ILS Proton rocket launches SES-6 satellite to geostationary orbit

ses-6 launch

Telecommunications satellite SES-6 has been launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan aboard the International Launch Services (ILS) Proton vehicle.

After a 15-hour, 31-minute mission, the SES-6 satellite was successfully placed into geostationary transfer orbit by the Breeze M upper stage of the Proton rocket, a development that marks the completion of second super-synchronous transfer orbit (SSTO) mission with the Proton vehicle for ILS.

Featuring 48 Ku-band and 43 C-band transponders, the SES-6 is built on Astrium's E3000 platform and weighed more than 6t at the time of liftoff.

It is designed for 13kW of spacecraft power at the end of its 15-year lifetime.

The SSTO mission employed a 5-burn Breeze M mission design to raise the orbital unit first to a circular parking orbit, then to an intermediate orbit, followed by a transfer orbit, and to a super-synchronous transfer orbit.

These missions are capable of providing customers with increased performance, enabling maximisation of operational lifetime of spacecraft.

The SES-6 is the fourth mission to be launched by ILS as part of a multi-launch agreement (MLA) signed in June 2007 between SES and ILS.

It is the 22nd SES satellite launched on an ILS Proton and the 16th Astrium-built satellite launched on ILS Proton Breeze M vehicle, which was developed by Khrunichev State Research and Space Production Center of Moscow.

"The SES-6 is the fourth mission to be launched by ILS as part of a multi-launch agreement signed in June 2007."

The satellite is planned to replace the existing NSS-806 at the prime orbital location 40.5° W, and will provide enhanced capacity over North and South America, the Caribbean, Europe and the Atlantic Ocean regions.

The expanded payload of the satellite will also support direct-to-home (DTH) and very small aperture terminal (VSAT) platforms in emerging markets.

Following the launch, SES announced the Brazilian telecommunication firm Oi as a new anchor customer, which signed a long-term agreement to provide DTH services in Brazil, a development that makes Oi the largest user of the new satellite.

Image: The SES-6, which is built on Astrium's E3000 platform, carried 48 Ku-band and 43 C-band transponders and weighed more than 6t at liftoff. Photo: courtesy of ILS International Launch Services Inc.

Defence Technology