Launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome on Tuesday evening with the help of a Russian Proton-K heavy rocket carrier, the American communication satellite DirecTV was injected, at 3:32 a.m. Moscow time on Monday, into a calculated high-altitude elliptical orbit, reported the press service of Russian Space Troops /RST/. "Specified parameters of the orbit are 35,790 kilometres in aphelion and 6,600 kilometres in perihelion," said the RST press service. "We established constant telemetric communication with the spacecraft, which is now being controlled by the command and instrumentation complex of the Space Troops. Further on, control will be turned over to the customer." According to the press service, the 4.3-ton satellite was designed to provide digital television services to clients based in North America. Capable of carrying a payload of 48 powerful retransmitters, the spacecraft was ordered by DirecTV Corporation, USA, and assembled by Boeing. "American specialists chose the Russian-made Proton-K to launch the satellite because it is one of the most reliable rocket carriers in the world," said the RST press service. "Of the 291 launches it accomplished, 255 were successful." "The satellite will function for 15 years. It is a commercial communication spacecraft that shall not be used for military purposes," said RST specialists.
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