First Proton Launch of the Year; 85th ILS Proton Launch Overall
BAIKONUR COSMODROME, Kazakhstan, February 15, 2014 – International Launch Services (ILS), a leader in providing mission integration and launch services to the global commercial satellite industry, successfully launched the TURKSAT-4A satellite into orbit today on an ILS Proton vehicle. The satellite was built by Mitsubishi Electric Corporation for TURKSAT Satellite Communication, Cable TV and Operation Inc. Co. (TURKSAT A.S.), one of the world’s leading operators in the satellite communication business. This was the first ILS Proton launch for both the satellite operator and the manufacturer; it was also the first Proton launch of the year.
The ILS Proton Breeze M vehicle launched from Pad 24 at the Baikonur Cosmodrome at 03:09 today local time (14 February: 21:09 GMT and 16:09 EST). The first three stages of the Proton used a standard ascent profile to place the orbital unit (Breeze M upper stage and the TURKSAT-4A satellite) into a sub-orbital trajectory. From this point in the mission, the Breeze M performed planned mission maneuvers 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 geostationary transfer orbit. Separation of the TURKSAT-4A satellite occurred approximately 9 hours and 13 minutes after liftoff.
TURKSAT-4A will provide telecommunication and direct TV broadcasting services over a wide geographic region between west of China and east of England, spanning Turkey, as well as Europe, Central Asia, the Middle East and Africa. TURKSAT-4A is a multi-band satellite with an expected on-orbit maneuver lifespan of 30 years. The satellite will provide high flexibility of switchability and connectivity among different service areas to its customers.
The satellite weighed 4.8 metric tons at liftoff and is the ninth satellite built on Mitsubishi Electric’s DS2000 platform, a fully proven modular platform with the flexibility to handle a broad range of payload applications.
ILS President Phil Slack stated, “This is the first ILS Proton launch for our partners, Mitsubishi Electric and TURKSAT, and we are happy to have such a strong foundation for our new relationship. We are honored to be entrusted to deliver our customers’ satellites to orbit. Thank you to all of the teams at Mitsubishi Electric, TURKSAT, Khrunichev, and ILS, who have made this launch a success.”
Ozkan Dalbay, TURKSAT A.S. CEO and Chairman of the Board, said, “The TURKSAT-4A satellite will increase coverage and enhance customer services across Turkey as well as through areas of Europe, Central Asia, the Middle East and Africa. Today's launch is a significant milestone that strengthens our ties with both ILS and Khrunichev. Thank you to everyone involved in the success of this launch.”
Mitsubishi Electric General Manager of Space Systems Division, Yasunori Kamochi added, “We appreciate that through ILS’ conscientious efforts, they conducted a flawless mission leading to the successful launch of TURKSAT 4A, our first Proton launch. We are certain that ILS’ assurance in quality and scheduling will allow our customer to engage its satellite mission in a timely manner. We would like to thank everyone involved with the TURKSAT-4A launch for their diligence and outstanding capabilities.”
This was the 85th ILS Proton Launch and the 394th launch for Proton overall since its maiden flight in 1965. The Proton 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.