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Proton returns to flight with GLONASS launch
Posted: Fri, Oct 26, 2007, 9:31 AM ET (1331 GMT)
Proton launch (file photo) A Russian Proton rocket launched three navigation satellites Friday in the first flight for the booster since a failure less than two months ago. The Proton K rocket lifted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 3:35 am EDT (0735 GMT) Friday and placed three GLONASS navigation satellites into a medium Earth orbit. The three satellites will help repopulate the Russian navigation system that had deteriorated in the 1990s; additional launches will bring the GLONASS constellation back to its full strength of 24 satellites by 2009. The launch was the first Proton flight since a commercial Proton launch failed on September 6. That failure was traced to a faulty cable that prevented the first and second stages from separating. The next commercial Proton launch, of the Sirius 4 communications satellite for Swedish company SES Sirius, is scheduled for mid-November.
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