BAIKONUR COSMODROME, Kazakhstan, September 30, 2013 – International Launch Services (ILS), a leader in providing mission integration and launch services to the global commercial satellite industry, successfully placed the ASTRA 2E satellite into a geosynchronous transfer orbit (GTO) today for SES of Luxembourg. SES is a world-leading satellite operator, providing satellite communications solutions to broadcast, telecom, corporate and government customers worldwide. This was the fifth ILS Proton launch of the year.
The ASTRA 2E satellite launched onboard an ILS Proton at 3:38 a.m. today local time, from Baikonur Cosmodrome (September 29: 5:38 p.m. EDT and 21:38 GMT). The first three stages of the ILS Proton vehicle used a standard ascent profile to place the orbital unit (Breeze M upper stage and the ASTRA 2E satellite) into a sub-orbital trajectory. The Breeze M then performed planned mission maneuvers to advance the orbital unit first to a circular parking orbit, then into an intermediate orbit, followed by a transfer orbit, and finally to GTO. Successful separation of the ASTRA 2E satellite occurred exactly 9 hours, 12 minutes after liftoff.
The satellite was manufactured by Astrium and was built on the highly reliable Eurostar E3000 platform. This was the 23rd SES satellite and the 17th Astrium satellite launched onboard an ILS Proton. Weighing approximately 6 metric tons at liftoff, ASTRA 2E will have a wingspan of 40m once its solar arrays are deployed in orbit, and a spacecraft power of 13kW at the end of its 15-year design lifetime. ASTRA 2E is equipped with 60 Ku-band transponders, and 4 Ka-band transponders that include 1 interconnect. Its final orbital arc will be 28.2/28.5 degrees east longitude; from there the satellite will deliver high-performance direct-to-home (DTH) and next generation broadband services to Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
ILS President Phil Slack stated, “As we continue our long-standing relationship with SES, we value each mission. Beginning in 1996 with the launch of ASTRA 1F, ASTRA 2E is now the 23rd ILS Proton launch for SES. We thank the individual teams at SES, Astrium, Khrunichev and ILS for their commitment to launch success. Most of all we thank SES for their trust in ILS and Khrunichev to support their plans for expansion. We look forward to many more years of working together.”
“With the success of this launch, ASTRA 2E will be able to provide growth and replacement capacity for SES’ orbiting fleet. ASTRA 2E is now poised to help ensure reliable and secure connectivity,” said Romain Bausch, SES CEO. “This is the 54th satellite launch for SES, and almost half of our fleet has been launched by ILS Proton. We appreciate the determination and dedication that the ILS and Khrunichev teams consistently provide to SES.”
The ASTRA 2E launch also marked the 389th launch for Proton since its maiden flight in 1965 and the 82nd ILS Proton Launch overall. The Proton M Breeze M vehicle is developed and built by Khrunichev Research and Production Space Center of Moscow, Russia’s premier space industry manufacturer and majority shareholder in ILS.