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US space satellite enters designated orbit after separating from Briz-M booster

June 10, 2:36 UTC+3
This satellite is the first for the Proton-M carrier rocket of the fourth and last phase of upgrade, which features increased carrying capacity
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© AP Photo/archive

MOSCOW, June 10. /TASS/. US Intelsat 31 (Intelsat DLA2), launched on board of a Proton-M carrier rocket from the Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan on Thursday, has separated from the Briz-M booster and put into the designated orbit, a spokesman for the state space corporation Roscosmos told TASS.

"The separation of the satellite from the booster took place on time," the spokesman said.

The engines of the booster were switched on five times in order to place the satellite in the designated orbit, the spokesman added.

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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