Russian Rocket Problems Delay Satellite Launch Again

SES-4 Commercial Communications Satellite
The SES-4 commercial communications satellite. (Image credit: Space Systems Loral)

WASHINGTON -- Launch of the SES-4 commercial communications satellite scheduled for Jan. 29 has been delayed again until further notice, International Launch Services (ILS) of Reston, Va., said in a Jan. 27 press release.

SES-4’s launch atop a Russian-built Proton rocket was postponed for “technical reasons,” ILS said. The U.S.-based but Russian-owned company, which arranges commercial Proton launches from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, provided no further details, and no new launch date was announced.

This is the second delay for SES-4 in a month. The satellite, owned by fleet-operator SES of Luxembourg, was to have launched Dec. 27, but that flight was called off due to problems with the Proton rocket’s Breeze-M upper stage.

The rocket and satellite have been removed from the launch pad and returned to an integration facility at Baikonur, ILS said in the release. Following “corrective measures and additional testing,” a new launch date will be scheduled, ILS said.

SES-4 was built by Space Systems/Loral of Palo Alto, Calif. At 6,180 kilogram, the satellite will be the largest in the SES fleet.

This article was provided by Space News, dedicated to covering all aspects of the space industry.

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Editor, ExchangeMonitor

Dan Leone is an editor and reporter for the ExchangeMonitor Publications covering the Department of Energy and Department of Defense nuclear weapons programs. From 2011 to 2016, Dan was the NASA reporter for the space industry publication SpaceNews, where he covered U.S. space agency policy, news and missions. He also produced the SpaceGeeks podcast showcasing interviews with space industry professionals. Dan earned a bachelor's degree in public communications from American University. You can find his latest project on Twitter at @leone_exm.