From Khrunichev Press Release
BAIKONUR COSMODROME, Kazakhstan, Feb, 11, 2009 — Two new Russian telecommunications satellites – the Express-AM44 and Express MD1-were launched aboard a Proton-M launcher with the Breeze M upper stage, lifted off from Baikonur at 03:03 Moscow time (MT) today, on February 11. The satellites were successfully delivered into predicted geostationary orbit. This was the first dual launch of satellites of a new series Express AM and Express-MD.
The new Express-series satellites, ordered and operated by Russian Satellite Communications Company-RSCC, were built within the Russian Federal Space Program for 2006-2015. The Express AM33 satellite was the first RSCC satellite launched within the Program. The Express-AM33 was successfully launched into orbit aboard Proton Breeze M in January of 2008 year.(This was the first Proton launch in 2008.)
When operational, the new satellites will be capable of satisfying the growing demands of the Russian state and commercial customers on up-to-date communications and broadcasting, data, Internet and VSAT services.
The Express-AM44 satellite is manufactured by Information Satellite Systems – Reshetnev Company (Russia) in cooperation with Thales Alenia Space (France) on RSCC' order. The satellite will carry 10 C-band (40 MHz) transponders, 16 Ku-band (54 MHz) transponders, and 1 L-band (1 MHz) transponder with improved power characteristics.
The Express-MD1 light satellite is manufactured by Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center (Russia) in cooperation with Thales Alenia Space (Italy) on RSCC' order. The satellite will be equipped with 8 C-band (40 MHz) transponders and 1 L-band (0,5 MHz) transponder.
Khrunichev Space Research and Production Space Center of Moscow is the developer and manufacturer of the Proton family of launch vehicles and the Breeze M upper stage.
The Proton vehicle is Russia's premier heavy-lift launcher and has been widely used to deliver governmental and commercial payloads into GEO and escape trajectories.
This dual -payload launch was the first Proton flight of 2009 year. An enhanced version of the Proton vehicle was used to insert both satellites (with total mass over 3700 kg) directly into GEO. Earlier in July 2007, for the first time, the Proton enhancements were successfully demonstrated with the launch of such a massive payload as the DirecTV 10 satellite.
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