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Russian Proton-M carrier rocket brings booster, US satellite into interim orbit

June 09, 11:23 UTC+3 MOSCOW
The designated time of the spacecraft’s separation from the Briz-M acceleration unit [the time of bringing the satellite into the target orbit] is 01:41 a.m. Moscow time on June 10
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© Russian Federal Space Agency Roscosmos, Archive

MOSCOW, June 9. /TASS/. A Briz-M booster and a US Intelsat 31 (Intelsat DLA2) satellite have separated from the third stage of the Proton-M carrier rocket launched from the Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan on Thursday, the press office of state space corporation Roscosmos reported on Thursday.

"The front section separated in a normal mode. The designated time of the spacecraft’s separation from the Briz-M acceleration unit [the time of bringing the satellite into the target orbit] is 01:41 a.m. Moscow time on June 10," Roscosmos said.

The acceleration unit will still have to fire engines five times to bring the satellite into the designated orbit.

This satellite is the first for the Proton-M carrier rocket of the fourth and last phase of upgrade, which features increased carrying capacity.

The plan of the carrier rocket’s staged modernization was developed in 2003 at the Salyut design bureau, part of the Khrunichev Space Center and stipulated increasing the payload from 2.6 to 3.5 tons for the geostationary orbit and from 4.5 to almost 6.5 tons for the geostationary transfer orbit.

The carrier rocket was expected to blast off in the morning of June 8 but the launch was postponed due to technical reasons as one of the rocket’s connectors proved to be faulty.

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.

The US communications satellite is designed to provide telecoms services on the territory of Latin America.

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