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Proton-M rocket to be launched from Baikonur first time after May crash

August 28, 2015, 4:43 UTC+3 MOSCOW
The carrier rocket will orbit the British telecommunications satellite Inmarsat-5F3
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© ITAR-TASS/Oleg Urusov

MOSCOW, August 28. /TASS/. Russia’s Proton-M rocket will be launched on Friday for the first time after the May crash from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The carrier rocket will orbit the British telecommunications satellite Inmarsat-5F3, the press service of the Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Centre, which makes the Protons, told TASS.

"The launch is scheduled for 14:44 pm, Moscow time on August 28," the company said.

The separation of the upper stage - the satellite with the Briz-M booster - is to take place nine minutes after the launch, at 14:53 pm, Moscow time.

After that the satellite will be placed into orbit by means of five burns of the Briz-M’s sustainer engine and is expected to separate from the booster in some 12 hours after the blast-off - at 02:44 am, Moscow time on August 29.

The UK satellite had been planned to be orbited in late May, but the launch was postponed due to the Proton-M rocket accident, which took place on May 16 - exactly one year after a similar incident. A Mexican telecommunications satellite was lost in the abortive launch. The Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) arrived at the conclusion that the accident was caused by a design defect that had led to a Proton fall back in 1988.

Inmarsat-5F3 is a fifth-generation telecommunications satellite of the international satellite operator Inmarsat. It was manufactured by the American company Boeing. The satellite will join the Global Express new global system of mobile satellite services, which will consist of four satellites and six Inmarsat ground stations. The company will invest $1.2 billion in its infrastructure and space segment.

To date, two satellites of the new system have been launched. The first - Inmarsat-5F1 - was launched in late 2013. Its ··coverage area includes Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia. The Inmarsat-5F2 satellite is to provide telecommunications services in North America and South America and in the Atlantic. The third satellite will provide communications services to the Pacific region.

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