Proton rocket successfully returns to flight after year-long grounding
Video: Proton rocket returns to service with launch of EchoStar 21
Live coverage: Proton rocket blasts off for first time in a year
A Russian Proton rocket launched at 0345 GMT Thursday (11:45 p.m. EDT Wednesday) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan with the EchoStar 21 communications satellite, a hefty 7.6-ton telecommunications station designed to support a mobile network in Europe. Managed by U.S.-based International Launch Services, the mission will take more than nine hours to deliver EchoStar 21 into a geostationary transfer orbit using five burns of the Breeze M upper stage engine.