Proton Launches MEASAT-3 Satellite

Proton launch. Image credit: ILSA Proton Breeze M rocket blasted off from the Baikonur cosmodrome on Monday, carrying a MEASAT-3 communications satellite into orbit. The launched at 23:28 UTC, and the satellite was released into a geosynchronous orbit 9 hours later. When it reaches its final orbit, MEASAT-3 will provide satellite broadcast and data services to customers in Southeast Asia.

A Proton Breeze M launch vehicle successfully placed the MEASAT-3 satellite into orbit today, for the final mission of the year for International Launch Services (ILS).

The launcher lifted off at 5:28 a.m. today local time (6:28 p.m. Monday EST, 23:28 Monday GMT). The mission lasted 9 hours and 12 minutes before MEASAT-3 was released into a geosynchronous transfer orbit. This was the fourth Proton launch of the year for ILS. ILS has exclusive rights to market and manage missions on the Russian Proton vehicle for commercial satellite customers worldwide.

The satellite is a 601HP model built for MEASAT Satellite Systems (MEASAT) Sdn Bhd by Boeing Satellite Systems International Inc. From its final orbital position of 91.5 degrees East longitude, MEASAT-3 will serve customers in more than 100 countries at C-band and in Malaysia, Indonesia and South Asian with DTH-quality Ku-band coverage. This was MEASAT’s first launch on an ILS Proton vehicle, as well as the 10th 601 model spacecraft launched on Proton.

“This is the first satellite to be launched for MEASAT in a decade, and we’re pleased that ILS and Proton have played a part in this important event,” said ILS President Frank McKenna. “We’re proud of the accuracy with which Proton delivered the satellite to orbit. Today’s successful performance validates MEASAT’s confidence in our vehicle, and we hope to convert this confidence into additional opportunities to work with MEASAT.”

“We are very pleased with the successful launch of MEASAT-3,” said Paul Brown-Kenyon, chief operating officer of MEASAT. “The satellite, which is central to the expansion of our DTH and broadcast distribution business, is expected to begin operations by 1 February 2007. We extend our heartfelt thanks to ILS, and their Russian partners, for a professionally executed launch campaign.”

The Proton vehicle, built by ILS partner Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center of Russia, has carried out 323 missions for the Russian government and commercial customers over more than 40 years.

ILS is a joint venture between Space Transport Inc., Khrunichev and RSC Energia. ILS is incorporated in Delaware in the United States, and is headquartered in McLean, Va., a suburb of Washington, D.C.

MEASAT is a premium supplier of satellite communications services to DTH operators, broadcasters and telecommunications companies across Southeast and Northeast Asia. This addition of the MEASAT-3 satellite will expand the MEASAT fleet to over 100 countries representing over 70 percent of the world’s population.

Original Source: ILS News Release