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.
Two crewmen returned to Earth from the International Space Station on Friday, riding a Russian Soyuz spaceship to a parachute-assisted, rocket-cushioned landing in Kazakhstan to close out more than 196 days in orbit. Oleg Novitskiy and Thomas Pesquet undocked from the station at 1047 GMT (6:47 a.m. EDT) and landed in Kazakhstan at 1410 GMT (10:10 a.m. EDT).
Two days after blasting off from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, SpaceX’s refurbished Dragon supply ship arrived at the International Space Station on Monday with nearly 6,000 pounds of experiments and equipment. Grapple of Dragon by the station’s robot arm occurred at 9:52 a.m. EDT (1352 GMT).