Up to 12 Proton-M missions possible from Baikonur next year - source
MOSCOW. Nov 11 (Interfax-AVN) - Russia is set to actively use the Baikonur spaceport's capacity for launching Proton-M heavy-lift rockets, a source in the rocket and space industry told Interfax-AVN on Wednesday.
"About 12 Proton rockets may be launched from the southern spaceport next year," the source said.
"Four commercial launches, five launches under contracts with Roscosmos, one under the ExoMars program, and two for the Defense Ministry have been planned," he said.
"The final number of launches will depend on the readiness of payloads to a large extent," the source said. "The launch of the Multipurpose Laboratory Module [MLM] to the International Space Station is planned for 2016. But it is still unknown whether the MLM will be ready by then," he said.
Fuel for Proton-M rockets has highly toxic components, and Kazakhstan insists on a gradual reduction of the number of Proton missions. "Proton launches from Baikonur will stop after 2020," Roscosmos head Igor Komarov said.
It was reported earlier that Russia would inaugurate the 2016 'space year' with the launch of a Proton-M launch vehicle carrying the European communication satellite Eutelsat-9B.
Russia's ILS signs contract with Intelsat on five Proton-M launches until 2023
The launches will be conducted from the Baikonur Cosmodrome
International Launch Services (ILS), a subsidiary of the Russian Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Centre, has signed a contract with the international satellite communications organisation Intelsat on five launches of the Proton-M carrier rockets until 2023 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Khrunichev Centre’s press service reported on Wednesday.
"International Launch Services, a subsidiary of the Khrunichev Space Centre and Intelsat - the world’s leading satellite communications operator, have signed a contract on five launches of the Proton-M carrier rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome for the period until 2023," the statement says.
The press service said that over 18 years of cooperation with Intelsat the Proton rockets have placed into orbit 11 satellites. "The new contract is to give Intelsat the necessary flexibility in controlling its orbital constellation and the required guarantees of the launch schedule," the release says.
The Briz-M upper stage within the carrier rocket will be used to place the satellites into the target orbit.
"The long-term contract with Intelsat proves the effectiveness of the chosen progressive and customer-oriented sales strategy. We have begun to renew the partners’ confidence: we are modernising production, improving the quality of products, services and processes. And the success of the initiated reforms depends on the efforts of everyone who works at the company," the press service quotes Khrunichev Centre’s Director General Andrei Kalinovsky.
The Khrunichev Space Centre manufactures and supplies space technology solutions. Its products and services include launch vehicles, upper stages, international space station modules, small spacecraft, telecommunications, aircraft, medical equipment, and liquid-propellant rocket engines. The company has a strategic cooperation with OAO Gazprom Space Systems. Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Centre was incorporated in 1993 and is based in Moscow.
Intelsat is the leading provider of satellite services worldwide. For 50 years, Intelsat has been delivering information and entertainment for many of the world’s leading media and network companies, multinational corporations, Internet service providers and governmental agencies. Intelsat’s satellite, teleport and fibre infrastructure is unmatched in the industry, setting the standard for transmissions of video, data and voice services.