Russian booster rocket launches commercial satellite
A Russian Proton-M booster rocket carrying a U.S.-built commercial satellite has had a successful liftoff from Kazakhstan.
The Proton-M blasted off as scheduled on Thursday from the Baikonur launch facility that Russia leases in southern Kazakhstan, taking the AsiaSat 9 telecommunications satellite into space. The satellite is owned by Hong Kong-based AsiaSat.
The launch follows several other successful Proton launches this year after a yearlong break that resulted from a flawed launch in June 2016. A probe spotted manufacturing flaws in the Proton's engines, prompting the Russian space agency to ground the rocket so the engines could be reproduced.
Russia's space program relies on the Proton-M for most commercial satellite launches in the competitive global launch market.
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