The ILS Proton launched from Pad 24 within the Baikonur Cosmodrome at 9:45 AM local time on June 8, with the EchoStar XXI satellite on board. The first three stages of the Proton Breeze M utilized a standard ascent profile to place the orbital unit (Breeze M upper stage and the EchoStar XXI satellite) into a suborbital trajectory. Then, the Breeze M performed planned mission maneuvers to advance the orbital unit first to a nearly circular parking orbit, then to an intermediate orbit, followed by a transfer orbit, then finally to a geosynchronous transfer orbit. Separation of the EchoStar XXI satellite occurred at approximately 9 hours and 13 minutes after lift-off.
This was the 413th launch for Proton since the inaugural flight in July 1965, and the 94th ILS Proton launch executed. The Proton Breeze M launch vehicle was developed and built by Khrunichev Space Center of Moscow, one of the pillars of the Russian Space industry and majority shareholder in ILS. EchoStar XXI, weighing nearly 9 metric tons, is the heaviest satellite launched by ILS Proton to date.
EchoStar XXI was manufactured by SSL utilising their space-proven 1300 platform. EchoStar XXI is a state-of-the-art S-band satellite designed to provide mobile connectivity throughout Europe to be located at the 10.25° East orbital slot. EchoStar subsidiary EchoStar Mobile Limited, an EU-wide licensee for an integrated mobile satellite service network with a complementary ground component, will utilize a portion of the capacity on EchoStar XXI to provision its next-generation, all IP-enabled mobile communications network. This 29th SSL satellite launched on Proton also features a large unfurlable reflector to provide the high performance levels required for mobile services.
“We have been honored to have served EchoStar for nearly 20 years now, dating back to the launch of the EchoStar IV satellite on Proton in 1998. The ILS team is very proud to have played a role in the expansion of the EchoStar satellite fleet and enabling connectivity across Europe, with the successful launch of EchoStar XXI. Our sincere thanks to all of the EchoStar XXI team members who played a vital role in the success of this mission,” said Kirk Pysher, president of ILS.
“The launch of EchoStar XXI is a major milestone in the continued expansion of our satellite fleet,” said Anders Johnson, executive director of EchoStar Mobile and president of EchoStar Satellite Services L.L.C.
“EchoStar XXI will provide capacity to EchoStar Mobile for commercial wholesalers with a new, advanced network for reliable, IP-based MSS voice and data services in Europe. We appreciate the hard work and dedication of all of the team members from EchoStar, SSL, ILS and Khrunichev, who played a role in the successful launch of EchoStar XXI.”