Status Report

Preparations underway for the Soyuz launch of AMOS-2

By SpaceRef Editor
November 26, 2003
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The AMOS-2 broadcasting and communications satellite is undergoing final checkout at Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan in preparation for its launch on a Starsem Soyuz-Fregat vehicle next month.

Originally planned for a mission aboard Ariane 5, AMOS-2 was rescheduled for a Soyuz-Fregat flight in agreement with the satellite’s operator, Spacecom Ltd. The payload shift from Ariane to Soyuz is a demonstration of the launcher family policy developed by Arianespace and its Starsem affiliate to best respond to clients’ needs.

AMOS-2 arrived at Baikonur Cosmodrome’s Yubileiny airfield on November 10 aboard an Antonov An-124 cargo aircraft, and the spacecraft was transferred to Starsem’s clean-room payload processing facility on the launch site.

The AMOS-2 flight will mark the 12th mission for Starsem, which has responsibility for commercialization and operation of Soyuz in the international marketplace. Starsem’s shareholders are Arianespace, EADS, the Russian Aviation and Space Agency (Rosaviacosmos) and the Samara Space Center.

This upcoming Starsem flight – designated ST12 – is targeted for the second half of December and will use Soyuz configured with the Fregat upper stage. It will mark the first commercial Soyuz mission to geostationary orbit.

AMOS 2 will have a liftoff mass of 1,300 kg., and is to be positioned at an orbital slot of 4 deg. West, over the Gulf of Guinea. The satellite carries a payload of 22 Ku-band transponders and provides a state-of-the-art platform for the distribution of digital TV channels and business data for private/public networks.

It will be co-located with the AMOS-1 spacecraft (launched by Arianespace in 1996), and is to create a "hot spot" for the Middle East and European markets. A third beam expands access to the North American east coast, creating a link to the IP backbone and other advanced broadband services.

AMOS operator Spacecom Ltd. is a Ramat Gan, Israel-based joint venture of Israel Aircraft Industries Ltd., Eurocom Group, General Satellite Services Co. and Mer Services Group Ltd.

SpaceRef staff editor.