A Proton rocket with Ekspress-AMU1 satellite on the launch pad in Baikonur.
A Proton-M rocket with a Briz-M upper stage is scheduled to lift off on Dec. 24, 2015, at 00:30:50 Moscow Time (4:30 p.m. EST on December 23) from Pad 39 at Site 200 in Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan. The launch vehicle will be carrying the Ekspress-AMU1 satellite for the Russian operator Kosmicheskaya Svyaz.
According to GKNPTs Khrunichev, the mission to deliver Ekspress-AMU1 will follow a standard flight profile, featuring five firings of the Briz-M upper stage.
Moments after a vertical liftoff from Baikonur, the first, second and third stages of the Proton-M rocket are programmed to propel the payload section, including the Briz-M stage and the satellite along an eastbound ascent trajectory from Baikonur, matching an orbital inclination of 51.5 degrees toward the Equator. The payload section should separate from the third stage on a suborbital trajectory, after which, Briz-M will fire its engine for the first time to reach an initial parking orbit. The second Briz-M's maneuver should push the stack to an intermediate orbit, followed by the third and fourth firings to reach transfer orbits. As usual, the empty external tank of the Briz-M is scheduled to separate between the third and fourth maneuvers.
Once the payload section reaches the apogee of the second transfer orbit, the Briz-M is programmed to conduct the fifth and final engine firing to enter a geostationary transfer orbit. The stage should then place the spacecraft in the correct attitude before separation nine hours 12 minutes into the mission, at 09:42 Moscow Time (1:42 a.m. EST) on December 24.
Following the satellite release and an orbit-measurement session, Briz-M will make two additional maneuvers to increase its distance from the satellite and to enable safe opening of its onboard valves to empty pressurized compartments. The procedure is designed to prevent a possible explosion and the resulting proliferation of space junk.
Ekspress-AMU1 communications satellite
Update: 22.00 MEZ
Starke Winde verzögern Proton Einführung mit Ekspress-AMU1
PROTON SUCCESSFULLY LAUNCHES THE EXPRESS AMU-1 SATELLITE
Today, on 25 December 2015, a Proton-M launch vehicle carrying a Russian communications satellite Express-AMU1 lifted off from Baikonur at 00:31 Moscow Time. This was the eighth and final space launch in 2015 using the heavy-lift Russian-made Proton.
The launch and flight of the launch vehicle proceeded nominally. At the design time, the orbital block comprising the Express-AMU1 SC and Breeze-M upper stage separated from the Proton’s Stage III and continued the mission in the autonomous mode. Subsequently, the spacecraft was injected in its target orbit using the Breeze-M Upper Stage main engine.
Separation of the spacecraft from the upper stage occurred at 25 December at 9 hours and 12 minutes after the liftoff.
The Express-AMU1 satellite was manufactured for RSCC, Russia’s leading operator of space communications satellites. The contract to build the satellite was signed with EADS Astrium, currently integrated with Airbus Defence and Space which is the defence/space arm of the Аirbus Group. The Express-AMU1 SC liftoff mass was approximately 5900 kg.
The Proton rocket and the Breeze-M upper stage booster are produced by the Khrunichev Space Center.