MOSCOW, December 13. / TASS /. The commission of the Baikonur spaceport has confirmed that the Proton-M rocket carrying two Ekspress-AMU3 and Ekspress-AMU7 telecom satellites is ready for being refueled and launched, the Russian Roscosmos state space agency said on Monday.
"Baikonur’s commission has reaffirmed the readiness of the Proton-M heavy-lift launch vehicle with two Ekspress-AMU3 and Ekspress-AMU7 telecom satellites for being launched. It allowed the rocket to be refueled and lifted off at 15:07 Moscow Time," Roscosmos stated on its Telegram channel.
According to the space agency, the Proton-M tanks are going to be loaded with propellants about six hours before the launch.
The rocket launch is scheduled for 15:07 Moscow Time. In about nine minutes, the rocket head consisting of the upper stage and two satellites will separate from the third stage of the launch vehicle. Ekspress-AMU7 is going to separate from the upper stage in 17 hours and 50 minutes after the launch, while Express-AMU3 will break away in 18 hours and 7 minutes.
Roscosmos CEO Dmitry Rogozin announced earlier that the launch had been postponed to December 12 due to the need to refine the rocket’s booster. Roscosmos specified later that experts from the Khrunichev Center had resolved an issue with the Briz-M booster. However, an issue was detected in the booster on Friday and the launch was moved to a backup date, December 13.