Yesterday, from Baikonur Cosmodrome, on atop of Proton rocket new Eutelsat-9B satellite was launched. It is not only mission of new communication satellite – it is also beginning of independent European data relay system – EDRS.

Proton rocket lifted off punctually at 22:20 GMT from launch site LC200/39 in Baikonur Cosmodrome.  After two minutes thirty seconds first stage was jettisoned and second stage started engines and continue flight. After next seven minutes second stage was shut down and third stage, after correct separation, started engines. At the same time payload fairing was jettisoned. It remain working until 22:31 GMT, when engines stopped and upper stage Briz-M was separated. Three minutes later Briz-M started engine and begun flight into parking orbit. After four minutes Briz-M stopped engines for the first time; second engine burn was performed to put module and satellite into intermediate orbit with perigee of 269 km, apogee of 4998 km and an inclination of 50.3°. Next two burns put Briz-M and Eutelsat-9B into transfer orbit (perigee of 435 km, apogee of 35705 km and apogee at 49.1°. Planned separation took place at 07:32 GMT and Eutelsat-9B started lasting 15 years mission on 9° E orbital slot with NORAD ID 41310.

Eutelsat-9B belongs to series of modern communication and broadcasting satellites belonging to Eutelsat. It is based on Eurostar-3000 bus by Airbus Defence and Space. Satellite was contracted in 2011 as high efficient broadcast satellite for providing live video streaming for growing markets in Europe. With 66 Ku band transponders satellite will be strengthening position of Eutelsat on digital and Pay-TV market in Europe, especially in Italy, Germany, Greece and the Baltic regions. In spite of commercial objective satellite will be also first part of European Data Relay System based on revolutionary laser communications terminals. System will help in almost real-time data transferring between LEO satellites and ground receive stations (You can read more here).

International Launch Services was contracted as launch service provider in this mission and decided to utilize their main launch vehicle – Proton-M with Briz-M upper stage. It is based on three stages liquid fueled (dinitrogen tetroxide and unsymmetrical dimethyl hydrazine) with optional upper stage. Weight of the rocket is 712800 kg with height at 58 m and diameter at 7.4 m in the first stage. First stage is long for 21 m oxidizer tank with six smaller fuel tanks (top of the every fuel tank is covered with conical fairing) surrounding it  and consisting one engine. Engines are able to move with 7 degree range for thrust control. Six RD-253-14D14 are providing up to 10532 kN of thrust with specific impulse lasting 285 seconds. Second stage (with height at 14 m and with diameter at 4.1 m) is powered with three RD-0210 and one RD-0211 providing thrust at 2399 kN. Third stage is height for 6.5 m and it is equipped with one RD-0212 with thrust at 613.8 kN. Briz-M is powered by one S5.98M with thrust at 19.6 kN. Proton-M with Briz-M upper stage has payload capacity at 6700 kg.