January 23, 2017 18:17
Launch of EchoStar-21 satellite atop Proton rocket could be delayed by several months - source
BAIKONUR. Jan 23 (Interfax) - The launch of a Proton carrier rocket with the EchoStar-21 satellite could be postponed yet again, a source at Baikonur cosmodrome told Interfax on Monday.
"Preparations continue for the launch of the Proton carrier rocket. However, given a combination of factors, a lengthy pause cannot be ruled out which may lead the launch to be postponed by several months," the source said.
It was reported that the Proton launch with the EchoStar-21 satellite was slated for February 2 but then postponed again by a week for non-technical reasons.
A source at the cosmodrome told Interfax that specialists at the Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center were working to eliminate defects detected in late 2016 at the final stage of preparations for the launch.
As a result, the launch scheduled for December 28 had to be postponed until 2017, with January 31 set as a preliminary date.
EchoStar-21 is a geostationary communications satellite made by Space Systems/Loral for one of the world's biggest satellite communications operators, EchoStar Corporation (U.S.).
The satellite is designed to provide mobile satellite communications services in Europe. The EchoStar 21 is to become a sixth satellite in the EchoStar orbital group to be launched atop a Proton rocket.
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