Astra 2G launchBAIKONUR COSMODROME, Kazakhstan, December 28, 2014 – International Launch Services (ILS), a leader in providing mission integration and launch services to the global commercial satellite industry, successfully placed the Astra 2G satellite into a geosynchronous transfer orbit (GTO) today for SES of Luxembourg. SES is a world-leading satellite operator, providing satellite communications solutions to broadcast, telecom, corporate and government customers worldwide. This was the 8th Proton launch of the year and the 3rd ILS mission for 2014.

The ASTRA 2G satellite launched onboard an ILS Proton at 3:37 a.m. today local time, from Baikonur Cosmodrome (4:37 p.m. on December 27 EST, 21:37 GMT and 22:37 CET).  The Proton M launch vehicle, utilized a 5-burn Breeze M mission design. The first three stages of the ILS Proton vehicle used a standard ascent profile to place the orbital unit (Breeze M upper stage and the ASTRA 2G satellite) into a sub-orbital trajectory.  The Breeze M then performed planned mission maneuvers to advance the orbital unit first to a circular parking orbit, then into an intermediate orbit, followed by a transfer orbit, and finally to GTO. Successful separation of the ASTRA 2G satellite occurred approximately 9 hours, 12 minutes after liftoff.

The satellite was built by Airbus Defence and Space on the highly reliable Eurostar E3000 platform.  This was the 24th SES satellite and the 18th Airbus satellite launched onboard an ILS Proton. Weighing nearly 6 metric tons at liftoff, ASTRA 2G is the third spacecraft of a three satellite investment program (ASTRA 2E, ASTRA 2F, ASTRA 2G) that provides replacement as well as incremental satellite capacity in the orbital arc of 28.2/28.5 degrees East. ASTRA 2G carries 62 Ku-band transponders as well as 4 Ka-band transponders. The different beams will provide coverage over the UK and Ireland, Europe and West Africa. The satellite will also support SATMED, a satellite based e-health platform, conceived by SES and supported by the Luxembourg Government and the Ministry for Cooperation and Humanitarian Action to improve public health in emerging and developing countries.

ILS President Phil Slack said, “It is an honor to launch our 24th mission for our longstanding customer SES. From our very first ILS Proton mission with SES’s Astra 2F in 1996 to today’s launch, we are pleased to enable the growth of industry innovator, SES for eighteen years. The teams at SES, Airbus Defence and Space, Khrunichev and ILS are to be commended for their tireless efforts and dedication to the success of the mission.”

“ILS Proton has now launched nearly half of our operational fleet,” said Martin Halliwell, Chief Technology Officer of SES. “ASTRA 2G will enhance and secure existing offerings to major direct-to-home (DTH) markets in the UK and Ireland, while meeting the requirements of some of the largest DTH broadcasters in Europe. Its Ka-band capabilities will be a critical communication link between West Africa and Europe. We thank all of the teams for their work on this important mission.”

The ASTRA 2G launch also marked the 401st launch for Proton since its maiden flight in 1965 and the 87th ILS Proton Launch overall. The Proton M 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.

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By Expat