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Russian-U.S. launch firm to put satellite in orbit in August

RIA Novosti

27/06/2008 17:55 MOSCOW, June 27 (RIA Novosti) - The Russian-American joint venture International Launch Services (ILS) has started preparations for the first launch of a Proton-M rocket since one partially failed in March, the Khrunichev State Research and Production Center said Friday.

A company review on June 16 cleared the Proton Breeze M to return to flight this summer following a failure during the March 15 launch of the U.S. AMC-14 satellite from the Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan. The satellite was inserted into a lower-than-planned orbit.

"A Breeze-M booster for the Proton-M carrier rocket has been delivered to the [Baikonur] space center," the company said in a statement. "The launch vehicle will deliver the Inmarsat-4F3 mobile services communications satellite into orbit."

"The launch has been scheduled for August 2008," the statement said.

Khrunichev, which has a majority interest in ILS, is one of the cornerstones of the Russian space industry. Khrunichev manufactures the Proton system and is developing the Angara launch system.

ILS provides satellite customers with a complete array of services and support and has exclusive rights to market the Proton, Russia's premier heavy-lift launch vehicle, to commercial satellite operators worldwide.

The Inmarsat-4 (I-4) satellites are among the largest and most sophisticated commercial communication satellites in the world, and are capable of delivering advanced voice and broadband data communications to mobile users.

Three I-4 satellites were built for Inmarsat by EADS Astrium. The I-4 F1 was launched in March 2005, while the I-4 F2 was launched in November 2005.

The launch of the Inmarsat-4 F3 will complete the I-4 constellation and support the global delivery of Inmarsat's latest services.

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