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Proton Rocket Takes U.S. Satellite Into Orbit

A U.S. communications satellite launched on a Russian-designed Proton-M rocket has successfully reached orbit, the Federal Space Agency said Wednesday.

"The spacecraft separated from the Briz-M booster block at 7:43 a.m. Moscow time," an unidentified agency official told RIA-Novosti.

The launch, which took place Tuesday evening from Kazakhstan's Baikonur cosmodrome, was part of an agreement between U.S. satellite operator EchoStar and the International Launch Services company controlled by the Khrunichev Center, which manufactures both Proton rockets and Briz boosters, the report said.

EchoStar-16, the eighth satellite of its class, will be used by the DISH Network company to provide TV broadcasting to mainland U.S. customers.

The latest Proton rocket launch was the tenth this year. It was also the fifth launch of a communications satellite for the EchoStar corporation, according to the report.

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