MOSCOW (Sputnik) – The launch was originally scheduled for December 24 but was postponed for Friday because of unfavorable weather conditions.
"The Proton-M carrier rocket was launched at the designated time – 00:31 [December 25] Moscow time [21:31 GMT December 24]," the Roscosmos representative said in the early hours of Friday.
The Express-AMU1 communications satellite is to provide coverage of the European part of Russia and also ensure service continuity and growth for broadcast markets in Africa. It is equipped with 70 transponders.
The Proton-M, produced by Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center, is the largest carrier rocket in Russia's space launch vehicle fleet. The rocket has lifted dozens of Russian-made and foreign satellites since it was first launched in 2001.