Russia successfully launched a 5-ton communications satellite aboard a Proton-M rocket late yesterday. The launch was the first Porton rocket launched in 2019 and the 419th since its maiden flight in 1965.
The heavy-lift Proton-M was launched on May 30 at 17:42 UTC. It blasted off from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan with the rocket’s six RD-276 engines producing more than 11,000 kilonewtons of thrust (2.5 million pounds of thrust).
Approximately 10 minutes after the launch, officials confirmed a good separation of the rocket’s Breeze M upper stage. Over the next nine hours, the upper stage performed five planned burns eventually deploying the satellite into a geostationary transfer orbit at 02:55 UTC on May 31.
According to Roscosmos officials, the Yamal-601 is the most powerful communications satellite the country has ever launched. The satellite’s payload was built by Thales Alenia Space while Russian satellite manufacturer ISS Reshetnev supplied the satellite bus and completed the integration. It weighs 5 metric tons, is equipped with 18 C-band, 19 Ku-band and 26 Ka-band transponders and is expected to remain operational for 15 years.
The second Proton rocket launch of 2019 is expected to lift off on June 21 carrying the Russian-German Spektr-RG X-ray astronomy observatory.