Proton missions in 2011
Telstar 14R mission
Russia's workhorse in the commercial satellite launch business has completed its first mission of 2011.
The vehicle was carrying the Telstar 14R communications satellite for Telesat of Ontario, Canada. The spacecraft was developed by Space Systems/Loral in Palo Alto, California, utilizing the 1300 platform with a 15-year mission lifespan, and a launch mass of approximately 5,000 kilograms.
Some 19 minutes after the launch, International Launch Services, ILS, which markets Proton to commercial customers around the world, had confirmed that the upper stage completed its first burn. The mission was using a 5-burn Briz M mission design during this mission. The first three stages of the Proton used a standard ascent profile to place the orbital unit (the Briz M upper stage and the satellite) into a sub-orbital trajectory. From this point in the mission, the Briz M performed planned mission maneuvers to advance the orbital unit first to a circular parking orbit, then to an intermediate orbit, followed by a transfer orbit, and finally to a geosynchronous transfer orbit. Separation of the satellite did occur as scheduled approximately 9 hours, 13 minutes after liftoff.
The new spacecraft was to replace Telstar 14/Estrela do Sul at the orbital location 63 degrees West, providing long-term service for Brazil, the Continental United States (including the Gulf of Mexico and northern Caribbean), the Southern Cone of South America, the Andean region (including Central America and southern Caribbean), and the North and Mid-Atlantic Ocean. The satellite’s Atlantic beam will expand on the Atlantic Ocean Region capacity of both Telstar 14 and Telstar 11N. The mission to launch the satellite was announced on July 17, 2009.
The spacecraft utilizes 46 high powered Ku-band transponders (58 36-MHz transponder equivalents) over five coverage beams consisting of: Brazil, the Continental United States (including the Gulf of Mexico and northern Caribbean), the Southern Cone of South America, the Andean region (including Central America and southern Caribbean), and the North and Mid-Atlantic Ocean.
The successful launch of Telstar 14R paved the way to a busy launch schedule for the Proton rocket during 2011. With the completion of the refurbishment of a dual satellite processing facility at Building 92A-50 in Baikonur, two Proton missions per month were expected in July, August and September 2011.
In the meantime, on May 25, 2011, the developer of the Telstar-14R satellite -- Space Systems/Loral -- announced that one of two power-generating solar panels onboard the spacecraft had failed to deploy, potentially reducing its communications capabilities. The so-called "south" solar panel deployed without problems soon after launch, while the "north" panel apparently jammed. According to Loral, the spacecraft was otherwise healthy and the single panel provided enough power to its systems to function normally. The company said it was analyzing data from the satellite to determine what steps could be taken to maximize the satellite's lifespan and capability. In the event that the north solar array could not be fully extended, and subject to successfully completing the remaining post-launch maneuvers, it was expected that the satellite would provide a level of service that was, at a minimum, equal to the satellite that it replaced. However, the satellite's capacity would be reduced from what was originally planned, Loral admitted.
A Proton rocket with a Briz-M upper stage lifted off as scheduled from Baikonur Cosmodrome's Site 200 on July 16, 2011, at 03:16 Moscow Time. It was carrying a pair of communications satellites: KazSat-2 for the government of Kazakhstan and the SES-3 (formerly OS-2) for the SES satellite operator.
Separation between the Briz-M upper stage and SES-3 spacecraft was scheduled for July 16, at 11:17 Moscow Time, followed by the release of the KazSat-2 at 12:40 Moscow Time. The Briz-M upper stage was scheduled to perform a total of six firings during the delivery and the separation of satellites.
On the morning of July 16, the Russian space agency confirmed successful separation of the SES-3 and KazSat-3 satellites.
On September 29, 2006, Roskosmos announced that Khrunichev enterprise had won a tender from the Kazakh government for the development of the KazSat-2 spacecraft, then scheduled for launch in November 2009. On Feb. 10, 2010, International Launch Services announced that KazSat-2 had been "paired" with the SES-3 communications satellite for its ride to orbit on a Proton rocket scheduled for launch in 2011.
Soon after the failure of the Briz-KM upper stage to deliver the Geo-IK–2 satellite into its proper orbit on February 1, reports surfaced that the launch of KazSat-2 would be delayed to May 2011, even though the postponement was attributed to the delay with the completion of the satellite. The Proton rocket intended for the KazSat-2 mission would use the Briz-M upper stage, similar to the Briz-KM vehicle, which had been blamed for the Geo-IK-2 launch failure. In the second half of May 2011, the KazSat-2 mission was planned for the middle of July 2011. At the time, the final approval for the launch of KazSat-2 was expected soon, with the delivery of the satellite to the launch site promised by the end of that month.
Russia's workhorse rocket failed again after only three successful missions. A Proton rocket with a Briz M upper stage lifted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on August 18, 2011, at 01:25 Moscow Summer Time carrying the Ekspress-AM4 satellite for Russia's Satellite Communications Organization. According to the International Launch Services, ILS, which markets the Proton outside Russia, the vehicle performed nominally with the Briz M upper stage and the spacecraft separating at the appropriate time. However, contact with the Briz M and spacecraft was lost after the fourth burn of the upper stage, ILS said. Roskosmos specialists were then able to locate the upper stage and efforts were underway to establish contact with the Express-AM4 spacecraft.
