Saturday, March 20, 2010

Russian Proton lofts DISH-TV Satellite into Space

The workhorse of the Russian launch vehicles lifted-off tonight to deliver an upgraded satellite which will expand high definition services for the DISH-TV consumer pay television service.

Launch of the heaviest Proton satellite delivery mission began today at 2:27 pm EDT (12:27 am local time) or 1827 GMT -- the first day of the Spring Equinox.

Tonight's midnight launch from the Baikonour Cosmodrome in western Kazakhstan occurred on time as it punched through a clear, starry sky, and began it's trajectory across the country with a 61.25 launch azimuth.

The 191-foot Proton carried the EchoStar 14 satellite into orbit for the DISH-TV network's over 14 million customers in the United States.

Following a series of five long burns by the upper stage, the spacecraft will separate from the Breeze-M upper stage at 11:37 pm tonight (0337 GMT) -- just over nine hours following launch as it flies high off the Somalia coast.

This was the 21st ILS Proton launch in the last twenty months; and only the 355th Proton flight since the very first launch occurred in July 1965.

The next ILS Proton-M launch from Baikonour is planned for April 24th when it carries aloft the SES-01 satellite.

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