Swedish Communications Satellite Reaches Orbit
The Sirius 4 telecommunications satellite launches spaceward atop a Russian Proton M rocket at 5:39 p.m. EST (2239 GMT) on Nov. 17, 2007.
Credit: SES Sirius.

A new Swedish telecommunications satellite roared into space Saturday, riding a Russian-built rocket successfully into orbit.

The Sirius 4 satellite launched spaceward atop a Proton M booster at 5:39 p.m. EST (2239 GMT) from the Central Asian spaceport of Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

Built by Lockheed Martin for the Solna, Sweden-based communications provider SES Sirius, the Sirius 4 satellite will provide direct-to-home television and other services to customers across Europe, Africa and the Baltic/Nordic region.

"We are very proud and satisfied that the Sirius 4 mission has been a success," said Hakan Sjodin, managing director of SES Sirius, in a statement. "Sirius 4 will benefit our customers and extend our coverage and service in Eastern Europe.?

Weighing in at 9,667 pounds (4,385 kilograms), the Sirius 4 satellite carries 53 active Ku-band transponders, two active KA-band transponders and designed for a 15-year service lifetime. The McLean, Va.-based launch service provider International Launch Services (ILS) oversaw the satellite?s Saturday launch.

"This was an especially important mission for ILS and our customer, SES SIRIUS," said ILS president Frank McKenna in a statement. "ILS and our partner, Khrunichev, continue to focus on performance and on our long-term relationship with the SES group of companies."

Sirius 4?s liftoff marked ILS? fourth Proton launch of the year and its 43rd mission using the Russian-built booster. It also marked the second successful Proton flight since a faulty cable foiled the launch of a Japanese satellite on Sept. 5.

After launch, Sirius 4?s Breeze M upper stage guided the spacecraft on a nine-hour and 13-minute trip to send it toward its final geostationary orbit 22,236 miles (35,786 kilometers) above Earth. The successful launch marked the 329th flight of a Proton rocket.