Posted on: 19 May 2015 by Mark Howells
Following the loss of a Centenario satellite after a Proton Breeze M rocket suffered a disabling anomaly eight minutes after take-off from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on 16 May, Inmarsat has delayed the launch of its third and final Global Express (GX) satellite, Inmarsat-5 F3 (I-5 F3).
Rupert Pearce, Inmarsat’s CEO, commented, “This is the third time our Global Xpress programme has suffered launch delays because of Proton launch failures. Although in the past, Proton has returned to flight within a few months of a launch failure, it will not be possible to determine the length of the delay in the launch of I-5 F3 until the cause of the Centenario launch failure is established.
“Customers are understandably anxious to see the delivery of GX services on a global basis, and as soon as we have sufficient information to ascertain the new launch date for I-5 F3, we will make the information public, as well as comment further on the impact of the delayed launch of I-5 F3.
“Meanwhile, we are reassured that I-5 F4 is currently under construction by Boeing in California, and remains on schedule for completion in mid-2016, with a potential SpaceX launch in the second half of 2016, providing us with significant mission assurance in the case of any protracted delays in Proton’s return to flight, or a failed launch of I-5 F3.”
A Russian State Commission has begun the process of determining the reasons for the failure of the Proton Breeze M launch. In parallel with the State Commission, ILS (Inmarsat’s launch partner) will form its own Failure Review Oversight Board, which will review the State Commission’s final report and corrective action plan in accordance with US and Russian government export control regulations.