Ekspress AM-5

Ekspress-2000 Satellite (Ekspress AM-5) - Image: Andrzej Olchawa
Ekspress-2000 Satellite (Ekspress AM-5) – Image: Andrzej Olchawa

The Ekspress AM5 satellite is a Geostationary Communications Satellite built by ISS Reshetnev for the Russian Satellite Communications Company that will operate the spacecraft as part of the existing Ekspress satellite fleet to provide communication services to Russian and surrounding territories. The Ekspress AM5 communications payload was built by MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd. (MDA).

The first Ekspress satellite was launched in 1994 to replace the aging Gorizont communication satellites.

The Ekspress program had the overall goal to close the technology gap between Russia and Western comm satellite manufacturers. Between 1994 and 2001, two first generation Ekspress satellites and four improved Ekspress A satellites were launched (one was destroyed in a launch failure).

Photo: Roscosmos
Photo: Roscosmos

The Ekspress AM series of satellites was inaugurated in 2003 and represents powerful communication satellites with long on-orbit service lives and flexible communication payloads. Eight Ekspress AM satellites were launched to date – Ekspress AM-4 did not reach its correct orbit in 2011 and was disposed via a targeted re-entry. In addition to Ekspress AM satellites, Ekspress MD satellites are being launched to maintain an alternate supplier of communications satellites as the MD spacecraft are built by Khrunichev. Two Ekspress MD satellites were launched in 2009 and 2012, but the last launch left the satellite in a useless orbit after an upper stage failure. Over the coming years, a number of Ekspress AM satellites are planned to be launched as well as two Ekspress AT satellites.

Ekspress AM5 is based on the new Ekspress-2000 satellite platform. The satellite has a liftoff mass of 3,040 Kilograms including a payload mass of 1,030 Kilograms. It is equipped with two five-panel solar arrays to generate 14,200 Watts of electrical power. The satellite is three-axis stabilized with precise pointing capability and stationkeeping accuracy of 0.05 degrees. Ekspress AM5 is planned to operate for at least 15 years at an orbital position of 140 degrees East to cover eastern and central Russia and surrounding areas.

Ekspress AM5 is equipped with a communications payload consisting of 30 C-Band, 40 Ku-Band, 12 Ka-Band and 2 L-Band transponders creating a total payload power of 12,700W. The satellite will provide mobile presidential and governmental communications, digital television, radio broadcasting and multimedia services, (telephony, videoconferencing, data transmission, internet) and VSAT network services.