Russian rocket with two foreign satellites launched from Baikonur spaceport

  • Russian rocket with two foreign satellites launched from Baikonur spaceport

Russian rocket with two foreign satellites launched from Baikonur spaceport

A Proton rocket blasted off from its Baikonur, Kazakhstan cosmodrome on October 9th on a long journey to orbit, with two important satellite passengers on board.

The upper part of a Russian Proton-M carrier rocket comprising a Breeze-M booster, a European Eutelsat-5WB and a US MEV-1 satellite successfully separated from the rocket's third stage, according to an online broadcast on the website of Russia's State Space Corporation Roscosmos on Wednesday.

The launch is ILS' first of the year, and while Russian Federation has launched multiple spacecraft on the same Proton before, it is the company's first dual launch carrying two commercial satellites.

Built by Airbus Defence and Space and Northrop Grummanthe new satellite will mainly serve markets in Europe and North Africa via a Ku-band payload of 35 equivalent 36MHz transponders.

Eutelsat 5 West B will incorporate a European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service payload that will augment the U.S. Global Positioning System to improve accuracy and reliability of positioning information.

Eutelsat 5 West B is a Ku-band satellite that is meant to be located at 5° West, a key video neighborhood addressing predominantly French, Italian and Algerian broadcast markets. This satellite programme reflects outstanding collaboration between Eutelsat, GSA, Airbus Defence and Space, Northrop Grumman, International Launch Services and Khrunichev. The satellites are both manufactured by Northrop Grumman and based on the GeoStar-2 (Eutelsat 5 West B) and GeoStar-3 (MEV-1) platforms.

The MEV-1 and Eutelsat 5 West B launch was ILS's first and only mission for this year.

Tom Wilson, President, SpaceLogistics LLC added: “The launch and eventual docking of MEV-1, the industrys first life extension vehicle, demonstrates Northrop Grummans and SpaceLogistics ability to innovate and deliver game-changing technology.

"In 2009, we invested in our rendezvous, proximity, and docking laboratory and began developing our own internal concept for this Mission Extension Vehicle".

For this mission, MEV-1 is targeting Intelsat 901.

MEV-1 itself has a 15-year lifespan, and can dock and undock several times, affording the potential to service multiple satellites.

A year later, Intelsat signed a second contract with Northrop Grumman for a second MEV which is now under construction for launch in spring of 2020. SpaceLogistics LLCs initial service, using MEV-1, will extend the life of the Intelsat 901 satellite for five years.

So how will this work?

After being dropped off in this orbit, MEV-1 will use it solar electric propulsion thrusters to gradually boost its orbit up to full circular GEO altitude over the course of three to three-and-a-half months. Headquartered in Paris, with offices and teleports around the globe, Eutelsat assembles 1,000 men and women from 46 countries who are dedicated to delivering the highest quality of service.

The GEO graveyard is the place where GEO satellites, just before the end of their lifetimes, are raised into to get them out of the operational GEO belt.