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Hitch As Russian Rocket Launches Arab Telecoms Satellite

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by Staff Writers
Moscow, Russia (AFP) Mar 02, 2006
A Russian rocket launched a Saudi telecoms satellite into space overnight, but mechanical problems complicated the last phase of placing the payload in orbit, Russia's space agency said Wednesday.

The Proton-M rocket blasted off from the Baikonour space station in the former Soviet republic of Kazakhstan at 2030 GMT Tuesday and placed the ArabSat-4A satellite into sub-orbital position ten minutes later.

However the upper-stage Briz-M rocket became detached from the satellite before it had reached its planned final orbiting position.

Space station specialists were nonetheless hoping that the satellite's own reactors would be able to nudge it into place.

ArabSat-4A was built by the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS) for the Saudi-based ArabSat company.

The satellite is designed to transmit television programmes to the Middle East, North Africa and Europe.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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