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Russian Proton carrier rocket launch delayed over problem with ground-based equipment

June 08, 2016, 10:06 UTC+3 MOSCOW

The Proton launch vehicle and the Intelsat 31 satellite were unaffected and remain in a safe configuration at the launch site

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© Roscosmos/ITAR-TASS

MOSCOW, June 8. /TASS/. The launch of Russia’s Proton-M carrier rocket with a US Intelsat 31 (Intelsat DLA-2) communications satellite has been delayed over a problem with the ground-based electrical equipment system, the Russian-American joint venture International Launch Services (ILS) reported on Wednesday.

International Launch Services makes commercial launches of Proton-M carrier rockets.

"Today’s scheduled Proton launch of the Intelsat 31 satellite has been postponed due to an issue associated with electrical ground system equipment at Launch Pad 24. The issue has been identified, equipment has been replaced and verification of all associated cabling and connectors is in work," the ILS reported on its website.

The Proton launch vehicle and the Intelsat 31 satellite were unaffected and remain in a safe configuration at the launch site, it said.

"Pending a successful outcome of the cable and connector verifications, Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center and International Launch Services (ILS) plan to make another attempt at 13:10 tomorrow local time in Baikonur," the ILS reported.

Russia’s state space corporation Roscosmos reported earlier on Wednesday that the launch of the Proton-M carrier rocket with the US Intelsat satellite had been delayed for twenty-four hours for technical reasons.

The US communications satellite is designed to provide telecoms services on the territory of Latin America. Initially, the launch was scheduled for 10:10 a.m. Moscow time (07:10 GMT) on Wednesday. Earlier, the launch was postponed on many occasions. It was initially planned for late 2015 and then in April 2016. It was rescheduled for May 17 and then for May 28. Later, the launch was postponed until May 31 and June 8.

The latest delays in the launch were caused by problems in the control system of the Briz-M booster.

The satellite was produced by the US company Space Systems Loral. The satellite weighs over 6 tons. The contract for its launch was signed in March 2013.

Rocket launches in the past few days have been delayed in many countries. In particular, the launch of the Russian Soyuz MS spacecraft with a new crew for the International Space Station was postponed while the United States delayed the launch of the Delta Heavy carrier rocket. Also, the launches of the European rocket Ariane, the Indian carrier rocket PSLV and the US commercial rocket Falkon 9 were delayed.

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