The Satellite 2012 Conference, held Monday-March 12-14 in Washington, DC was host to over 11,000 attendees from all corners of the globe representing a wide range of top executives, technologists, service providers and end-users in the satellite industry.
ILS’s Vice President and Chief Technical Officer (CTO), Jim Bonner, participated as a panelist in one of the Engineering Pre-Day programs entitled, “CTO Roundtable Breakfast: The Next Generation for Satellite Technology.” The session covered new advances, solutions, trends and developments on both the satellite and the launch side of the business as well as how the industry is meeting customers’ technical demands with a look towards the future.
Led by moderator, Denis Curtin, Principal of Eagle Group Partners, and in addition to Bonner, participants included Thierry Guillemin of Intelsat, Martin Halliwell of SES, Adrian Morris from Hughes, Ruy Pinto of Inmarsat and Herman Pon from Iridium Communications. The following is a summary of ILS’ participation in the panel discussion.
The Evolutionary Development of the Proton Launch System Addressing technological enhancements that have been made to the Proton vehicle to improve performance, Bonner stated that the heritage Proton system has been through a series of improvements with 100 percent flight success on all elements to date.
The Phase IV enhancements, now in development, will provide 150 kg of additional performance to geosynchronous transfer orbit bringing the total payload systems mass capability to 6.3MT to a reference orbit with a 1500 m/sec residual delta V. The Proton evolutionary enhancements have provided a total increase in payload lift capability of over 1200 kg. Later this month, ILS will fly its first mission to a Super Synchronous Transfer Orbit, a mission design that will provide 200 kg of additional performance. These enhancements will be incorporated into the manifest in 2014. Proton has maintained the position as the preferred heavy launch vehicle of choice of by incorporating incremental performance improvements designed to address the growing spacecraft mass growth requirements.
Meeting Customers’ Requirements with Flexible Solutions
As a launch services provider to a dynamic industry, ILS needs to be able to react to changes. One example of how ILS is meeting the changing requirements of operators is accommodating new technologies that our customers would like to pursue, such as large spacecraft with hybrid or all electric propulsion. In removing the chemical propulsion systems on standard spacecraft, there is additional room for larger payloads to be launched. ILS and Khrunichev are developing a 5-meter fairing to accommodate such payloads, working closely with spacecraft manufacturers and operators to meet their specifications. Another example is the launch of dual payloads. Proton has a proven track record of launching multiple spacecraft to different orbits (with the Iridium, Glonass, Express, Cosmos and Raduga spacecraft), and most recently, as a commercial first with the shared launch of SES-3 and KazSat-2 last year.
Next Generation for Launch: Angara
The next generation Angara launch system will initially support federal missions with first flight test anticipated in late 2013 on an Angara 1.2 vehicle. ILS is offering a commercial payload opportunity for the second launch of Angara family of launch vehicles using the heavy Angara 5. The idea is to provide our commercial customers and the insurance community an early view of the Angara system. Full commercial use is not anticipated until 2016 after new launch facilities are constructed for commercial use. There would be an overlap of the use of the Proton and Angara vehicles for a period of approximately 3-4 years.
With 97% of the independent tests, as well as the comprehensive tests of the rocket’s assemblies and bays now complete, the Angara system is on a steady development path. Angara engines will use an environmentally friendly liquid oxygen-kerosene mixture and the family of vehicles will have lightweight, medium, and heavy lift variants. The first stage of the Angara system has flown 100% successfully during the first two missions of KSLV in 2009 and 2010.