New Proton Rocket Launch Failure to be Investigated by Russia, ILS

The International Launch Services launched the Russian Proton heavy-lift rocket on December 9 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, but it unfortunately failed, delivering Yamal 402 — Gazprom Space System’s telecommunication satellite — into a lower orbit than what is desired. Such incident marks the third failure of the rocket in 16 months.

Engineered by Thales Alenia Space, the Yamal 402 satellite has the capability to boost itself into a greater position, but due to the recent failure of the rocket, it will most likely mean that its operational life will be significantly reduced.

This failure is said to threaten the upcoming launch of the next Satelites Mexicanos launch, which was originally scheduled on December 28. The Satmex 5 satellite, which is anticipated to run out of fuel in May, would be replaced by the Satmex 8. In case the launch of Satmex 8 is late, the customers of Satmex’s might turn to other providers, which will put to danger the already-fragile financial situation of the company.

The ILS said that both a Russian government inquiry board and an independent ILS board will conduct an investigation regarding the rocket launch failure.

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Space Systems/Loral to design Next-generation Military Satellite Communications for US Air Force

SS/L has been chosen to design and develop the next generation of Protected Military SatCom for the US Air Force. According to the Palo Alto-based satellite manufacturer, the Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center issues the contract for the development of design concepts.

The focus of the partnership is on cost-effective solutions. The Space and Missile Systems Center or SMC is more cost-conscious and is working with SS/L to develop practical technologies that would secure and protect high-security communications systems in place.

SS/L will be working with industry partners in this project to combine efforts in the development of innovative technologies with existing military solutions. According to the company, they will be working on both the space and ground-segments of the project.

John Celi, President of SS/L said that they will be, “Working with our industry partners, we will use domain expertise, proven military technology, and our supply chain efficiencies to quickly bring increased capability to the warfighter.”

SS/L was initially a manufacturing subsidiary of Loral Space & Communications but last Friday it was announced by Dettwiler and Associates of Canada they have acquired the California-based company.

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