Six RD-276 engines powered a Russian Proton rocket off the launch pad Wednesday at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, boosting a television broadcast payload for Eutelsat and the first commercial robotic satellite servicing spacecraft into orbit.
The 191-foot-tall (58.2-meter) Proton rocket lifted off from pad 39 at the Site 200 complex at Baikonur at 1017:56 GMT (6:17:56 a.m. EDT).
Liftoff occurred at 3:17 p.m. local time at Baikonur with the Eutelsat 5 West B communications satellite and the first Mission Extension Vehicle, which will attempt the first-ever docking with another spacecraft near geostationary orbit, located more than 22,000 miles (nearly 36,000 kilometers) above the equator.
Nearly 16 hours later, the Proton rocket’s Breeze M upper stage released the two satellites into an on-target supersynchronous transfer orbit. The two spacecraft will use their own thrusters to maneuver into their final orbits.
Wednesday’s mission was the first managed by International Launch Services since 2017. ILS is a U.S.-based, Russian-owned firm responsible for sales of Proton launch services on the commercial market.
Read our full story for details on the mission.
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