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Russian carrier rocket Proton puts European satellite into orbit

RIA Novosti

18/11/2007 13:00 MOSCOW, November 18 (RIA Novosti) - A Russian Proton-M carrier rocket, launched from the Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan, has put a European telecommunications satellite into orbit, Russia's space agency (Roskosmos) said on Sunday.

SIRIUS 4 is a multi-mission Ku/Ka-band satellite operated by SES SIRIUS AB, a leading European provider of telecommunication services. The satellite has a service life of 15 years and consists of 54 active transponders covering Europe and Africa.

"At the designated time [10:53 a.m. Moscow time (7:53 a.m. GMT)], the foreign spacecraft separated from the Briz-M booster, went into orbit and control of it has been transferred to the customer," Roskosmos said.

The Proton rocket launches both commercial missions and Russian government payloads from the Baikonur space center, which is operated by Roskosmos under lease from Kazakhstan.

On October 24, Kazakhstan lifted a ban on Proton launches from the Baikonur space center, which was imposed following a September 6 crash of a Proton-M rocket for which Astana is seeking 1.5 billion rubles ($60 million) in compensation.

After the November 18 Proton-M and SIRIUS 4 launch, a Soyuz-FG carrier rocket with Canada's RADARSAT-2 will lift off December 8, a Soyuz-U rocket with a Progress M-62 resupply ship December 23, and a Proton-K with three Glonass-M satellites December 25.

Another launch of a Proton launch vehicle with a Globus spacecraft in December will be made on behalf of the Russian Defense Ministry.

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