Year's final space launch completed

December 29, 2005

The last space launch of this year was completed when a Russian Proton M rocket took off from Baikonur Cosmodrome, carrying a U.S. satellite.

The satellite, launched Wednesday, will relay broadband communications to specially equipped jetliners flying across the Pacific Ocean, reports Space.com.

The launch was to have taken off Dec. 5 but was delayed because of a problem in the vehicle's control system. Within minutes into the flight, the three stages that made up the Proton "core vehicle" completed their systematic firings and dropped away, the report said.

That put the Breeze M and attached AMERICOM 23 spacecraft on a suborbital trajectory.

This is the seventh Proton mission of the year and the vehicle's 318th flight in four decades, the report said.

New Jersey-based SES AMERICOM will operate the satellite during its 16-year design life. The craft, built in France by Alcatel Alenia Space, will allow aircraft passengers to use laptop computers to check e-mail and access the Internet with high-speed links.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International

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