The Roscosmos State Corporation on Thursday shared photos of the Proton-M launch with the first Blagovest dual-use communications satellite that will fulfill military and civilian functions through providing high-capacity communications services for media distribution, Internet access, video conferencing, voice connectivity and data-intensive applications. Given its military role, the program remains partially classified and no updates or photos of the launch preparation at the Baikonur Cosmodrome were released.
Proton-M lifted off at 22:07 UTC on Wednesday and completed a standard ascent mission taking less than ten minutes to dispatch the Briz-M upper stage on a sub-orbital path from where it was to sequentially raise its orbit to inject Blagovest 11L into its planned orbit over the course of a multi-hour sequence. Roscosmos announced the success of the launch at 8 UTC on Thursday, also releasing the first photos of the hush-hush launch campaign and Proton’s liftoff. The mission marked the 100th flight of the improved Proton-M variant and the 414th overall for the Russian workhorse.
All Photos: Roscosmos