BY JUSTIN RAY
June 30, 2000 -- Follow the countdown and launch of the Proton rocket launching the Sirius 1 spacecraft for Sirius Satellite Radio. Reload this page for the very latest on the mission.
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Read our full story for complete details on the launch and Sirius Satellite Radio.
This marks the 14th successful Proton launch by ILS, an international venture between Lockheed Martin, Khrunichev and Energia to globally mark the Proton and American Atlas rocket fleets.
The next Proton launch is scheduled for 2340 GMT (7:40 p.m. EDT) on July 4 when a Russian military communications satellite will be hauled into space. That Proton will be outfitted with the Phase 2 second and third stage engines, serving as the second of two required qualification flights for the RD-0210 powerplant before use aboard the Proton to launch the International Space Station's Zvezda service module on July 12.
Meanwhile, Sirius Satellite Radio plans to deploy its other two spacecraft using Proton rockets in September and October. The three Space Systems/Loral-built satellites will operate as a constellation to provide coast-to-coast, commercial-free digital radio directly to American motorists.
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At T+plus 43 minutes, 50 seconds the first of two firings by the Block DM is scheduled to boost Sirius 1 to toward its final perch above Earth. The second firing is planned at T+plus 2 hours, 3 minutes and 17 seconds.
Separation of Sirius 1 to complete this launch is expected at T+plus 2 hours, 25 minutes and 10 seconds, or 0033:57 GMT (8:33:57 p.m. EDT).
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The Proton rocket's first three stages that make up the core vehicle will complete their mission in the first 9 minutes, 51 seconds of the launch. That is important to remember because these stages are the same design that will carry the Zevzda service module into orbit for the International Space Station in a couple of weeks.
The Proton third stage will deploy the Block DM upper stage and attached Sirius 1 spacecraft in a nearly elliptical 106-mile high parking orbit. The Block DM will conduct the first of two firings at T+plus 43 minutes, 50 seconds to begin the journey into the desired orbit for Sirius 1. The burn will last about six minutes.
A second burn is planned at T+plus 2 hours, 3 minutes, 17 seconds to completed the powered phase of today's launch. The second Block DM firing is expected to last just under two minutes.
Separation of Sirius 1 from the Block DM will occur 2 hours, 25 minutes, 10 seconds after launch.
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The Sirius 1 spacecraft being launched today is the first spacecraft in Sirius Satellite Radio constellation. It will operate in a egg-shaped orbit ranging from 14,900 miles at the low point to 29,200 miles at the high end, inclined 63.4 degrees.
The craft will be joined by Sirius 2 and 3 in September and October respectively to provide 100 channels of digital radio to subcribers across the United States.
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In the past little while the launch team provided the final updates to the rocket's guidance computer and the sequencer is now controlling the countdown to liftoff.
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The three-stage Proton rocket and its Block DM upper stage will need just shy of 2 1/2 hours to hurl the Space Systems/Loral-built Sirius 1 satellite into the planned highly elliptical, highly inclined orbit around Earth. See our timeline of the events to occur during launch.
Stay on this page for continuing live updates throughout the countdown and launch. Also, Spaceflight Now will be offering a live streaming video broadcast of the launch beginning at 2140 GMT.
Vehicle: Proton/Block DM
Payload: Sirius 1
Launch date: June 30, 2000
Launch window: 2208:47 GMT (6:08:47 p.m. EDT)
Launch site: LC 81, Pad 24, Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan
The International Launch Services Proton rocket lifts off with the Sirius-1 satellite from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
PLAY (236k, 27sec QuickTime file)
The Proton's spent first stage is jettisoned just over two minutes into the flight as the second stage engines ignited.
PLAY (172k, 18sec QuickTime file)
Watch the planned sequence of events as the Proton rocket carries the Sirius 1 digital radio broadcasting satellite into orbit.
PLAY (718k, 1min 41sec QuickTime file)
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