Launch News Proton-M/Briz-M launch with Express-AM7, March 18/19, 2015

Galactic Penguin SST

Geek Penguin in GTO
News Reporter
Jan 27, 2011
Reaction score
Hong Kong
While the Russians celebrates the first ever spacewalk by Alexei Leonov 50 years to the day today, the mood seems to be....different at the point where he and Pavel Belyayev departed Earth.

No, it has nothing to do with Voskhod 2. Rather, it has something to do with a rocket that its ancestors had yet to flown 50 years ago. For the Proton is attempting another try in breaking one of its many Great Proton And Briz Curses (TM) again! :uhh:

Today's related curse is related to 2 deceased communication satellites ordered for the state owned Russian Satellite Communications Company (RSCC), both ordered from the big European aerospace giant EADS Astrium (now Airbus Defense and Space). In 2008 they ordered the Express-AM4 satellite from them - the first foreign built comsat for a Russian government owned organization, and what would be Russia's largest comsat up to then.

It launched on my birthday....and got lost - specifically the Briz-M upper stage sent it into an unusable orbit that wasn't even found until days after launch.
That poor satellite was finally de-orbited in March 2012, and RSCC ordered Express-AM4R, a one-for-one replacement from Astrium after that. Tragically that one didn't even reach space for long when the Proton rocket 3rd stage carrying it failed on ascent in May last year.

Today's passenger, Express-AM7, was ordered at the same time as Express-AM4R for offering services across western Russia and Europe. Delayed by previous Proton failures and export problems from the "Black Sea Affair", it now faces what seems to be a jinx for Russian comsats built abroad. Either the jinx breaks today, or this can end up in Russian legends for decades to come.... :shifty:




Launch location:

Baikonur Launch pad no. 200/39 46° 2'23.85"N, 63° 1'54.98"E


Launch dates and times:

{colsp=6}Launch times

Time Zone |
Baikonur / UTC+6
Moscow / UTC+3
Universal / UTC
Washington / EDT
Los Angeles / PDT
Launch time (Primary):
Mar. 19, 2015
Mar. 19, 2015
Mar. 18, 2015
Mar. 18, 2015
Mar. 18, 2015

[highlight][eventTimer]2015-03-18 22:05:00?before|after;%dd% Days %hh% Hours %mm% Minutes %ss% Seconds %c%[/eventTimer] Express-AM7 Launch[/highlight]​

Live Coverage Of The Launch:


Express-AM7 communication satellite:


Mission Summary

The Russian Satellite Communications Company (RSCC) has selected a team of Khrunichev Space Center and Astrium to build the Ekspress-AM 4 communications satellite.

The Russian Satellite Communications Company (RSCC) has in March 2012 selected EADS Astrium to build the Ekspress-AM 7 communications satellite.

The satellite, to be launched in 2014, will operate at 40° east and will carry 36 Ku-band, 24 C-band and two L-band transponders. It will use Astrium’s Eurostar-3000 satellite bus and will provide 16 kilowatts to its payload at the end of a planned 15-year service life. It is expected to weigh 5,700 kilograms at launch.

Parameter | Value
Working Orbit:​
Orbital Location:​
| 40° East
| Russia, Europe, Africa, India
ApA at separation:​
| 35786 km
PeA at separation:​
| 5410 km
Inc at separation:​
| 20.0°

  • Russian Satellite Communications Company
Prime contractor:​
  • Airbus Defense and Space
  • Eurostar-3000
Mass at Separation:​
  • 5720 kg
Dry Mass:​
  • ?
  • 3 axis stabilized
Dimensions (stowed):​
  • ?
  • three-section solar panels providing 18 kW of power
  • 24 C-band transponders
  • 36 Ku-band transponders
  • 2 L-band transponders
Life time:​
  • 15 years
C-band coverage:​
  • am7-41-nov13.jpg
  • am7-2.jpg
  • am7-3.jpg
Ku-band coverage:​
  • am7-42-nov13.jpg
  • am7-43-nov13.jpg
  • am7-44-nov13.jpg
  • am7-7.jpg
  • am7-8.jpg


Launch Vehicle:


