Russia sends U.S. communications satellite into orbit
Russia launched a carrier rocket on Tuesday to send a U.S. communications satellite into space, news agencies reported, citing the Khrunichev state space research and production center, Xinhua reported.
Alexander Borbrenyov, press secretary of the Khrunichev center, said a Russian Proton-M carrier rocket, with a Sirius FM5 atop, blasted off at around 23:10 Moscow time (1910 GMT) from the Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan.
Earlier, an official from the Russian Federal space agency ( Roscosmos) said the satellite is expected to separate from the booster 9 hours later.
"The satellite will take up a point in a geostationary orbit at 96 degrees, western longitude," the Itar-tass news agency cited the unnamed official as saying.
The launch, originally scheduled for Monday, was postponed one day due to some glitches when the Briz-M booster was fueled last Wednesday.
The Sirius FM5 satellite, manufactured by the U.S. Space Systems/Loral Company and owned by U.S. broadcasting magnate Sirius Satellite Radio Inc. Company, will function in orbit for 15 years.
The satellite, whose liftoff weight is 5,840 kg, has a power twice as that of any existing satellites. It will provide music, sports and other broadcasts for regions including the United States, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean Sea area.
The launch of the Sirius FM5 satellite is the fifth involving a Proton-M carrier rocket this year. A product of the Khrunichev center, the three-stage carrier rocket using liquid propellant has a liftoff weight of about 700 tons.