0925 GMT (4:25 a.m. EST)
A Russian communications satellite lifted off from a snow-covered launch pad Kazakhstan on Monday, marking the 400th flight of a Proton rocket and the launcher’s first commercial mission in 10 months.
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0425 GMT (11:25 p.m. EST on Sun.)
International Launch Services confirms the completion of the Breeze M's third burn and a successful jettison of the stage's auxiliary propellant tank.
The Breeze M and Yamal 401 should now be in a transfer orbit with a low point of 237 miles, a high point of 22,164 miles, and an inclination of 47.6 degrees.
The upper stage will coast for nearly five hours before igniting a fifth and final time for about 13 minutes to inject Yamal 401 into a circular geostationary orbit.
Separation of the 3.3-ton Yamal 401 satellite is scheduled for 0917 GMT (4:17 a.m. EST).
0152 GMT (8:52 p.m. EST on Sun.)
The Breeze M upper stage has finished the second of four burns planned for today's mission, ILS says. The nearly 18-minute burn was supposed to place the stage and Yamal 401 in an intermediate orbit with a low point of 164 miles, a high point of 3,106 miles and an inclination of 49.9 degrees.
After a two-hour coast, the Breeze M is expected to ignite its main engine again at about 0345 GMT (10:45 p.m. EST) for another maneuver, followed by the jettison of the stage's auxiliary propellant tank.
ILS says these maneuvers will occur when the Breeze M is out of communications with ground stations, so confirmation of their completion will come when antennas re-acquire signals from the rocket shortly after the end of the third burn.
0035 GMT (7:35 p.m. EST on Sun.)
T+plus 19 minutes. International Launch Services confirms the Breeze M upper stage has completed the first of four burns in this mission. The first burn was designed to accelerate the rocket and payload from a suborbital trajectory into a low-altitude parking orbit.
The Breeze M is now in a coast phase until ignition of the second upper stage burn at about 0123 GMT (8:23 p.m. EST).
Separation of the Yamal 401 satellite is scheduled after the Breeze M's fourth burn at 0917 GMT (4:17 a.m. EST).
0030 GMT (7:30 p.m. EST on Sun.)
T+plus 14 minutes. International Launch Services confirms the first ignition of the Breeze M upper stage has occurred to place the Yamal 401 satellite into a preliminary parking orbit about 100 miles above Earth.
0027 GMT (7:27 p.m. EST on Sun.)
T+plus 11 minutes. Officials confirm successful shutdown of the Proton's third stage and separation of the Breeze M upper stage, which should begin its first firing shortly.
This first burn should last about four-and-a-half minutes, placing the Breeze M and Yamal 401 in a circular parking orbit 107 miles high with an inclination of 51.6 degrees.
0023 GMT (7:23 p.m. EST on Sun.)
T+plus 7 minutes. Proton's second stage has been confirmed to have separated, and the third stage RD-0213 engine has begun its burn, producing 131,000 pounds of thrust. The rocket's payload fairing has also been released now that the launcher is in the upper atmosphere.
0019 GMT (7:19 p.m. EST on Sun.)
T+plus 3 minutes, 30 seconds. The second stage's RD-0211 main engine and RD-0210 vernier engines continue firing at full power of 540,000 pounds of thrust.
0018 GMT (7:18 p.m. EST on Sun.)
T+plus 2 minutes, 25 seconds. ILS has confirmed the Proton's first stage has shut down and jettisoned, and the second stage engines are firing with a half-million pounds of thrust.
0017 GMT (7:17 p.m. EST on Sun.)
T+plus 70 seconds. The Proton rocket has passed the speed of sound and the phase of maximum aerodynamic pressure as it heads northeast from Baikonur.
0016 GMT (7:16 p.m. EST on Sun.)
Liftoff of the Proton rocket with Yamal 401, a 3.3-ton communications satellite for Russia's Gazprom Space Systems.
0015 GMT (7:15 p.m. EST on Sun.)
T-minus 60 seconds minutes. The ignition sequence for the six first stage RD-276 engines begins at T-minus 2.5 seconds, reaching a 40 percent thrust level at T-minus 1.75 seconds and 100 percent thrust at T-minus 0.9 seconds.
0014 GMT (7:14 p.m. EST on Sun.)
T-minus 2 minutes. The countdown is being run by a master computer sequencer.
0011 GMT (7:11 p.m. EST on Sun.)
T-minus 5 minutes. Yamal 401 marks the second satellite owned by Gazprom Space Systems to launch on an International Launch Services Proton rocket, following the liftoff of Yamal 402 in December 2012.
0008 GMT (7:08 p.m. EST on Sun.)
T-minus 8 minutes. The readiness of the Proton core vehicle, the Breeze M upper stage and Yamal 401 will be verified over the next few minutes.
0006 GMT (7:06 p.m. EST on Sun.)
T-minus 10 minutes. The Proton launcher on the pad weighs about 1.5 million pounds, and it will be powered into the sky by six first stage RD-276 engines producing more than 2 million pounds of thrust. It will turn to the northeast on an initial launch azimuth of 61.3 degrees.
The Yamal 401 satellite weighs 2,976 kilograms, or 6,560 pounds, at liftoff. Yamal 401 was transitioned to internal power a few minutes ago.
0005 GMT (7:05 p.m. EST on Sun.)
T-minus 11 minutes. The final launch pad workers are evacuating to a safe distance away from the rocket.
0004 GMT (7:04 p.m. EST on Sun.)
It's a frigid morning in Baikonur, with temperatures between 9 and 12 degrees Fahrenheit under partly cloudy skies. Surface winds are acceptable and upper level winds are within limits.
0001 GMT (7:01 p.m. EST on Sun.)
With 15 minutes left in the countdown, everything remains on schedule for launch at 0016 GMT (7:16 p.m. EST; 6:16 a.m. Baikonur time). It will take more than 9 hours to deploy Yamal 401 in the proper orbit.
The Proton rocket's first stage will blast off powered by six RD-276 engines producing more than 2 million pounds of thrust. The 191-foot-tall launcher will ascend northeast from Baikonur, dropping its first stage 2 minutes after liftoff, giving way to the Proton's second stage RD-0211 main engine for a three-and-a-half minute burn.
The Proton's third stage, using a RD-0213 main engine with 131,000 pounds of thrust, next will fire for about four minutes. Separation of the 13.1-foot-diameter nose cone occurs during the third stage burn at T+plus 5 minutes, 47 seconds.
The Breeze M upper stage will assume control at T+plus 9 minutes, 42 seconds, when it separates from the Proton's third stage. Four Breeze M engine burns are planned over a nine-hour period to inject the 6,560-pound Yamal 401 spacecraft in the proper geostationary orbit about 22,300 miles above the equator.
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 14, 2014
2346 GMT (6:46 p.m. EST)
Liftoff of the Proton rocket is 30 minutes away. This will be the:
- 400th Proton rocket launch since 1965
- 86th International Launch Services Proton since 1996
- 78th Proton M using a Breeze M upper stage since 2001
- 1st ISS Reshetnev satellite launched by ILS
- 2nd Gazprom satellite launched on ILS Proton
- 7th Proton of 2014
- 18th launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in 2014