Proton returns to flight with Garpun satellite
A month after leaving a communications satellite in a wrong orbit, the Proton-M rocket lifted off again delivering a military payload during its 54th mission. The launch of the Proton-M rocket with a Briz-M upper stage took place as scheduled on Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2011, at 02:47:00 Moscow Summer Time (18:47 EDT on Tuesday) from Pad 24 at Site 81 in Baikonur Cosmodrome.
A few minutes only after liftoff, the official RIA Novosti news agency released a statement from a Ministry of Defense spokesman confirming the successful launch and saying that at 02:52 Moscow time the Titov military ground control center had started tracking the mission.
According to official statements, the rocket was carrying a military payload, which was believed to be the Garpun (Harpoon) new-generation military data relay satellite, bound for a geostationary orbit 36,000 kilometers above the Equator.
The launch vehicle was expected to follow a standard ascent trajectory to release the upper stage with its payload at 02:57 Moscow Time, followed by firings of the Briz-M and the separation of the satellite at 11:48 Moscow Time, the Russian space agency said. Several hours after the launch, official Russian media confirmed that the satellite, designated Kosmos-2473, had reached its planned orbit. It was the fourth mission of the Proton rocket in 2011.
In January 2008, General Vladimir Popovkin, then the commander of Russian space forces, had promised the launch of this satellite at the beginning of 2009. The mission was later delayed from Sept. 15, 2011. In the first half of September 2011, the launch was scheduled for Sept. 18, however by Sept. 15, the mission slipped to Sept. 21.
In September 2020, independent observers analyzing images from the NEEMO-T05 telescope in Romania noticed major brighteness variations associated with Kosmos-2473, which indicated a loss of attitude control by the satellite causing tumbling.
Just eight days after its previous mission, Russia's workhorse launcher delivered a commercial communications satellite Thursday.
The vehicle was carrying the QuetzSat-1 communications satellite for SES Satellite Leasing Limited in the Isle of Man. The 5,514-kilogram spacecraft, built by Space Systems/Loral on the flight-proven SS/L 1300 platform, is a high power Ku-band satellite that will be located at the orbital position of 77 degrees West. It was designed to provide coverage over Mexico, North America and Central America. The satellite is fully contracted to a subsidiary of EchoStar Corporation and will be used in part by Dish Mexico, an EchoStar joint venture, for DTH services in Mexico. It is further expected that EchoStar and its Satellite Services division will provide capacity on QuetzSat-1 to a subsidiary of DISH Network Corporation for use in connection with its U.S. DTH business.
During the launch, the first three stages of the Proton used a standard ascent profile to place the orbital unit consisting of the upper stage and its payload into a sub-orbital trajectory. From this point in the mission, the Briz M had to perform five engine firings to advance the orbital unit first to a circular parking orbit, then to an intermediate orbit, followed by a transfer orbit, and finally to a geosynchronous transfer orbit. Separation of the QuetzSat-1 satellite was scheduled to occur approximately nine hours, 13 minutes after liftoff, on Sept. 30, 2011 at 07:45 Moscow Time.
According to GKNPTs Khrunichev, the Proton manufacturer, the work of three stages of the Proton rocket and the first firing of the Briz-M upper stage went as scheduled. On the morning of Sept. 30, 2011, International Launch Services, ILS, which markets the rocket to commercial customers, confirmed a successful completion of the launch.
The Proton mission to launch QuetzSat-1 was first announced on July 14, 2009. As of March 2010, this launch was expected in the third quarter of 2011.
The launch vehicle carried the ViaSat-1 communications satellite built by Space Systems Loral of Palo Alto, Ca for ViaSat Inc. of Carlsbad, California.
The 6,740-kilogram ViaSat-1 is a Ka-band spot beam satellite, which is expected to be the highest capacity of all current and planned North American satellites with 10 times the throughput of any other Ka-band satellite. Its total capacity was claimed to be in excess of 140 Gbps, more than all other communication satellites over North America combined. It will provide broadband Internet services to customers and businesses across North America. The spacecraft was promised to transform the quality of satellite broadband service through a new system design that focuses on maximizing total bandwidth throughput. In this way, the cost per bit is reduced to a fraction of that provided by previous generation satellites, significantly changing the economics and performance of satellite communications.
The satellite with a projected life span of 15 years, was to be located at 115 degree West longitude over the Equator. It was designed to use 72 beams to cover 75 percent of the Continental United States, as well as the most populated areas of Alaska, Hawaii, and Canada.
The agreement to launch the spacecraft on Proton was announced on March 11, 2009, with the mission originally projected to lift off in the first half of 2011. However, as of May 2011, problems with external contamination of the spacecraft at the factory required to delay the launch to the end of July 2011. The mission was later planned in mid-October or mid-November 2011.
