Russia Sucessfully Launches U.S. Satellite

Posted October 6th, 2011 at 2:40 am (UTC-5)
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Russia's space agency says it launched a U.S. satellite into orbit early Thursday from the Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan.

Roscosmos says the U.S Intelsat 18 telecommunications satellite separated from the carrier rocket and is now under control of Intelsat Ltd.

Russian media reports say the satellite will provide telecommunications services to customers on the west coast of United States, Asia, and the Pacific Region.

Thursday's launch comes just over a month after Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin ordered Roscosmos to improve its oversight of spacecraft production after an unmanned rocket crashed shortly after lift off.

It was the second failed launch for the Russian agency in less than a year. In December 2010, a spacecraft carrying three communications satellites crashed into the Pacific Ocean.

In two other incidents — one in February and one in August– the agency lost satellites by placing them in the wrong orbit.