Proton-M with Express-AM4 satellite blasts off from Baikonur

BAIKONUR, Kazakhstan, August 18 (Itar-Tass) ——A heavy Proton-M carrier rocket with the Russian communications satellite Express-AM4 aboard blasted off from Baikonur on Thursday, August 18.

“The active leg of the Proton’s flight will continue for approximately 582 seconds, after which the orbital unit consisting of the satellite and the Briz-M booster will start flying on its own,” the spokesman for the Khrunichev State Space Scientific Production Centre, Alexander Bobrenev, said.

“The sustainer engine will be activated five times to push the orbital unit from the sub-orbital trajectory with an inclination of 51.55 degrees to the target orbit where the satellite is to separate,” he said.

“The total time from the lift-off to separation is 9 hours 13 minutes. In the geostationary orbit the satellite will take a spot at 80 degrees east longitude,” the spokesman said.

The new Express-AM4 satellite was created by Khruinichev in association with Europe’s EADS Astrium, which supplied the payload module. The satellite is based on the well-proven satellite platform Eurostar E3000, which is used by leading international operators of satellite communication services. The satellite weighs 1,450 kilograms and is designed to operate for 15 years.

It is equipped with 63 transponders in C-, Ku-, Ka-and L-bands. Its antennas provide sustainable coverage of almost the entire territory of Russia as well as of the CIS and Central Europe.

The satellite is designed for providing a package of communications services (digital television, telephony, video conferencing, data transmission, access to the Internet) and for creating communication networks based on the VSAT technology.

“During the launch of Express-AM4 the falling area for the first stage and fairing will be located in the Karaganda region, Kazakhstan, for the second stage, in the Altai Republic, and for the third stage, in the Pacific Ocean,” the Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) said.

The Proton-M carrier rocket has three stages and is equipped with liquid propellant engines. Its takeoff weight is 700 tonnes.

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