On September 14, 2014, Roscosmos conducted successful launch of Proton-M launch vehicle with DM-03 upper stage carrying Russian telecommunications satellite Ekspress-AM8 from Baikonur spaceport in Kazakhstan.
In less than 7 hours DM-03 positioned Ekspress-AM8 into its geostationary orbital slot at 14 degrees West. This was the 406th launch of Proton-M rocket since 1965.
Ekspress-AM8 was made by ISS Reshetnev in cooperation with Thales Alenia Space in the interests of national communications services provider Russian Satellite Communications Company. The satellite is based on medium-class platform Ekspress-1000NTV and is fitted with 42 transponders of C-, Ku-, and L-bands. It has mass of 2100 kilogram, power supply of 5.9 kW, and expected lifespan of 15 years.The new Russian telecommunications satellite is to be used for secured presidential and governmental communications, fixed and mobile satellite services, digital TV broadcasting and Internet access, data transmission throughout Russia, as well as in Europe, Africa, North and South Americas.
The launch was the second mission to orbit an Ekspress series of satellite in 2015. On March 18 (UTC), 2015, there was conducted successful launch of Proton-M with Breeze-M upper stage carrying Airbus Defence and Space-built Ekspress-AM7 communications satellite, weighting 5,720 kilogram at launch, into the orbital slot of 40 degrees East.
Next launch of Proton-M is scheduled for early October, when International Launch Services (ILS), commercial branch of the rocket's manufacturer, Khrunichev Space Center, is expected to conduct launch of Turksat-4B communications satellite. Notably, this will be the first launch for Kirk Pysher, acting in his new role of ILS President.