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Russia launches Proton-M carrier rocket

The Proton-M is a Russian carrier rocket used to deliver large payloads, such as satellites, into orbit. Photo: Khrunichev Space Center.

MOSCOW (BNS): Russia early Wednesday successfully launched its Proton-M carrier rocket from Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan, a Space Forces spokesman said.

According to a news report in RIA Novosti, the launch took place at 2:47 Moscow time (22:47 GMT Tuesday), as scheduled.

"The spacecraft is scheduled to separate from the Briz-M booster at 11:48 Moscow time (7:48 GMT)," Col. Alexei Zolotukhin was quoted as saying in the news report.

Russia has recently resumed its' space launches using Proton-M rockets after authorities blamed "human error" as the prime reason for last month's failure to place a satellite into its designated orbit.

The launches of Proton-M with Briz-M booster stage, the main rocket Russia uses for carrying satellites into space, were suspended after state-of-the-art Express-AM4 telecommunications satellite failed to reach the orbit on August 18 after lifting off from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

One week after the Express-AM4 went off course, a Soyuz-U rocket carrying the Progress M-12M spaceship to the International Space Station failed to reach orbit, on August 24. The cause of the crash was later traced to the malfunctioning of a gas generator of the Soyuz rocket’s third-stage engine.

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