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Russia’s Troubled Rocket Cleared for Launch

RIA Novosti

19:27 29/01/2013 MOSCOW, January 29 (RIA Novosti) - Russia’s Proton-M carrier rocket will orbit a Mexican communication satellite, SatMex-8, in the first launch since the Yamal-402 satellite trouble, a spokesman for the Proton manufacturer, the Khrunichev Center, said on Tuesday.

The launch is tentatively scheduled to take place in late February, he added.

SatMex-8 could not be launched in December 2012 due to “a temporary embargo” on Proton launches following the Yamal-402 problem, the spokesman said.

The Yamal-402 satellite, equipped with 46 Ku-band transponders, was launched from the Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan on December 8, 2012, but separated from its upper stage four minutes early due to an apparent glitch in the Briz-M booster.

Its manufacturer, Thales Alenia Space, carried out a four-step recovery operation, which required the use of the satellite’s own engines and fuel reserves. Yamal reached its designated geostationary orbit on December 15.

The Yamal-402 satellite was built for the Gazprom Space Systems (GSS) company, the telecommunications arm of Russian energy giant Gazprom, to provide communication links over most of Russia, the CIS, Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

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