by Staff Writers
Moscow (RIA Novosti) Aug 19, 2011
The designer and manufacturer of a Russian satellite launched on Thursday has no information about its location or condition, the Khrunichev State Research and Production Center said.
Russia's Proton-M rocket with the Express-AM4 satellite was launched from the Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan but mission control failed to establish communication with it.
North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) may have spotted a fuel tank jettisoned by the satellite's booster rocket, Briz-M, but there was no sign of the satellite itself, a space industry source said.
The booster was spotted later but it is unknown whether it has or has not separated from the satellite, Roscosmos press secretary Alexei Kuznetsov said.
The Briz-M booster was currently "in orbit," he said, adding that the information received by ground control was being analyzed.
It was previously reported that the satellite's launch and orbital operation was insured for 7.5 billion rubles ($259 million).
The 5.8-ton satellite was designed and built by the Khrunichev Production Center jointly with Astrium, a subsidiary of the European Aeronautic Defense and Space Company (EADS).
The Express-AM4 was equipped with 63 transponders operating in C-, Ku-, Ka and L-bands to provide high performance coverage over the Russian Federation and other CIS countries.
earlier related report
The launch took place at 1:25 a.m. Moscow time, as scheduled.
Russian Communications Minister Igor Shchegolev said the satellite's parameters were "outstanding not only for Russia, but for the whole world."
The satellite, weighting almost 5.8 metric tons, was designed and built jointly by Russia's Khrunichev State Research and Production Center and Astrium, a subsidiary of the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS). It is to be placed in Russia's key orbital position of 80E.
The Express-AM4 will be equipped with 63 transponders operating in C-, Ku-, Ka and L-bands. The craft's ten antennas will provide high performance coverage over the Russian Federation and CIS countries.
Among other tasks, it will provide digital TV services to Russia's Far East. The Express-AM4 will also become the first spacecraft to be used in the presidential program to provide satellite broadband Web access in Russian regions.
By 2013 Russia plans to boost its satellite grouping with six more satellites, including Express-AM4, Express-AM5 and Express-AM6.
The Express-AM4 is based on Astrium's proven Eurostar E3000 satellite platform with a 14kW payload power.
The Eurostar E3000 is flight-qualified and has been used to build satellites for leading international operators of fixed and mobile satellite communications, such as Inmarsat-4F1 and 4F2, Hot Bird 8, Eutelsat W3A, Intelsat 10-02 and many others.
The steerable antennas can be used to provide communication to any point within the satellite's visibility. The guaranteed active orbital life of Express-AM4 will be 15 years.
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China successfully launches maritime satellite
Taiyuan, China (XNA) Aug 17, 2011
China successfully launched a maritime satellite at the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center in north China at 6:57 a.m. Tuesday Beijing Time. The orbiter, Haiyang-2, was boosted by a Long March-4B carrier rocket from the launch center in the city of Taiyuan in Shanxi Province. The satellite is for the supervision and survey of the maritime environment, an important measure for prevention ... read more
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