MOSCOW, June 9. /TASS/. The Proton-M carrier rocket with Briz-M rocket orbit insertion upper stage and US communications satellite Intelsat 31 (Intelsat DLA2) has been launched from the Baikonur spaceport, the press service of Russia’s Roscosmos space agency said on Thursday.
"The carrier rocket was launched in accordance with the schedule," the press service said.
The launch was initially scheduled for the morning of June 8 but it was postponed to a reserve date for technical reasons - one of the rocket’s connectors turned out to be faulty.
The core module of the Briz-M rocket orbit insertion upper stage and Intelsat 31 satellite are scheduled to separate from the rocket nine minutes after the launch, at 10:19am Moscow time. The spacecraft is expected to be put into orbit at 1:41am Moscow time on June 10, the space agency noted.
The communications satellite was manufactured by US company Space Systems Loral on the request by Intelsat S.A. communications satellite services provider. The satellite weighs over six tons. The contract on its launch was signed in March 2013 by Russian-US company International Launch Services Inc. Intelsat 31 will provide television services in Latin America.
ILS Proton Launch Services utilizes the Proton-M/Breeze-M launch vehicle to launch and orbit commercial spacecraft. The Proton-M/ Breeze-M launcher is the latest evolution of the Proton launch vehicle that dates back to the initial launch in May 1965. The first Proton-M/ Breeze-M rocket was flown for a Russian federal mission in April 2001, and the first commercial Proton-M/ Breeze-M vehicle was flown in December 2002 with the NIMIQ 2 satellite for Telesat. Proton launch vehicles are designed and built by Khrunichev within its facility near Moscow. The Khrunichev facility is home to all engineering, assembly and test functions of the Proton launcher.