In the office of RSCC, a meeting was held on 6 February 2017, chaired by Igor Chursin, deputy head of Rossvyaz. The meeting was attended by Yuri Vlasov, Deputy Director - General of Roscosmos State Corporation and General Director of JSC United Rocket and Space Corporation (“URSC”), Yuri Prokhorov, Director General of Russian Satellite Communications Company (“RSCC”), and Nikolai Testoedov, General Director of JSC Reshetnev Information Satellite Systems (“ISS”).
The agenda included building, testing and commissioning of advanced Express-80 and Express-103 communications and broadcasting satellites. Based on the meeting results, the Master Schedule was approved of the planned efforts.
The project to build Express-80 and Express-103 spacecraft began in late December 2016 after coming into force of a contract between RSCC and ISS.
The project is specific in that for the first in the Russian space industry a dual launch of intermediate-class geostationary communications satellites is contemplated. Also, to translate the satellites into their assigned slots, a delta injection effort will be implemented using the satellites’ own onboard electric rocket engines. The delta injection pattern is due to the satellite total mass constraints: the Proton launch vehicle with the Breeze-M upper stage is unable to provide direct insertion of the two satellites directly into geostationary orbit. Delta injection has been successfully tested on single launches of the Express-AM5 and Express-AM6 spacecraft, built by ISS on the orders of RSCC.
The launch of the Express-80 and Express-103 satellites is planned for the 3Q of 2019. Due to the time needed for the delta injection and flight testing, the satellites are scheduled to be commissioned in late 1Q of 2020.