Russian Satellite Launch Goes Awry, Recovering Likely

Proton rocket

BAIKONUR COSMODROME, Kazakhstan (ILS/Khrunichev PR) -– Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center (Khrunichev) and International Launch Services (ILS) regret to announce an anomaly during the launch of the Yamal 402 satellite. The satellite had been built by Thales Alenia Space for Russian satellite operator, Gazprom Space Systems.

The Proton Breeze M rocket lifted off at 7:13 p.m. today local time from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, carrying the Yamal 402 satellite.  Preliminary flight information indicates that the 4th and final burn of the Breeze M engine ended about four minutes early and subsequently separated the spacecraft.

Thales Alenia Space is recalculating all the Launch Early Orbit Phase (LEOP) parameters in order to propose the possible recovery plans to Gazprom Space Systems.

At present the spacecraft is under control. The delta insertion profile is being currently defined for translating the spacecraft to its station and subsequent commissioning.

Early on 9 December evaluation was performed of the Yamal 402 orbit parameters. All SC systems are functioning nominally.

Experts believe two additional burns of the propulsion system will be required for the delta insertion of Yamal 402 to the design orbital slot. The first such burn is scheduled for the late Sunday-early Monday.

Following the completion of all maneuvers, the spacecraft will be handed over to OAO Gazprom Space Systems for operation as originally planned, i.e. on 8 January.

A Russian State Commission will begin the process of determining the reasons for the anomaly.  ILS will release details when data becomes available.  In parallel with the State Commission, ILS will form its own Failure Review Oversight Board (FROB).  The FROB will review the commission’s final report and corrective action plan, in accord with U.S. and Russian government export control regulations.

ILS will work diligently to identify the cause and implement corrective actions.  Additional information will be provided as it becomes available.

On 9 December, during the target orbit insertion phase, the Yamal 402 spacecraft separated ahead of the scheduled time.