Proton/Yamal 402 Update


Satellite manufacturer Thales Alenia Space says it is still working with Russia's Gazprom Space Systems to recover the Yamal 402 satellite dropped into the wrong orbit by a Proton Breeze M rocket launched Dec. 9 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

The rocket was to place Yamal 402 into geostationary orbit with a perigee of 7,470 km and 9 deg. inclination. Instead the rocket released the spacecraft into a perigee of 3,101 km at an inclination of 26.13 deg.

The launch failure marks Proton's third since August of last year. 

Thales says the Ku-band spacecraft has fuel enough to support a recovery operation, but it is too early to give the final estimated life time - a touchy issue with insurance underwriters, no doubt. So far the spacecraft is operating nominally, with its solar panels partially deployed. Thales is now working with Russia's Gazprom Space Systems to reconfigure the flight plan at the lower and more-inclined-than-expected transfer orbit to its correct geostationary orbit, optimizing propellant use along the way.

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