Russia Readies Proton Rocket for October 20 Launch

MOSCOW, October 17 (RIA Novosti) – A Proton-M carrier rocket with a US telecoms satellite will be transported early Thursday to a launch pad at the Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan in preparation for launch on October 20, Russia’s space agency Roscosmos said.

According to Roscosmos, the Proton rocket with a Briz-M booster and the Sirius FM-6 satellite has been cleared for the launch by a special state commission on Wednesday.

It will be a second Proton mission after a launch failure in July when a Proton-M rocket carrying three satellites for the Glonass positioning system, Russia’s answer to the GPS, crashed in a ball of flames, seconds after blasting off from Baikonur.

During the first launch on September 30, following a three-month suspension, a Proton-M successfully orbited the Astra 2E telecoms satellite, manufactured in France for Luxembourg-based SES S.A. satellite operator.

Sirius FM-6 is a high-power geostationary satellite built by Space Systems/Loral for SiriusXM, America’s largest radio broadcaster measured by revenue and one of the world’s largest pure-play audio entertainment companies.

The 6-ton satellite, which has a service life of 15 years, “will help with the delivery of commercial-free music, and premier sports, news, talk, entertainment and Latin programming, traffic and weather to more than 25 million subscribers,” according to International Launch Services (ILS), the operator of Proton launches.


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