Proton blasts off from wintry Baikonur Cosmodrome

A Proton rocket fired away from the snow-covered Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Thursday, completing a series of maneuvers before deploying a Russian civil communications satellite in orbit nine hours later.

Liftoff of the workhorse Russian rocket from the Central Asia launch base was at 1049:56 GMT (5:49:56 a.m. EST; 4:49:56 p.m. local time).

The 19-story rocket quickly disappeared into a soupy cloud deck hanging over the Baikonur Cosmodrome, where temperatures hovered near freezing and a coating of snow blanketed the arid terrain.

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Credit: Roscosmos

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