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Russian communication satellite launched

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Russian communication satellite, Express-A1R was launched from Baikonur over the weekend.

The satellite replaces a sister satellite that was destroyed in a failed launch in October 1999. Express A1R is the third of the next-generation Express A series to reach orbit, after two successful launches in 2000. The craft's 12 C-band and five Ku-band transponders are to be used for television and radio broadcasting services, mobile telephony, data transmission, video conferencing and high-speed Internet, according to reports. The 5,700-pound satellite will operate in orbit for at least 10 years, its footprints covering the European part of Russia, the CIS countries, the whole of Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Northern Africa.

Express A1R is designed to relay government radio and television programs to Russias central regions and CIS countries. The satellite was manufactured at the Siberian Prikladnaya Mekhanika (Applied Mechanics) scientific production association with the participation of Alcatel. Russian space troops and Rosaviakosmos, the Russian space agency, carried out the launch. The Russian Satellite Communications Company and the Intersputnik organization will both use parts of Express A1R's capacity and capabilities, splitting the satellite's services between the Russian government and the commercial market.

The satellite bus was developed by Russia's Krasnoyarsk-based NPO PM, while Alcatel Espace of France supplied the payload. 


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