A flawless launch on June 3rd followed some 15 hours later by its final 31-minute booster firing saw the SES-6 satellite placed into its super-synchronous transfer orbit (SSTO) by a Proton rocket fitted with the Briz-M booster.
International Launch Services (ILS) handled the flight. SES-6 is a 6-tonnes satellite which will serve North and South America, the Caribbean, as well as Europe. It will be placed at 40.5 degrees West.
This was the second SSTO mission by ILS. This SSTO mission utilized a 5-burn Breeze M mission design to advance the orbital unit first to a circular parking orbit, then to an intermediate orbit, followed by a transfer orbit, and finally to a super-synchronous transfer orbit. SSTO missions can provide customers with increased performance enabling them to maximise spacecraft operational lifetime. This was the 22nd SES satellite launched on an ILS Proton and the 16th Astrium-built satellite launched on Proton overall. SES-6 is the fourth mission to be launched by ILS under the Multi Launch Agreement signed in June 2007 between SES and ILS.
Romain Bausch, SES CEO, added “With this launch we are able to fulfil demand in Latin America and the Caribbean, where we are seeing rapid growth. We will also be able to provide uninterrupted coverage for our customers in the Americas and Europe. Our long-standing relationship with ILS and Khrunichev should be attributed to their flexibility, their robust vehicle and their stout determination. We look forward to our continued partnership and future launches.”
SES-6 is the first of four satellites being launched between now and September, which will add more than 100 transponders to the SES fleet.