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Proton launches communications satellite
Posted: Sat, Aug 5, 2006, 7:29 AM ET (1129 GMT)
Proton launch (file photo) A Proton rocket launched a European satellite Friday night on the first commercial mission for the rocket since a failure five months ago. The Proton M lifted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 5:48 pm EDT Friday (2148 GMT Friday, 3:48 am local time Saturday) carrying the Hot Bird 8 satellite for Eutelsat. The Proton released the satellite into geosynchronous transfer orbit 9 hours and 11 minutes after liftoff. The satellite, an EADS Astrium Eurostar E3000 model, weighs 4,875 kg and carries 64 Ku-band transponders. European satellite operator Eutelsat will use Hot Bird 8, to be located at 13 degrees east in GEO, to provide various communications services to Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East. The launch was the first commercial mission for the Proton since the March 1 launch of Arabsat 4A; the satellite was stranded in a transfer orbit and eventually deorbited after the Breeze M upper stage shut down prematurely.
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