Baikonur Launch Succeeds As Proton Places Hot Bird 8 In Orbit
A Proton Breeze M launch vehicle blasted off from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to place the Hot Bird 8 satellite in orbit.
It was the fourth launch of the year for International Launch Services (ILS).
The launcher lifted off at 3:48 a.m. Saturday local time (or 21:48 GMT Friday, 5:48 p.m. ET Friday ET).
The mission lasted 9 hours and 11 minutes before the satellite was released into a geosynchronous transfer orbit.
This satellite is a Eurostar E3000 model built for Eutelsat by a unit of the European Aeronautic Defense and Space Co., EADS Space.
From its final orbital position of 13 degrees East longitude, Hot Bird 8will serve customers in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa.
It was Eutelsat’s second launch on an ILS Proton vehicle, following six on ILS’s other vehicle, the American Atlas launcher.
ILS is a joint venture of Lockheed Martin Corp. [LMT] and Russian rocket builder Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center. The joint venture markets and manages the missions on the Atlas and Proton vehicles for commercial satellite customers worldwide.
ILS is now on track to complete six launches in 2006, according to ILS President Mark Albrecht. There have been two launches each for Proton Breeze M and Atlas V, and two more are planned for Proton.
The Russian government plans a total of three Proton launches this year, so with seven missions Proton remains the workhorse of the industry.
Also, the Atlas V is scheduled to fly with its first U.S. Air Force Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle mission late in the year, Albrecht said.