During the launch, the first three stages of the Proton will use a standard ascent profile to place the orbital unit, consisting of Briz M upper stage and the ViaSat-1 satellite, into a suborbital trajectory. From this point, Briz M will perform five planned mission maneuvers to advance the orbital unit first to a circular parking orbit, then to an intermediate orbit, followed by a transfer orbit, and finally to a geosynchronous transfer orbit. Separation of the ViaSat-1 satellite is scheduled to occur approximately nine hours, 12 minutes after liftoff. According to Roskosmos, the separation between the spacecraft and the upper stage was scheduled for 08:01 Moscow Time on Oct. 20, 2011.
On the morning of October 20, the International Launch Services, ILS, which markets Proton rockets around the world, declared the Viasat-1 mission a success.
A Proton-M rocket with a Briz-M upper stage lifted off from Site 81 in Baikonur Cosmodrome on Friday, Nov. 4, 2011, at 16:51:41 Moscow Time (8:51 a.m. EST). The vehicle is carrying the 44th trio of Uragan-M satellites for the GLONASS constellation.
A Proton rocket lifted off from Baikonur at 23:10 Moscow Time (19:10 GMT). It carried the AsiaSat 7 communications satellite for Asia Satellite Telecommunications Company Limited (AsiaSat), of Hong Kong, China.
The Proton M launch vehicle, utilized a 4-burn Briz M flight profile during this launch. The first three stages of the Proton will use a standard ascent profile to place the orbital unit (Briz M upper stage and the AsiaSat 7 satellite) into a sub-orbital trajectory. From this point in the mission, the Briz was to perform planned mission maneuvers to advance the orbital unit first to a circular parking orbit, then to an intermediate orbit, followed by a transfer orbit, and finally to a geostationary orbit.
The separation of the spacecraft from the upper stage took place as scheduled nine hours and 13 minutes after liftoff, at 08:23 Moscow Time, on Nov. 26, 2011.
The 3,813-kilogram AsiaSat 7 satellite was to replace AsiaSat 3S, one of AsiaSat's flagship satellites, operating at the orbital location of 105.5 degrees East. AsiaSat 7 was based on a Space Systems/Loral 1300 platform, designed for a lifespan of 15 years. The projected orbital maneuvering lifetime of the satellite was expected to improve due to the latest performance capabilities of the Proton.
This new-generation satellite carried 28 C-band and 17 Ku-band transponders as well as a Ka-band payload. Its region-wide C-band beam covered over 50 countries across Asia, the Middle East, Australasia and Central Asia. AsiaSat 7 was also to offer 3 Ku-band beams with intra beam switching capability, serving East Asia and South Asia, and a steerable Ku beam. AsiaSat 7 was to provide satellite capacity for television broadcast and VSAT Network services across the Asia-Pacific Region.
Plans for this launch were originally announced on Oct. 5, 2010, with the liftoff scheduled in mid-November or early December 2011.
The Luch-5A spacecraft, designed to transmit data from the Russian segment of the International Space Station, ISS, as well as from unmanned missions, likely including secret military satellites, lifted off from Pad 24 at Site 81 of Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, as scheduled at 15:17 Moscow Time, on Sunday (6:17 a.m. EST). Several minutes after the launch, GKNPTs Khrunichev, which builds the mission's launch vehicle, confirmed that the payload section had reached its initial parking orbit. Four more firings of the upper stage were planned before the completion of the launch.
The Luch-5A spacecraft, developed by ISS Reshetnev of Zheleznogorsk, shares its ride into orbit onboard the Proton-M/Briz-M rocket with the Amos-5 communications satellite, which was built by the same Russian company for an Israeli satellite operator. Both satellites were to be released in a circular orbit with an altitude of 36,000 kilometers, however, Luch-5A would have an inclination 5 degrees toward the Equator, while Amos-5 would be left in a final geostationary orbit with an inclination 0 degrees.
Summary of Proton missions in 2011 (as of April 27, 2022 ):
The Telstar 14R communications satellite undergoes testing before launch. Credit: Telesat
A Proton rocket with the Telstar 14R communications satellite is being installed on Pad 39 at Site 200 in Baikonur on May 17, 2011. Credit: Roskosmos
Proton with Telstar 14R lifts off on May 20, 2011. Credit: Khrunichev
A Proton rocket with the Garpun data relay satellite lifts off in the early hours of Sept. 21, 2011. Credit: Roskosmos
The QuetzSat-1 satellite. Credit: Space Systems Loral
A Proton-M rocket sits on the launch pad in Baikonur on Oct. 31, 2011, in preparation for the 46th GLONASS mission. Credit: Roskosmos
A Proton-M rocket shortly before launch with a trio of GLONASS satellites on Nov. 4, 2011. Credit: TsENKI
A Proton-M rocket lifts off with a trio of GLONASS satellite on Nov. 4, 2011. Credit: TsENKI
A Proton rocket successfully delivered the AsiaSat 7 satellite on November 25, 2011. Credit: Roskosmos
A Proton rocket with Luch-5A and Amos-5 satellites lifts off during a rare daylight launch on Dec. 11, 2011. Credit: TsENKI