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Proton M inaugurual launch a success
Posted: Sat, Apr 7, 2001, 11:04 AM ET (1504 GMT)
Proton launch (file photo) A Proton M, the newest version of the Russian heavy-lift launcher,successfully lifted off Saturday on its first flight. The rocket lifted off from Baikonur at 11:47 pm EDT Friday (0347 GMT Saturday) from Baikonur, Kazakhstan and placed into geosynchronous transfer orbit a domestic television broadcast satellite. The Proton M features a number of upgrades over the Proton K that has been in use, including more powerful first-stage engines and an improved flight control system, which combined will provide a small increase in the booster's payload capacity. A new advanced upper stage, Breeze-M, which has been flown on several Proton K flights, will also allow the Proton M to carry larger satellites. One or two more test flights, each carrying live payloads, are planned for the Protom M before it enters commercial service.
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