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Russia successfully launches satellite with Proton rocket

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Moscow: Russia today successfully launched a Proton rocket, carrying a Russian telecoms satellite, from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan in the second successful launch since the disastrous loss of a Mexican satellite in May.

The Proton-M took off at 10:10 pm local time (19:10 GMT) from the desert launch site.

“The launch of the rocket was normal,” the Russian space agency Roscosmos said in a statement.

Russia had also successfully launched a Proton rocket, carrying a British satellite, in late August.

In May, a Mexican satellite was lost after a Proton-M rocket crashed shortly after the launch.

The state-run Khrunichev Centre spacecraft manufacturer said that failure was due to a construction flaw in one of the engines.

Based on a Soviet-era design, the Proton-M is viewed as a veteran workhorse of the space industry and Russia is developing a new generation of rockets to succeed it.

Russia was forced to put all space travel on hold after an unmanned Progress freighter taking cargo to the International Space Station (ISS) crashed back to Earth in late April.

The doomed ship lost contact with Earth and burned up in the atmosphere. The failure, which Russia has blamed on a problem in a Soyuz rocket, also forced a group of astronauts to spend an extra month aboard the ISS.

But last month astronauts from Russia, Japan and the United States travelled successfully to the ISS after a two-month delay caused by the rocket failure.