An EchoStar communications satellite designed to link Europeans with voice and broadband data services rode into orbit on top of a Russian Proton rocket Thursday, deploying into an on-target orbit after nine hours of maneuvers by the launcher’s Breeze M upper stage.
The Russian government is investigating flaws found in Proton rocket engines, ordering all suspect components to be replaced before the heavy-lift booster can resume launches and promising penalties for those responsible for allowing substandard parts to slip through inspection.
The first launch of a Russian Proton rocket since June has been delayed until at least January to conduct additional checks on the three-stage booster and its Breeze M upper stage, Russian space officials said.
Armed with capital and an anchor customer for a trailblazing satellite life extension service, Orbital ATK has signed a contract to loft its first robotic servicing tug aboard a Russian Proton rocket in 2018 on a shared launch with a Eutelsat communications satellite.
Khrunichev and International Launch Services, the team behind Russia’s Proton rocket, are developing two scaled-down versions of the booster in a bid to capture a wider share of the commercial launch market, the companies announced last week.
The launch of an EchoStar communications satellite to cover Europe has been delayed to October to allow Russian engineers to complete an inquiry into a glitch suffered during a Proton rocket flight in June, industry officials said.
Debuting lighter structural components to carry heavier satellites into orbit, a Russian Proton rocket fired into space from Kazakhstan on Thursday and successfully placed a U.S.-built television broadcast craft into orbit for Intelsat and DirecTV.
A Russian Proton rocket lifted off Thursday with a U.S.-built communications satellite to broadcast television over Latin America, firing into orbit from the historic Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
An International Launch Services Proton rocket lifted off with a communications satellite for Intelsat and DirecTV at 0710 GMT (3:10 a.m. EDT) Thursday from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan after a one-day delay to resolve an issue with an electrical connector on the booster.