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Russia's Proton-M rocket fails to reach target orbit

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MOSCOW (BNS): Russia's Proton-M carrier rocket failed to put into orbit two telecommunications satellites due to problems in its booster stage, federal space agency Roscosmos said Tuesday.

Russia launched a Proton-M rocket with Briz-M booster carrying the Express MD2 and Telcom-3 communication satellites at 19:31 GMT from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

According to preliminary data, Briz-M fired engines at a scheduled time, but they worked only for seven seconds rather than the programmed 18 minutes and 5 seconds.

Roscosmos has confirmed that satellites were not delivered into their orbits and are considered lost. An emergency commission is investigating the contingency event.

"The Briz-M booster and the two satellites have not been detected on the transition orbit. The signal from the booster has been received from an interim emergency orbit, instead," Roscosmos said in a statement on its official website.

The Express MD2 satellite was designed at the Khrunichev Space Center in alliance with Italy's Thales Alenia Space to retransmit various communications flows to broadcast on the territory of Russia.

The Telcom-3 satellite was made by Russia's Reshetnev Information Satellite Systems for Indonesia's PT Telekomunikasi Indonesia Tbk. It was supposed to provide TV broadcasts in Indonesia and the Indo-china region.

Last August, Russia lost contact with a communications satellite shortly after a Proton-M launch. In 2007, a Proton-M carrying a Japanese communications satellite crashed.

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