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Proton launches Russian communications satellite
Posted: Tue, Dec 16, 2014, 7:59 AM ET (1259 GMT)
Proton launch of Yamal 401 (Roscosmos) A Proton rocket successfully launched a Russian communications satellite on Monday, clearing the stage for the resumption of Western commercial satellite launches. The Proton M rocket lifted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 7:16 pm EST Sunday (0016 GMT, 6:16 am local time Monday) and placed the Yamal-401 satellite into geosynchronous orbit about nine hours later. Yamal-401, built by Russian company ISS Reshetnev with a communications payload provided by Thales Alenia Space, weighed nearly 3,000 kilograms at launch. The satellite will operate from 90 degrees east in GEO, providing Ku- and C-band communications services for JSC Gazprom Space Systems. The launch, the 400th in the history of the Proton launch vehicle over nearly half a century, clears thew way for Proton to resume launches of non-Russian satellites. The next Proton launch, of the Astra 2G satellite, is scheduled for late December.
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