International Launch Services, ILS, which markets Proton rockets to commercial customers, there were plans to "dual integrate" both missions, giving Hispasat the flexibility to determine the satellite-to-launcher assignments very late, based on business and schedule considerations. The agreement for this launch was announced on Sept. 14, 2015.

The launch of Amazonas-5 was previously planned at the end of July 2017. However by that time, the mission was postponed from the end of August to Sept. 9, 2017.


The spacecraft was delivered to the launch site on an An-124/Ruslan cargo plane on Aug. 8, 2017. At the time, Amazonas-5 was still officially scheduled to lift off on September 9 but, because the Proton rocket for the mission left Moscow by rail only around August 8, the launch could be postponed as late as Sept. 18, 2017, sources familiar with the campaign said.

In a manifest released by Roskosmos on August 28, the launch of the Amazonas-5 satellite was marked for Sept. 11, 2017.

The Proton for the mission arrived at Baikonur on August 18 and its components were unloaded at Halls 101 and 111 inside processing building 92A-50 at Site 92. On August 31, 2017, specialists from Space Systems Loral, GKNPTs Khrunichev and ILS began the assembly of the upper composite for the Amazonas-5 mission inside Hall 101. The spacecraft was delivered here after the autonomous checks and fueling, clearing the way for its integration with its Briz-M upper stage.

On Sept. 7, 2017, the fully assembled Proton rocket with the Amazonas-5 satellite left processing building No. 92-A50 and arrived at the technical fueling pad, TZP, where the low-pressure tanks of the Briz-M upper stage were loaded with propellant.


Proton with Amazonas-5 shortly after arrival at launch pad on Sept. 8, 2017.

In the early hours of September 8, the rocket continued on and arrived at launch pad No. 39 at Site 200 for the final preparation for liftoff.

Amazonas-5 satellite

Built for Hispasat Group by Space Systems Loral, Amazonas-5 satellite is based on the company's standard SSL-1300 platform. The spacecraft features a high throughput Ka-band spot beam payload with 34 Ka-band spot beams which will be used for broadband services in South America, Central America and Mexico. Amazonas-5 also has a Ku-band beam with 24 transponders for fixed satellite services, which will be used for television, corporate networks and other telecommunications applications in South America and Central America.


An artist rendering of the Amazonas-5 satellite deployed in orbit.

The satellite will be deployed in a geostationary orbit 36,000 kilometers above the Equator at 61 degrees West longitude.

Amazonas-5 should help Hispasat Group meet a growing communications capacity demand mainly for satellite TV services in Latin America and Brazil. The spacecraft's Ka-band capacity promises to expand Internet accessibility.

Known specifications of the Amazonas-5 satellite:

Spacecraft manufacturer
Space Systems Loral, SSL
Spacecraft platform
Spacecraft mass at separation from launch vehicle
~5,900 kilograms
Spacecraft transponder payload
35 Ka-band beams, 24 Ku-band transponders
Spacecraft power supply system capacity
11.5 kilowatts
Projected life span
15 years
Spacecraft operational position in the geostationary orbit
61 degrees West longitude


How Amazonas-5 was launched

The liftoff of the 705-ton Proton-M/Briz-M launch vehicle with the 5.9-ton Amazonas-5 satellite took place as scheduled on Sept. 11, 2017, at 22:23:40.953 Moscow Time (3:23 p.m. EDT).

The ignition sequence was to be initiated at T-00:00:02.5 seconds before the physical separation of the 58.2-meter rocket from Pad 39 at Site 200 in Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan.

At T-00:00:01.75 seconds, the six main engines of the first stage developed 40 percent of their required thrust, followed by 100 percent at T-00:00:00.9 seconds. As the rocket accelerated through the dense atmosphere, it experienced maximum dynamic pressure one minute and two seconds into the flight.

To deliver Amazonas-5, Proton followed a launch profile typical for most commercial missions. The first, second and third stages of the launch vehicle flew a standard ascent trajectory matching the orbital inclination of 51.6 degrees toward the Equator, placing the payload section including the Briz-M upper stage and the Amazonas-5 satellite into a sub-orbital trajectory.

In the following nine hours, Briz-M performed a total of five engine firings to boost 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 Amazonas-5 satellite from the upper stage into a highly elliptical orbit took place as scheduled at 07:35 Moscow Time on Sept. 12, 2017, or 9 hours 12 minutes after liftoff. The satellite was then expected to use its own propulsion system to enter the geostationary orbit 36,000 kilometers above the Equator.


ground track

Scheduled elapsed time
Stage I separation
Stage II separation
Payload fairing separation
Stage III separation
Briz-M firing 1 starts (Duration: 04:24)
Briz-M firing 1 ends
Briz-M firing 2 starts (Duration: 17:53)
Briz-M firing 2 ends
Briz-M firing 3 starts (Duration: 11:52)
Briz-M firing 3 ends
Briz-M jettisons its external tank
Briz-M firing 4 starts (Duration: 05:41)
Briz-M firing 4 ends
Briz-M firing 5 starts (Duration: 06:28)
Briz-M firing 5 ends
Spacecraft separation

Flight scenario and ground track of the Amazonas-5 mission. Credit: ILS

On September 12, the Russian Ministry of Defense reported that Briz-M upper stage had successfully completed two additional maneuvers to enter a burial orbit with an altitude of more than 4,200 by 35,000 kilometers.

Next Proton mission: AsiaSat


Read (and see) much more on the history of the Russian space program in a richly illustrated, large-format glossy edition:



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The article by Anatoly Zak; Last update: September 20, 2017

Page editor: Alain Chabot; Last edit: September 9, 2017

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A fully assembled Amazonas-5 satellite. Credit: Space Systems Loral


In August 2017, two Proton's payloads -- Amazonas-5 (right) and AsiaSat-9 satellites -- "met" at Hall 103A in Baikonur, where they were undergoing electric testing. Click to enlarge. Credit: Space Systems Loral


Amazonas-5/Briz-M stack is being prepared for enacpsulation under its payload fairing. Click to enlarge. Credit: ILS



Proton with Amazonas-5 is being erected on the launch pad on Sept. 8, 2017. Click to enlarge. Credit: Roskosmos


Proton with Amazonas-5 shortly before liftoff on Sept. 11, 2017. Click to enlarge. Credit: Roskosmos


Proton lifts off with Amazonas-5 on Sept. 11, 2017. Click to enlarge. Credit: Roskosmos