Baikonur Cosmodrome crews have raised a Proton-M rocket in preparation for the launch of the Yamal 601 communications satellite on Thursday.
Just hours after lightning struck a Soyuz 2.1b at Plesetsk Cosmodrome, Russia officials began the rollout of a Proton-M rocket over 3,000 kilometres (1,860 miles) south in Kazakhstan. The rocket is equipped with a Briz-M upper stage and is scheduled to liftoff at 17:42 UTC on May 30. It is expected to deploy the Yamal 601 communications satellite to a geostationary orbit for Gazprom Space Systems.
The Yamal 601 satellite was built by ISS Reshetnev with the primary payload being supplied by Thales Alenia Space. The 3,500-kilogram (7,700-pound) communications satellite will replace the Yamal 202, which was launched in 2003 and has exceeded its service life by several years. It is expected to supply high-speed broadband services to customers in Russia’s Kaliningrad Region, the Urals and Western Siberia.
The launch of the Yamal 601 satellite aboard the Proton-M rocket will be live streamed. You can follow the launch on our Facebook group Rocket Launch Updates where we post announcements and updates of rocket launches from around the world.