Video: Proton rocket returns to service with launch of EchoStar 21

Video credit: Roscosmos/TsENKI

A Proton rocket launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan with the EchoStar 21 communications satellite Thursday, the heaviest commercial payload ever flown aboard a Russian booster.

The launcher lifted off from Pad 24 at Complex 81 at the historic spaceport at 0345:47 GMT Thursday (11:45:47 p.m. EDT Wednesday) to begin a nine-hour climb into a geostationary transfer orbit with EchoStar 21, a U.S.-built satellite designed to support a mobile voice and data relay network in Europe.

The 191-foot-tall (58-meter) rocket launched at 9:45 a.m. local time in Kazakhstan.

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