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Proton-M rocket carrying a Canadian telecommunications satellite was launched from the Baikonur
A Proton-M rocket carrying a Canadian telecommunications satellite, Anik F3, was launched from the Baikonur launch pad at 2.54 a.m. Moscow time Tuesday (10.54 p.m. GMT), Russia's space agency said. "The launch went smoothly, the foreign satellite's undocking from the Russian carrier rocket is scheduled for 12.05 Moscow time (8.05 a.m. GMT)," said a spokesman for Russia's Khrunichev space research center, the producer of Proton boosters. The satellite, built by EADS Astrium, will provide a full range of satellite communications services, including telephone and business communications, Internet-based services and television broadcasting and it is equipped with 24 active transponders in C-band, 32 in Ku-band and 2 in Ka-band. Once deployed in orbit the spacecraft has a solar array span of 35 meters. It has a launch mass of 4.6 tons, and operating in geostationary orbit will provide commercial services for a minimum of 15 years. The Anik F3 is the fourth Canadian Telesat's satellite to be put into orbit on board a Russian Proton booster. The launch services were provided by a Russian-American venture, International Launch Services (ILS) set up by the U.S.' Space Transport Inc. and Russia's Khrunichev center along with the Federal Space Agency. The joint venture specializes in commercial launches on board of heavy Proton boosters. The company has launched a total of 45 spacecraft since 1996. Baikonur is Russia's main launch pad to space, used for commercial and scientific launches. The country leases the Soviet-era space center, built in the 1950s, under an agreement signed with the Kazakh government in 1994, following the Soviet Union's collapse.
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