Second Commercial Proton SSTO Mission
BAIKONUR COSMODROME, Kazakhstan, June 4, 2013 – International Launch Services (ILS) successfully placed the SES-6 satellite into a super-synchronous transfer orbit (SSTO) today, for SES of Luxembourg. With this launch, ILS, a leader in providing mission integration and launch services to the global commercial satellite industry, completed its second SSTO mission with the Proton vehicle.
The Proton launch vehicle, carrying the SES-6 satellite, lifted off from Pad 39 at the Baikonur Cosmodrome yesterday at 15:18:31 local time (09:18:31 GMT and 05:18:31 EDT). SES-6, built on Astrium’s reliable E3000 platform, weighed over 6 metric tons at liftoff. After a 15-hour, 31-minute mission, the satellite was placed into the target orbit by the Proton launcher.
This SSTO mission utilized a 5-burn Breeze M mission design to advance the orbital unit first to a circular parking orbit, then to an intermediate orbit, followed by a transfer orbit, and finally to a super-synchronous transfer orbit. SSTO missions can provide customers with increased performance enabling them to maximize spacecraft operational lifetime. This was the 22nd SES satellite launched on an ILS Proton and the 16th Astrium-built satellite launched on Proton overall. SES-6 is the fourth mission to be launched by ILS under the Multi Launch Agreement (MLA) signed in June 2007 between SES and ILS.
As a multipurpose satellite, SES-6 consists of both Ku-band and C-band transponders. The satellite is planned to replace NSS-806 at 319.5 degrees east (or 40.5 west) longitude. This orbital location will allow SES to provide enhanced capacity over North and South America, the Caribbean, Europe and the Atlantic Ocean region. The expanded payload will also support DTH and VSAT platforms in emerging markets.
Since its maiden flight in 1965, this was the 387th aggregate launch of the Proton vehicle, including both federal and commercial missions. The Proton Breeze M vehicle is developed and built by Khrunichev Research and Production Space Center (Khrunichev) of Moscow, Russia’s premier space industry manufacturer and majority shareholder in ILS.
ILS President Phil Slack stated, “This is a momentous occasion that we share with SES. Our relationship goes back two decades, starting with the signing of the first commercial Proton launch agreement – for the ASTRA 1F satellite. We thank SES for continuing to entrust us with their business, with this 22nd launch. I also want to thank all of the teams involved at SES, Astrium, Khrunichev and ILS for their tireless work leading up to this successful launch of SES-6.”
Romain Bausch, SES CEO, added “With this launch we are able to fulfil demand in Latin America and the Caribbean, where we are seeing rapid growth. We will also be able to provide uninterrupted coverage for our customers in the Americas and Europe. Our long-standing relationship with ILS and Khrunichev should be attributed to their flexibility, their robust vehicle and their stout determination. We look forward to our continued partnership and future launches.”