Russia launches Proton rocket with U.S. satellite


MOSCOW, June 8 (Xinhua) — Russia has successfully launched into space a Proton-M carrier rocket carrying a U.S. EchoStar 21 satellite from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, the Russian state space corporation Roscosmos said Thursday.

“All the stages of the carrier rocket flight passed in normal mode,” the space agency said in a statement.

The Proton family launch vehicles have been in operation since 1965 and they currently have a capacity to carry a payload of about 22.8 tons.

The launches of Protons were suspended last year after a series of failures.

EchoStar 21, under commercial operation by the EchoStar Corporation based in Colorado, the United States, is a state-of-the-art S-band satellite designed to provide mobile connectivity throughout Europe.

EchoStar subsidiary EchoStar Mobile Limited, an EU-wide licensee for an integrated mobile satellite service network with a complementary ground component, will utilize a portion of the capacity on EchoStar 21 to provision its next-generation, all IP-enabled mobile communications network, Roscosmos said.