Russian Proton-M rocket takes US satellite into orbit (VIDEO)
A Russian heavy-lift Proton-M rocket has been launched from Baikonur Cosmodrome, taking an American communication satellite into space. This is Roscosmos’ first Proton-M launch this year.
The rocket, which carries the US communications satellite Echostar-21, lifted off Baikonur at the appointed time on Thursday morning, Roscosmos said in a statement.
Later, the Russian space agency confirmed Proton’s booster successfully separated from the rocket on its way to orbit. Roscosmos also released a video showing the spectacular launch in the middle of Kazakhstan’s steppe.
Thursday’s launch breaks a year-long pause in Proton-M operations.
Earlier, production flaws of the rocket’s engines left Protons grounded for months, prompting a government inquiry.
Видео вывоза ракеты космического назначения «Протон-М» с космическим аппаратом связи #EchoStar21 5 июня 2017 года pic.twitter.com/mD9g35FrBZ— РОСКОСМОС (@roscosmos) June 5, 2017
The Proton-M is the latest version of the workhorse Russian heavy rocket used to place satellites in low-Earth orbit.
Echostar 21 is a geostationary communications satellite designed and developed by Space Systems/Loral. It will provide mobile phone coverage for European customers.