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    The Proton-M rocket carrying the Astra 2E communication satellite blasts off from the Baikonur cosmodrome

    Soyuz-2.1B Rocket Launch Delay Won't Affect European-Russian Mars Mission

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    Soyuz-2.1B was set to blast off into space on Saturday carrying Resurs-P No. 3, a communications satellite, but suffered a malfunction and the launch had to be postponed 24 hours; however, this will not lead to a delay in the launch of Russia’s Proton carrier rocket, which will carry the ExoMars 2016 into space to begin its journey to Mars.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) –  On Saturday, Russia's Soyuz-2.1B was set to take off from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan carrying the Resurs-P No. 3 Earth observation satellite. Unfortunately, the booster suffered a rare on-pad abort just about 10 seconds prior to take-off, forcing the space agency Roscosmos to postpone the launch 24 hours. However, this won't delay the launch of Russia’s Proton carrier rocket, which is slated to carry the first of two red planet-bound ExoMars craft into space, head of Roscosmos Igor Komarov said Sunday.

    "At the moment a commission is investigating [the issue of] Resurs-P and will make a decision on the issue of the launch. The fueling commission will decide whether fuel should be dumped or left in Soyuz. But I can say that the launch of Soyuz with with Resurs-P No. 3 satellite will take place in time, on Sunday at 9:56 p.m. Moscow time [18:56 GMT]," Komarov said.

    According to Spaceflightinsider.com, the Soyuz-2.1b rocket is an upgraded version of a three-stage carrier Soyuz-2 booster. The 46.1 meter-tall launch vehicle has a total mass of 304,814 kg and is designed to put satellites into a variety of orbits.


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    satellite launch, Soyuz-2.1b, Proton-M, Russia
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