Spaceflight Now: Proton launch report

The ASTRA 2C satellite
Posted: June 14, 2001

ASTRA 2C in the factory of manufacturer Boeing Satellite Systems. Photo: Boeing
ASTRA 2C, a Boeing 601HP spacecraft built for Societe Europeenne des Satellites (SES), is scheduled to launch on June 16, 2001.

The satellite will be launched from Baikonur, Kazakhstan, on a Proton rocket provided by International Launch Services (ILS). The launch is scheduled for 7:49 a.m. at the Baikonur launch site, (1:49 a.m. GMT; 6:49 p.m. PDT on June 15.) Boeing Satellite Systems (BSS) is a unit of The Boeing Company (NYSE:BA).

"Boeing Satellite Systems is proud of its longstanding relationship with SES," said Randy Brinkley, president of BSS. "Our relationship with SES started in 1993 with the successful launch of the company's first Boeing 601 satellite. Since then, we have built a total of nine satellites for SES, with ASTRA 2D, SES' first Boeing 376 satellite model, launched just six months ago. We are also under contract for ASTRA 3A, a second Boeing 376 satellite, with its launch scheduled for early 2002."

The 8,500-watt ASTRA 2C satellite carries 40 Ku-band transponders, each with 98.5-w minimum traveling wave tube amplifiers. At beginning of satellite life, 32 transponders will be operational, with 28 at end of life. The unique, flexible payload design of ASTRA 2C enables SES to operate 32 channels at a given time, selectable from a total of 56 channels possible.

An artist's concept of ASTRA 2C. Photo: Boeing
This design enables SES to adjust its payload configuration throughout the life of the satellite in order to meet customer transponder requirements. The spacecraft will provide pan-European coverage from SES' orbital slots at 19.2 or 28.2 degrees East longitude. At launch, the satellite will weigh 8,029 pounds (3,643 kilograms). Once deployed in orbit, the spacecraft will measure 85 feet in length and 33 feet in width.

The SES Group operates a satellite services network providing seamless broadband communications spanning four continents. Based in Luxembourg, Societe Europeenne des Satellites S.A. (Luxembourg Stock Exchange: SES) (Frankfurt Exchange: SDSL) is the operator of ASTRA, Europe's leading direct-to-home Satellite System, and a strategic shareholder in premier satellite operations like AsiaSat (34.10%), NSAB in Scandinavia (50%), and Star One in Latin America (19.99%).

BSS is the world's leading manufacturer of commercial communications satellites and a major provider of space systems, satellites, and payloads for national defense, science and environmental applications.

The Boeing Company, with headquarters in Seattle, is the largest aerospace company in the world and the United States leading exporter. It is the world's largest manufacturer of commercial jetliners and military aircraft, and the largest NASA contractor.

The company's capabilities in aerospace also include rotorcraft, electronic and defense systems, missiles, rocket engines, launch vehicles, and advanced information and communication systems. The company has an extensive global reach with customers in 145 countries and manufacturing operations throughout the United States, Canada and Australia.

Flight data file
Vehicle: Proton/Block DM
Payload: ASTRA 2C
Launch date: June 16, 2001
Launch time: 0149 GMT (9:49 p.m. EDT on June 15)
Launch site: LC 81, Pad 23, Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan
Satellite broadcast: Telstar 5, Trans. 23, C-band

Pre-launch briefing
Launch timeline - Chart with times and descriptions of events to occur during the launch.

Proton - Description of the Russian-made rocket used in this launch.