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Proton M Ascent Unit Integration Started at Baikonur


Preparations are underway at Baikonur for Proton M launch ninth one this year.  In mid-October, this launch vehicle is to place SIRIUS XM-5 in geostationary orbit.  The Space Systems/Loral-built SIRIUS XM-5 satellite was ordered by SIRIUS XM Radio, a U.S. satellite broadcasting provider.

All current SIRIUS XM-5 ground operations at Integration-and-Test Facility (ITF), Building 92A-50, or at the Proton M Launch Site are being performed strictly on schedule.

The three-week period of processing SIRIUS XM-5 and Breeze M as stand-alone items has been completed at the ITF.  The pre-planned ground tests of the spacecraft and the Upper Stage have been carried out, and the spacecraft propulsion system and the Upper Stage high-pressure tanks have been loaded with propellants.

Earlier today, KhSC engineers and their opposite numbers from SS/Loral, ILS and RUAG Space AB (former SAAB Space, Sweden) have started Proton M Ascent Unit integration at the ITF.


The spacecraft was mated to a carbon-fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) adapter system developed, designed and fabricated by KhSC, this morning.  A RUAG Space clampband-based separation system was used to attach the spacecraft to the adapter.  This adapter system is essentially an intermediate link via which the spacecraft will be mated to Breeze M.  At the moment, Swedish engineers are performing standard operations on the clampband.  The SC/adapter system stack is to be mechanically mated to Breeze M before the end of this day.

In parallel, tests of Proton Stages 1 through 3 are drawing to a close.

The SIRIUS XM-5 launch was contracted by International Launch Services Inc. (ILS). ILS has been marketing the Proton launch vehicle to commercial satellite operators for over 15 years.The majority shareholder is Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center , the Proton developer/designer.  For ILS, the forthcoming mission is to become sixth commercial Proton launch in 2010.


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