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Russia’s Proton-M carrier with Luch data relay satellite set to blast off on Sunday

September 23, 2014, 22:17 UTC+3 MOSCOW
This May Russia’s Proton-M rocket with an Express-AM4R telecommunications satellite went down shortly after blasting off from the Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan
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© ITAR-TASS/ Roscosmos

MOSCOW, September 23. /ITAR-TASS/. Russia’s Proton-M carrier rocket equipped with Briz-M booster and carrying data relay satellite Luch is scheduled to blast off from the Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan on September 28, the Khrunichev Space Centre said on Tuesday.

According to the center, which manufactures Proton-series carrier rockets, the Proton-M was already installed on its launching pad in Kazakhstan and was undergoing final preparations for its scheduled Sunday launch, which will be the first after an unsuccessful launch in May.

This May Russia’s Proton-M rocket with an Express-AM4R telecommunications satellite went down shortly after blasting off from the Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan. The rocket burned down in the thick layers of the atmosphere while the satellite after the Briz-M booster failed to separate from the spacecraft.

Russia in recent years experienced a number of unsuccessful space launches. Prior to the May incident another Proton-M went down after the launch in 2013 failing to deliver three Glonass navigation satellites into orbit. Similar accidents happened in December 2010, in August 2011, and in August 2012.

Failures also haunted the launches of other Russian carrier rockets: Rokot with a geodesy satellite in February 2011 and Soyuz-U, which failed to orbit a Progress spacecraft carrying a cargo for the International Space Station (ISS) in August of 2011.

In November 2011, the Russian-Ukrainian Zenit-2SB rocket carrying the Fobos-Grunt space probe failed to reach the designated trajectory for its mission flight to Mars. The launch of a similar rocket carrying US telecommunications satellite Intelsat failed in February 2013.

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