Russia launched its second mission in a three-day stretch on Wednesday (Oct. 12), sending a communications satellite aloft for the government of Angola.
A Proton rocket topped with the Angosat-2 spacecraft lifted off from the Russian-run Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan Wednesday at 11 a.m. EDT (1500 GMT; 6 p.m. Moscow time).
Angosat-2 is bound for geostationary orbit, about 22,250 miles (35,800 kilometers) above Earth, where it will provide communications services for the Angolan government for at least 15 years, if all goes according to plan.
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Angosat-2 was built by the Russian satellite-manufacturing company ISS Reshetnev, with Airbus providing the communications payload, according to RussianSpaceWeb.com (opens in new tab). The satellite is a replacement for Angosat-1, which failed shortly after launching to Earth orbit in 2017.
Angosat-2 has faced problems of its own. For example, its liftoff was delayed by the coronavirus pandemic and economic sanctions imposed on Russia, which held up the development and delivery, respectively, of key satellite components, RussianSpaceWeb reported. And then came the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which began on Feb. 24.
In the wake of the invasion, which is ongoing, "Airbus stopped the delivery of 57 waveguides and related documentation for the deployable antennas operating in Ku- and C-band," RussianSpaceWeb.com's Anatoly Zak wrote.
"The replacement of the banned hardware with indigenously built equivalents delayed the launch of Angosat-2 from March to October 2022," Zak added. "As a result, the project failed to provide a political boost to the incumbent government in Angola on the eve of the country's general elections on August 24."
Angosat-2's launch is the second half of a launch doubleheader for Russia this week. On Sunday night (Oct. 9), a Soyuz rocket launched a spacecraft for Russia's GLONASS satellite-navigation constellation.
The Soyuz lifted off from Plestesk Cosmodrome, in northwestern Russia.
Mike Wall is the author of "Out There (opens in new tab)" (Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Karl Tate), a book about the search for alien life. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall (opens in new tab). Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom (opens in new tab) or on Facebook (opens in new tab).