On 7 August at 1:31 a.m. local time, a Proton Breeze M vehicle carrying the Express MD2 and Telkom 3 satellites launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The Proton M launch vehicle performed nominally, however, the Orbital Unit (OU), comprised of the Breeze M upper stage and the two spacecraft, did not properly reach its transfer orbit and was placed into an off-nominal intermediate orbit. The Aerospace Defense and Roscosmos, are currently monitoring the OU and efforts are now underway to establish contact with the Express MD2 and Telkom 3 satellites.
An investigation into the anomaly began immediately. A Russian State Commission of inquiry has been established and is in the process of determining the reasons for the anomaly. ILS will release details when data become available. While this was a Russian Federal mission, ILS will form its own Failure Review Oversight Board (FROB) in parallel with the Russian State Commission. The FROB will review the commission’s final report and corrective action plan, in accordance with U.S. and Russian government export control regulations.
ILS remains committed to providing reliable, timely launch services for all its customers. To this end, ILS will work diligently with its partner Khrunichev to return Proton to flight as soon as possible.
Further updates will be provided on the investigation as they become available.