Contact lost with Express-AM4 satellite

MOSCOW, August 18 (Itar-Tass) — The new Russian communications satellite Express-AM4 that was launched at 01:25 MSK from the Baikonur cosmodrome, by all appearances, has failed to reach the target geostationary orbit.

“After the fourth (of the total five) firing of the upper stage the telemetry system flow stopped from the orbiter,” the southern cosmodrome sources told Itar-Tass.

The coordinates of the satellite are being ascertained.

Russia’s new high-energy communication satellite Express-AM4, created at the Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Centre (GKNPTs) with the participation of the European company EADS Astrium, was launched on Thursday by the Proton-M heavy carrier rocket with the Briz-M upper stage. The satellite is designed for the provision of a package of communications services (digital TV and radio broadcasting, telephony, video conferencing, data transmission, Internet access) and for the creation of communication networks based on the VSAT technology.

The spacecraft is designed on the base of the well-proven satellite platform Eurostar E3000, used by leading international operators of satellite communications. The satellite’s weight is 1,450 kg, the warranty period of active operation on a geostationary orbit – 15 years.

The new satellite was launched into a geostationary orbit to the control point of 80 degrees East longitude. It is equipped with 63 transponders with C-, Ku-, Ka-and L-bands. The spacecraft antennas will ensure stable coverage of almost the whole territory of Russia, as well as the CIS and Central Europe.

The RF Ministry of Communications and Mass Media noted that the Express-AM4 is a powerful new-class spacecraft. Its total capacity is 2722 MHz, i.e., almost one-third of the resource of the national operating communications constellation comprising 11 satellites. In addition to C-, L-and Ku-bands, this spacecraft has a new for Russia Ka-band.

The Proton-M is a three-stage, liquid-propelled rocket. Its lift-off mass is 700 tonnes.

Astrium is an aerospace subsidiary of the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS) and which provides civil and defence space systems and services. In 2008, Astrium had a turnover of 4.3 billion euros and 15,000 employees in France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Spain and the Netherlands.

Its three main areas of activity are: EADS Astrium Satellites for spacecraft and ground segment; EADS Astrium Space Transportation for launchers and orbital infrastructure; EADS Astrium Services for the development and delivery of satellite services.


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