Photos of Tuesday's Proton launch
BY STEPHEN CLARK
Posted: October 21, 2014
Russia's Express AM6 communications satellite lifted off aboard a Proton rocket Tuesday and reached its targeted geostationary transfer orbit after a nine-hour climb thousands of miles above Earth.
Powered by six RD-276 engines generating nearly 2.5 million pounds of thrust, the Proton rocket launched at 1509 GMT (11:09 a.m. EDT) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, where it was 9:09 p.m. local time.
Turning east from the historic launch base, the 191-foot-tall three-stage rocket accelerated to nearly orbital velocity -- about 17,000 mph -- before deploying a Breeze M upper stage for a series of four burns to put the Express AM6 satellite in the correct orbit.
Separation of the 3,400-kilogram, or 7,500-pound, Express AM6 satellite occurred at 0031 GMT Wednesday (8:31 p.m. EDT Tuesday), according to Roscosmos, the Russian Federal Space Agency.
The satellite cleanly separated into the launch's targeted orbit, Roscosmos said.
Tuesday's launch marked the:
- 399th Proton rocket launch since 1965
- 77th Proton M using a Breeze M upper stage since 2001
- 6th Proton launch of 2014
- 15th launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in 2014
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