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Russian Proton-M rocket launches European telecom satellite

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The Proton-M rocket lifts off with the Ka-Sat telecommunications satellite. A Roscosmos photo

MOSCOW (BNS): Russia’s Proton-M carrier rocket, which had failed to orbit three GLONASS navigation satellites for Russia early this month, has successfully launched a European satellite early on Monday.

The rocket, carrying the Ka-Sat telecommunications satellite built by EADS Astrium for Eutelsat, lifted off from the Baikonur cosmodrome at 00.51 Moscow time (21:51 GMT) on Monday.

The satellite was scheduled to separate from the rocket’s Breeze-M upper stage booster nine hours later, Russian space agency Roscosmos said.

The new satellite has been designed to provide communications services to customers across Europe and the Mediterranean.

This was the 12th launch for the Proton-M carrier this year and first after the failed GLONASS launch earlier this month.

A Proton-M SLV, launched on December 5, could not place three GLONASS satellites in orbit after taking a wrong trajectory and crashing in the Pacific Ocean.

Russia had postponed all Proton launches following that incident.

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