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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Russia Sends U.S. Telecom Satellite Into Orbit

Russia's Proton-K heavy booster has successfully sent into orbit a U.S. Telstar-5 telecommunication satellite, a mission control official said.

"The Proton-K rocket blasted off at 9 p.m. Moscow time from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan," the official said Saturday.

The 3,650-kilogram Telstar-5 probe was produced by U.S. Space System Loral Inc. to provide television coverage to Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico, as well as to Canada and Mexico.

The probe will move around the Earth at an altitude of 36,000 kilometers, the official said. He did not say how much money the launch had cost.

"It was the first Proton booster launch since a similar rocket crashed in November of last year when it tried to send a Russian probe to Mars," a spokesman for the military space forces said.

An official at the Russian rocket maker Khrunichev Space Center, which produces Proton rockets, said Russian insurance company Ingosstrakh had provided $500 million in liability coverage for the center and its partners to launch the satellite.

Khrunichev's spokesman recently said that Proton rockets would lift into orbit a total of eight Western-made satellites by the end of this year, up from two probes in 1996.

The center has signed a total of 20 contracts worth $1.5 billion, officials said.