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Russia’s Proton-M rocket with foreign satellites blasts off from Baikonur spaceport

9 October 2019 18:45

MOSCOW. KAZINFORM A Proton-M carrier rocket with a Breeze-M booster blasted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to deliver a European Eutelsat-5WB and a US MEV-1 satellite into orbit, according to an online broadcast on the website of Russia’s State Space Corporation Roscosmos, TASS reports.

The upper part of the Proton-M rocket with the booster and the two satellites is set to separate from the third stage 582.3 seconds (about ten minutes) after the liftoff.

After that, the Breeze-M will fire its engines five times to deliver the satellites into the designated orbits.

The Eutelsat 5WB is set to separate from the booster 15 hours and 36 minutes after the launch, at 04:53 a.m. Moscow time on October 10, while the US MEV-1 will detach several minutes after that, at 05:12 a.m. Moscow time.

The delivery of the satellites into their designated orbits, from the blast-off to their separation, will take a record 15 hours and 54 minutes. Roscosmos explained to TASS that such a lengthy delivery was related to the satellites’ orbits.

The previous record was set by an ExoMars probe launched in March 2016 with the help of a Proton-M rocket. The rocket’s Breeze-M booster injected the interplanetary station into its flight path to Mars in about 11 hours.

Initially, the liftoff was scheduled for September 30, 2019 but was delayed due to the need to hold further tests of the booster’s control system. A source in the domestic space industry explained to TASS that the launch was delayed because the US satellite was attached incorrectly to the upper stage.

Roscosmos Head Dmitry Rogozin confirmed to reporters that a problem linked with the interface between the Russian control system and the satellites’ electronics was the cause of the launch’s delay. On September 27, the state commission made a decision to reschedule the launch for October 9.

International Launch Services Company signed a contract with the Eutelsat European satellite communications operator in 2016 for the launch of a Proton-M carrier rocket with a paired payload comprising the Eutelsat-5Wb and the first satellite to extend the service life of MEV-1 space vehicles.

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