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Proton-M launch vehicle puts US satellite into orbit

June 08, 8:23 UTC+3 MOSCOW

A Proton-M rocket has launched the US telecom probe EChostar-21 into datum orbit

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© Sergei Savostyanov/TASS

MOSCOW, June 8. /TASS/. A Proton-M rocket has launched the US telecom probe EChostar-21 into datum orbit, a spokesman for the Roscosmos space corporation informed TASS on Thursday.

"The third-stage vehicle has separated from the space probe," the spokesman said.

The further travel of the space probe to a geo-transitional orbit with the parameters of 36,000 km by 2,300 km will be assisted by five burns of the upper-stage vehicle.

"The delivery of the probe to the datum orbit is likely to take 9 minutes 41 seconds," the spokesman said.

That was the first blast of the Proton-M launch vehicle this year. The previous liftoff of a Proton family vehicle took place on June 9, 2016. The vehicle brought the Intelsat-31 satellite then. Echostar-21 was to be launched soon after but the date was rescheduled time after time and then was postponed after specialists had found a defect in stage two and stage three engines.

Reports said the manufacturer had used a different soldering flux in the production of 71 engines. Although it was more expensive, it still did not meet the general technological requirements.

On the whole, delivery of Echostar-21 to the designated orbit (from the takeoff through to the separation of the space probe from the upper-stage booster) is likely to take 9 hours 13 minutes and will round up at 15:58 Moscow Time. After that the U.S. customer, the U.S. mobile telephony operator EchoStar Corporation, will take over control of the satellite.

The Proton-M launch vehicle blasted off from Baikonur Space Center in Kazakhstan at 06:45 Moscow Time.

Echostar-21 is a powerful geostationary telecom satellite built by Space Systems/Loral. It will support cellular services in Europe.

The satellite weighs 6,871 kg and has an estimated time limit of active existence of fifteen years.

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