2158 GMT (5:58 p.m. EDT)
ILS says the first Breeze M burn is complete, and the rocket is now in a coast phase until ignition of the second upper stage burn at about 2245 GMT (6:45 p.m. EDT).
2153 GMT (5:53 p.m. EDT)
T+plus 15 minutes. International Launch Services confirms the Breeze M upper stage has ignited for the first of five burns in this mission. The first burn is designed to accelerate the rocket and payload from a suborbital trajectory into a low-altitude parking orbit.
2149 GMT (5:49 p.m. EDT)
T+plus 11 minutes, 15 seconds. Officials confirm successful shutdown of the Proton's third stage and separation of the Breeze M upper stage, which should soon ignite for the first of five burns.

This first burn should last about four-and-a-half minutes, placing the Breeze M and ASTRA 2E in a circular parking orbit 109 miles high with an inclination of 51.5 degrees.

2146 GMT (5:46 p.m. EDT)
T+plus 8 minutes. Proton's second stage has separated, and the third stage RD-0213 engine has begun its burn. The rocket's payload fairing has also been released now that the launcher is in the upper atmosphere.
2141 GMT (5:41 p.m. EDT)
T+plus 3 minutes, 30 seconds. The second stage's RD-0211 main engine and RD-0210 vernier engines continue firing as the rocket appears as a brilliant moving star in the predawn sky over Kazakhstan.
2140 GMT (5:40 p.m. EDT)
T+plus 2 minutes, 20 seconds. The Proton's first stage has shut down and jettisoned, and the second stage engines are firing with a half-million pounds of thrust.
2139 GMT (5:39 p.m. EDT)
T+plus 70 seconds. The Proton rocket has passed the speed of sound and the phase of maximum aerodynamic pressure.
2138 GMT (5:38 p.m. EDT)
Liftoff of the Proton rocket, returning to commercial service delivering the ASTRA 2E communications satellite to orbit covering Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
2137 GMT (5:37 p.m. EDT)
T-minus 30 seconds. Ignition of the six first stage RD-276 engines occurs at T-minus 1.75 seconds, followed by a quick health check before committing to liftoff.
2137 GMT (5:37 p.m. EDT)
T-minus 60 seconds minutes. The weather conditions are Baikonur are reported to be ideal, with clear skies just after sunset. The temperature is around 57 degrees Fahrenheit.
2136 GMT (5:36 p.m. EDT)
T-minus 2 minutes. The countdown is being run by a master computer sequencer.
2130 GMT (5:30 p.m. EDT)
T-minus 8 minutes. The readiness of the Proton core vehicle, the Breeze M upper stage and ASTRA 2E will be verified over the next few minutes.
2128 GMT (5:28 p.m. EDT)
T-minus 10 minutes. The Proton launcher on the pad weighs about 1.5 million pounds, and it will be powered into the sky by six first stage RD-276 engines producing more than 2 million pounds of thrust.

The ASTRA 2E satellite weighs 13,271 pounds at liftoff. Eutelsat 3D was transitioned to internal power a few minutes ago.

2123 GMT (5:23 p.m. EDT)
T-minus 15 minutes. It is in the predawn hours Monday at the Baikonur Cosmodrome as the final launch pad workers evacuate to a safe distance away from the rocket.
2108 GMT (5:08 p.m. EDT)
With 30 minutes left in the countdown, everything remains on schedule for launch at 2138:10 GMT (5:38:10 p.m. EDT; 3:38:10 a.m. Baikonur time). It will take more than 9 hours to deploy ASTRA 2E in the proper orbit.

The Proton rocket's first stage will blast off powered by six RD-276 engines producing more than 2 million pounds of thrust. The 191-foot-tall launcher will ascend northeast from Baikonur, dropping its first stage 2 minutes after liftoff, giving way to the Proton's second stage RD-0211 main engine for a three-and-a-half minute burn.

The Proton's third stage, using a RD-0213 main engine with 131,000 pounds of thrust, next will fire for about four minutes. Separation of the 13.1-foot-diameter nose cone occurs during the third stage burn at T+plus 5 minutes, 47 seconds.

The Breeze M upper stage will assume control at T+plus 9 minutes, 42 seconds, when it separates from the Proton's third stage. Five Breeze M engine burns are planned over a 9-hour period to inject ASTRA 2E in the proper geosynchronous transfer orbit.

2055 GMT (4:55 p.m. EDT)
Liftoff of the Proton rocket is 30 minutes away. This will be the:
2038 GMT (4:38 p.m. EDT)
The launch pad gantry has moved away from the Proton rocket at Baikonur, revealing the silver booster as the countdown is inside the final hour until liftoff.

The Proton rocket and Breeze M upper stage are fully fueled with liquid hydrazine and nitrogen tetroxide propellants as dusk falls on the Baikonur Cosmodrome, where it is currently 2:43 a.m. local time.

A Russian Proton rocket is poised for flight on the steppes of Kazakhstan, ready to blast off Sunday on the heavy-lift launcher's first mission since a July 2 failure moments after leaving the launch pad.

The three-stage rocket and a Breeze M upper stage will power the ASTRA 2E communications satellite into a geostationary transfer orbit during a 9-hour, 12-minute mission beginning at 2138:10 GMT (5:38:10 p.m. EDT) Sunday.

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