Proton-M / Briz-M
Prime contractor:​
  • Khrunichev Space Centre
GRAU Index:​
  • 8K82KM
| 58.2 m with upper stage and payload fairing

| max 7.4 m

Liftoff mass:​
| 705 metric tonnes

Payload mass:​
| ~22 tonnes at LEO

1st stage:​
  • 6 X RD-275 engines
  • Empty 30.6 tonnes
  • Propellants 419.41 tonnes (UDMH and NTO)
  • Thrust in vacuum 1069.8 tonnes of force
  • Thrust at sea level 971.4 tonnes of force
2nd stage:​
  • 1 X RD-0211 engine 3 X RD-0210 engines
  • Empty 11.4 tonnes
  • Propellants 156.113 tonnes (UDMH and NTO)
  • Thrust in vacuum 237.4 tonnes of force
3rd stage:​
  • 1 X RD-0213 engine & 1 X RD-0214 vernier engine
  • Empty 3.7 tonnes
  • Propellants 46.562 tonnes (UDMH and NTO)
  • Thrust in vacuum 59.36 (core) + 3.15 (vernier) tonnes of force
Upper Stage:​
  • GRAU Index: 14S43
  • Common Name: Briz-M
  • Designer & Manufacturer: Khrunichev Space Centre
  • Dimensions: Length 2.654 m, Diameter 4 m
  • Empty Mass 2.2 tonnes
  • Propellants 6 660 kg UDMH + 13 260 kg N2O4
  • Flight time: no less than 24 hours
  • Main Engine: 1 X 14D30
  • Thrust in vacuum 2.0 tonnes of force
  • ISP 328.6 s
  • Main engine restarts: up to 8 times
  • Precision Manoeuvering Engines: 4 X 11D458
  • Thrust in vacuum 400 N each
  • ISP 252 s
  • RCS Engines: 12 X 17D58E
  • Thrust in vacuum 13.3 N each
  • ISP 274 s
Payload Fairing:​
  • Diameter 4.35 m
  • Length 11.6 m

The vehicle's reliability statistics according to

Vehicle     Successes/Tries Realzd Pred  Consc. Last     Dates    
                             Rate  Rate* Succes Fail    
Proton-M/Briz-M   72    80    .90  .89      3    10/21/14 2001-

Proton-M Ascent Profile

The Proton-M first three stages place the orbital unit (OU), which consists of a Breeze-M upper stage, adapter system and the Express-AM7 satellite, into a 51.5° inclination suborbital trajectory.

Proton-M powered flight lasts 582 seconds. The OU powered flight begins at the moment of the third stage separation.

Immediately after the separation of the third stage booster, the Breeze-M stability engines start, damping the angular velocities of the third stage separation and then providing orbital unit orientation and stability during coast flight along a suborbital trajectory to await the first burn. The upper stage follows a five-burn injection profile.





Express-AM7 Ascent Timeline
Event|Time rel lift-off|Time UTC|Comment
Ignition Start Sequence|-00:00:02.5|22:04:57.5|
Stage 1 Ignition (40% thrust)|-00:00:01.75|22:04:58.25|
Command Stage 1 (100% thrust)|-00:00:00.9|22:04:59.1|
Maximum Dynamic Pressure|00:01:02|22:06:02|
1st/2nd Stage Separation|00:02:00|22:07:00|
2nd/3rd Stage Separation|00:05:27|22:10:27|
Payload Fairing Separation|00:05:47|22:10:47|
3rd Stage/Breeze M Separation|00:09:42|22:14:42|
1st Burn Ignition|00:11:16|22:16:16|
1st Burn Shutdown|00:15:47|22:20:47|1st Burn's Duration 00:04:31
2nd Burn Ignition|01:07:33|23:12:33|
2nd Burn Shutdown|01:25:17|23:30:17|2nd Burn's Duration 00:17:44
3rd Burn Ignition|03:28:12|01:33:12|
3rd Burn Shutdown|03:40:34|01:45:34|3rd Burn's Duration 00:12:22
APT Jettison|03:41:24|01:46:24|
4th Burn Ignition|03:42:51|01:47:51|
4th Burn Shutdown|03:47:56|01:52:56|4th Burn's Duration 00:05:05
5th Burn Ignition|08:52:33|06:57:33|
5th Burn Shutdown|08:59:37|07:04:37|5th Burn's Duration 00:07:04
Express-AM7 Separation|09:13:00|07:18:00|

Weather forecast for Baikonur, Kazakhstan on March 19, 2015 (4 a.m.)

Clear skies. Low around -5C. Winds NNE at 10 to 15 km/h.

Time|Temps|Dew Point|Relative Humidity|Precip|Snow|Cloud cover|Pressure|Wind|Weather
4 AM|-4°C|-7°C|80%|0%|0%|0%|1030 hPa|10 km/h NNE|

Last edited: