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Proton returns to flight, launches Mexican satellite
Posted: Wed, Mar 27, 2013, 7:26 AM ET (1126 GMT)
Proton M launch of Satmex 8 (ILS) The Proton rocket returned to flight early Wednesday with the successful launch of a Mexican satellite. The Proton M lifted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 3:07 pm EDT Tuesday (1907 GMT Tuesday, 1:07 am local time Wednesday) carrying the Satmex 8 satellite. The rocket's Breeze M upper stage released the satellite into geosynchronous transfer orbit nine hours and 13 minutes after liftoff. Satmex 8, a Space Systems/Loral 1300 model spacecraft, weighed 5,474 kilograms at launch and carries a payload of 24 C-band and 40 Ku-band transponders. Mexican satellite operator Satmex will use the spacecraft at 116.8 degrees west in GEO, replacing the existing Satmex 5 satellite. The launch was the first for the Proton since a December mission that placed a communications satellite into a lower-than-planned orbit when the upper stage shut down prematurely.
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