Russian Rocket Launches European Broadcast Satellite
PARIS - Satellite-fleet operator SES Astra expects to begin commercial service of its Astra 1M satellite in January at the company?s prime orbital slot, 19.2 degrees east, following a successful Wednesday launch by an International Launch Services (ILS) Russian Proton-M rocket, Luxembourg-based SES announced.
The 11,684-pound (5,300-kg) Astra 1M, a Eurostar E3000 platform built by Astrium Satellites, carries 36 high-power Ku-band transponders, and three antennas and will provide direct-broadcast television, including high-definition programming, throughout Europe. The satellite is capable of generating 10 kilowatts of power and is expected to operate for 15 years.
The Proton Breeze M rocket, built by Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center of Moscow, blasted off from Russia?s Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 3:44 p.m. EST (2044 GMT). The Breeze M upper stage conducted five ignitions before placing Astra 1M into geostationary transfer orbit nine hours and 12 minutes after liftoff, according to Reston, Va.-based ILS, the company that commercializes Proton launches.
The launch is the third successful ILS liftoff since a March failure, which destroyed the SES Americom AMC-14 satellite. A Proton in a different configuration, carrying a Russian government satellite, also was launched since the March failure.
ILS? next launch, scheduled for December, is expected to carry the Ciel-2 telecommunications satellite into orbit for Canada?s start-up Ciel Satellite LP, which is majority-owned by SES.
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