ILS Proton Lofts Yamal-401, Setting Stage for Astra 2G Launch

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PARIS — An International Launch Services Proton rocket on Dec. 15 successfully placed the Yamal-401 satellite into geostationary orbit following four ignition-and-coast phases of its Breeze-M upper stage, ILS and the Russian space agency, Roscosmos, announced.

​Thales Alenia Space of France and Italy, which provided the satellite’s payload to prime contractor ISS Reshetnev of Russia, said Yamal—401 was healthy in orbit.

​The launch was the 400th mission for Proton, which is built by Khrunichev Space Center of Moscow. For commercial missions, whose distinction from government missions is not always easy to discern in Russia, it is Reston, Virginia-based ILS that is the commercial contracting authority. ILS is majority owned by Khrunichev.

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Yamal-401 launch. Credit: ILS photo

​It was ILS’s second launch in 2014 but the seventh overall for Proton. A final ILS Proton launch of the year is expected in late December, when Luxembourg-based SES’s Astra 2G telecommunications satellite is scheduled for launch.

​Astra 2G carries a military payload for the Luxembourg government that, under international regulatory procedures, must be activated before January or risk forfeiting its rights to the intended orbital slot.

​Yamal-401 carries 53 transponders in C- and Ku-band, or 83 when measured in 36-megahertz equivalents. It uses a Reshetnev Express 2000 platform, designed to operate for 15 years. The satellite will be stationed at 90 degrees east longitude.