London, UK − Inmarsat plc provided an initial update on the launch schedule for Inmarsat-5 F3 (I-5 F3) following the failure of the preceding Proton Breeze M launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on 16 May.
According to an announcement by Inmarsat’s launch partner, ILS, the Proton Breeze M rocket carrying the Centenario satellite suffered a disabling anomaly during the operation of the third stage, approximately eight minutes after lift-off, resulting in the loss of the satellite and rocket.
A Russian State Commission has begun the process of determining the reasons for the failure. In parallel with the State Commission, ILS will form its own Failure Review Oversight Board, which will review the State Commission’s final report and corrective action plan, in accord with U.S. and Russian government export control regulations.
Rupert Pearce, CEO of Inmarsat, speaking about the planned ILS launch of Inmarsat-5 F3, said, “This incident involving a failed Proton launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome is extremely unfortunate and will inevitably delay our launch plans for our third Global Xpress satellite.
“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.