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Delivery of Express-AM1 communications satellite to geostationary orbit using an upper stage of Block DM type

Status Report From: RSC Energia
Posted: Friday, November 5, 2004

October 30, 2004. Baikonur launch site.

An upper stage of Block DM type has completed, with high degree of precision, the insertion into the target geostationary orbit (GEO) of a Russian communications satellite Express-AM1 designed to provide a multiservice package (digital TV and radio broadcasting, telephony, video conferencing, data communications, broadband Internet access), as well as to further develop communications networks based on VSAT small station technology. The 2.54-ton satellite has 28 transponders (out of which nine operate in C-band, 18 in Ku-band, and one in L-band).Its slot in geostationary orbit is 40E.

The upper stage carrying the satellite was launched from a low Earth orbit, where they had been put by a launch vehicle (LV) Proton-K, which had been launched from Baikonur launch site at 02:11 Moscow Time.

In full accordance with the mission plan, after two flawless consecutive burns of the upper stage main engine, the satellite separated from the upper stage and switched over to the autonomous flight mode at 08:45 Moscow Time. This is the 247th successful launch for the upper stages of Block D and DM types, and it already is the sixth launch in 2004.

Upper stages of Block D and Block DM type, developed and manufactured by S.P.Korolev RSC Energia, were designed to deliver spacecraft from low Earth orbits to high-energy orbits, including GEO, as well as to inject them into translunar and interplanetary trajectories. They have been in use since 1967, and there are 11 design versions, including six that have been developed since mid-1990s. They operate on pollution-free propellant components (liquid oxygen and kerosene). Currently they are operated in combination with a heavy launch vehicle Proton-K and a medium launch vehicle Zenit-2S, which is a part of the Sea Launch system. In 2003 one launch of Block DM delivered to the geostationary orbit two telecommunication spacecraft Yamal-200 for similar purposes. These spacecraft were designed and built by RSC Energia on the basis of the multi-purpose satellite bus Victoria. The total mass of the spacecraft was more than 2.6 tons.They carry the total of 33 transponders (27 operate in C-band,six in Ku-band). When the integrated launch vehicle Zenit-3SL (Zenit-2S LV with upper stage Block DM-SL) is launched from a launch site near the equator, it is possible to deliver to GEO spacecraft with a mass of up to 3 tons, which is comparable with capacity of heavy launch vehicles launched from high-latitude launch sites.

The upper stage was launched and its flight was monitored with participation of S.P.Korolev RSC Energia specialists.

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