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Russia Takes Significant Loss with Telkom 3, Express MD2 Launch Failure

By | August 8, 2012

      [Satellite TODAY 08-08-12] Russia failed to launch two communications satellites into orbit after anomaly occurred on the Proton M rocket’s Breeze M upper stage engine, Russian space agency Roskosmos confirmed Aug. 7.

         Indonesia’s Telkom 3 satellite and Russian Satellite Communications Co.’s (RSCC) Express MD2 satellite were stranded in a useless orbit when the hydrazine-fueled rocket’s Breeze M upper stage prematurely shut down.
         Khrunichev built the RSCC Express MD2 satellite, as well as the Proton rocket and Breeze M upper stage that were supposed to carry the spacecraft into orbit. In a statement, Khrunichev said the third of five planned burns of the Breeze M main engine occurred as scheduled. “However, according to the currently available data, the engine was cut off within 7 seconds instead of after the nominal 18 minutes and 5 seconds.”
         The Interfax news agency reported that the total loss value of the two satellites was estimated between $100 million and $150 million.
         Telkom-3, the first satellite that Indonesia had purchased from Moscow, was built by ISS-Reshetnev with communication equipment made by Thales Alenia Space. The satellite’s 42 active transponders aimed to cater to Indonesia’s growing demand for satellite capacity.
         The loss of Express MD2 is a huge loss for RSCC, which has planned to use the satellite to deliver 24-hour data streams to multiple users within the Russian satellite broadcasting market.