The commercial launch provider International Launch Services (ILS) announced that an ILS Proton M Breeze M launch vehicle has successfully launched the commercial communications satellite Satmex 8 satellite into orbit at 1907 GMT on 26 March from the Baikonour Cosmodrome (near Tyuratam) in Kazakhstan. The flight marks the return to service of Proton after a partial launch failure in December last year.
The Satmex 8 spacecraft was launched for the satellite operator Satmex (Satélites Mexicanos S.A. de C.V.) of Mexico. The launch procedure involved a five burns of the Breeze M (Briz-M) upper stage to achieve orbital velocity, remove inclination and inject the spacecraft into a Geostationary Transfer Orbit (GTO). From this the Satmex 8 satellite’s orbit will be later circularised using on board propulsion leaving it in Geostationary Earth Orbit (GEO).
Satmex 8 was built by the US-based constructor Space Systems/Loral using a version of its LS-1300 platform bus design. Satmex 8 will replace Satmex 5 in providing communications services over the Americas from the 116.8 degreees longitude position in the GEO arc. The satellite carries a communications payload of 24 C-band and 40 Ku-band transponders.