Russians to launch communications satellite December 30

A Proton-M launch vehicle replete with the Nimik-2 communications satellite is to be rolled out from the Baikonur space center's vehicle-assembly building in the morning of December 26th and subsequently positioned on the No. 24 launch pad. The rocket is to lift off December 30th at 2.46 a.m. Moscow time. This was disclosed to RIA Novosti at the press center of the Khrunichev state-run space science-and-production center, whose experts developed and assembled the Proton-M launch vehicle and its Breeze-M booster that will be used to launch the satellite proper.

This will be the last launch over the 2002 period, press-center people noted.

The environmentally-friendly Proton-M rocket, which is the latest modified version of its Proton forerunners, boasts a more impressive power-to-weight ratio and better specifications. The Breeze-M booster is one of the Khrunichev center's latest inventions, press-center officials added.

The 3.7-ton Nimik-2 communications satellite will be relaying live TV broadcasts to Canada and all over the continental United States. This satellite will be placed in a geo-stationary orbit, operating there for 12 consecutive years, the Khrunichev center's people said in conclusion.

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