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Russia prepares for launch of U.S. telecoms satellite

RIA Novosti

12/01/2009 13:52 MOSCOW, January 12 (RIA Novosti) - Russia has delivered a U.S. Telstar telecom satellite to the Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan in preparation for a scheduled launch, Russia's space agency Roscosmos said on Monday.

A Zenith-3SLB carrier rocket equipped with a DM-SLB booster with the Telstar 11N satellite on board is scheduled to lift off from Baikonur on February 26.

"Following the necessary customs procedures, the satellite and the auxiliary equipment will be transported to launch pad No. 31 at the space center, where the spacecraft will undergo the remaining launch preparations," Roscosmos said in a statement.

The Telstar 11N, built by Space Systems/Loral for Loral Skynet telecoms company, will provide services from 39 high-power Ku-band transponders spread across four different geographic beams in each of North and Central America, Europe, Africa and the maritime Atlantic Ocean Region.

The Zenit-3SLB is a modernized three-stage version of the Zenit-3SL, which was previously used at Sea Launch's floating platform in the Pacific Ocean.

Russia is planning to set a world record by conducting a total of 39 space launches in 2009 despite the current global financial crisis.

The country carried out 27 space launches in 2008 and 26 launches in 2007, becoming the world's leader in this sphere.

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