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Swedish Communications Satellite Reaches Orbit

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. (Image credit: SES Sirius.)

A newSwedish telecommunications satellite roared into space Saturday, riding aRussian-built rocket successfully into orbit.

The Sirius4 satellite launchedspaceward atop a Proton M booster at 5:39 p.m. EST (2239 GMT) from theCentral Asian spaceport of Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

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

"Weare very proud and satisfied that the Sirius 4 mission has been asuccess," said Hakan Sjodin, managing director of SES Sirius, in astatement. "Sirius 4 will benefit our customers and extend our coverageand service in Eastern Europe.?

Weighing inat 9,667 pounds (4,385 kilograms), the Sirius 4 satellite carries 53 activeKu-band transponders, two active KA-band transponders and designed for a15-year service lifetime. The McLean, Va.-based launch service providerInternational Launch Services (ILS) oversaw the satellite?s Saturday launch.

"Thiswas 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 relationshipwith the SES group of companies."

Sirius 4?s liftoffmarked ILS? fourth Proton launch of the year and its 43rd mission using theRussian-built booster. It also marked the secondsuccessful Proton flight since a faulty cable foiledthe launch of a Japanese satellite on Sept. 5.

After launch,Sirius 4?s Breeze M upper stage guided the spacecraft on a nine-hour and13-minute trip to send it toward its final geostationary orbit 22,236 miles(35,786 kilometers) above Earth. The successful launch marked the 329th flightof a Proton rocket.


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Tariq Malik

SPACE.COM EDITOR IN CHIEF — Tariq joined the team in 2001 as a staff writer, and later editor, covering human spaceflight, exploration and space science. He became's Managing Editor in 2009. Before joining, Tariq was a staff reporter for The Los Angeles Times. He is also an Eagle Scout (yes, he has the Space Exploration merit badge) and went to Space Camp four times as a kid and a fifth time as an adult. He has journalism degrees from the University of Southern California and New York University. To see his latest project, you can follow Tariq on Google+, Twitter and on Facebook.