In the early hours of Friday, units of the Russian Space Troops /RST/ deployed the Proton-K booster with the EchoStar-8 communication satellite on board to a launch pad of the Baikonur state test cosmodrome. This information has been disclosed by the RTS press service.
RTS units are now carrying out final launch preparations of the spacecraft on-board systems and those of the launch pad. The booster is expected to be launched at 09.15 a.m. on August 20th.
The 4.7-ton EchoStar-8 communication satellite has been designed to establish TV broadcasting in the continental United States, Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico. The spacecraft's design life is about 14 years.
"According to the data submitted by the client, the satellite is purely commercial and cannot be used for military purposes. It's owner is the EchoStar corporation, the vehicle has been designed and manufactured by the Space Systems/Loral company," the press service reported.
The launch has previously been scheduled for June 22nd and was subsequently postponed on the client's request because of certain malfunctions of the satellite's systems.
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Eyewitnesses said that explosions could be heard in the centre of Kyiv. Smoke was seen rising above Zhuliany Airport (Kyiv International Airport)