Friday, May 20, 2011
A Russian rocket carried a new communications satellite into earth orbit today
The workhorse of Russia's commercial launch fleet, the Proton M lifted on it's first flight of the year.
An International Launch Services Proton M lifted-off on time at 3:15 p.m. EDT (1915 GMT) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in western Kazakhstan.
The rocket launched into the blackness of a clear night, and it's core booster engine was visible for several minutes from the launch site.
Built by Space Systems/ Loral, the Telstar 14R will provide telecommunications and high data network for homes and businesses in North, Central and the upper regions of South America.
The nearly 11,000-pound spacecraft will replace the failed Telstar 14 which was launched in 2004. One of it's two power producing solar arrays failed to deploy crippling the service ability.
Spacecraft separation from the rocket's Breeze M upper stage is planned for 12:28 a.m. Saturday.