Third Proton Launch of 2010 Successful: Trio of GLONASS Satellites in Orbit
A Proton M launch vehicle lifted off carrying three GLONASS navigation satellites from Baikonur Cosmodrome (pad 39) at 00:19 am Moscow Time (MT) today.
The lift off of the launch vehicle was nominal. The Proton’s Ascent Unit (Block DM upper stage and the attached GLONASS payload) separation from the Proton third stage booster occurred successfully and on schedule. Then Block DM propelled satellites into target orbit.
The launch was conducted under the Russian Federation “Global Navigation System Program”- CLONASS.
Proton,Russia’s premier heavy–lift launcher, has been widely used to insert governmental and commercial payloads into near-Earth orbits and escape trajectories. Khrunichev Space Center is the designer and manufacturer of the Proton launch system.
This is the third Proton flight of 2010. Proton Breeze M also performed two successful missions in the year, in January and in February, with Russia’s military payload and American communications satellite Intelsat 16, respectively.
The next to orbit with the aid of Proton rocket will be another American communications satellite, the EchoStar 14.
International Launch Services Inc. (ILS) has been awarded a contract for launching the satellite on a Proton M rocket for U.S. satellite fleet operator Echo Star.
The launch of the EchoStar 14 satellite is scheduled for March 20.