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Proton returns to flight with Astra 2E launch
Posted: Mon, Sep 30, 2013, 6:07 AM ET (1007 GMT)
Proton M launch of Astra 2E (ILS) Russia's Proton rocket made its first launch in nearly three months on Monday, successfully placing a commercial communications satellite into orbit. The Proton M lifted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome at 5:38 pm EDT Sunday (2138 GMT Sunday, 3:38 am local time Monday), carrying the Astra 2E satellite for SES. The rocket's Breeze-M upper stage, after performing five burns, released the satellite into geosynchronous transfer orbit nine hours and 12 minutes after liftoff. Astra 2E, built by EADS Astrium, weighed 6,020 kilograms at launch and carries a payload of Ku- and Ka-band transponders to provide communications services for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa from 28.2 degrees east in GEO. The launch was the first for the Proton since a July 2 launch failure, when the rocket lost control seconds after liftoff and crashed, destroying its payload of three navigation satellites.
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