On 14 September at 10:00:00 pm Moscow Time, Proton-M ILV lifted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome to orbit Express-AM8, a Russian communications satellite. This year, it is Proton’s fifth launch, and the second to inject an Express-AM-series spacecraft in 2015.
The launch vehicle liftoff and flight proceeded nominally. At the appropriate time the orbital block (spacecraft + DM-03 upper stage) separated from LV Stage III and continued its autonomous mission. Subsequently, the spacecraft was injected to the target orbit using the upper stage main engine.
The spacecraft successfully separated from the upper stage on 15 September at 04-37-00 Moscow Time, i.e. 6h37min after the liftoff.
The Express-AM8 satellite was built for FGUP RSCC by ОАО Satellite Information Systems – Reshetnev Company in conjunction with Thales Alenia Space (France). The spacecraft mass is approximately 2100 kg. Express-AM8 is intended for providing telecommunications services in Russia, and in Europe, Africa, South and North America. The satellite also supports presidential and government communications.
The Proton-M was designed, and is produced serially by FGUP Khrunichev Space Center (KhSC). The upper stage, Block DM, was designed and is manufactured by Energia RSC. In March 2015, the Proton-M ILV with the KhSC-developed Breeze-M upper stage successfully inserted the Express-AM7 telecommunications satellite into its target orbit. The spacecraft mass at separation equaled approximately 5700 kg.