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    Proton-M space launch vehicle with an upper stage Breeze-M spacecraft and communication Sirius-5 being moved to the launch pad at Baikonur cosmodrome

    Proton-M Carrier Assembled Ahead of Mar.14 Mars Mission – Space Agency

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    Roscosmos state corporation said that assembly of Russia’s Proton-M carrier rocket has been concluded ahead of a joint Russian-European launch of a Mars orbiter next week.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) The assembly of Russia’s Proton-M carrier rocket has been concluded ahead of a joint Russian-European launch of a Mars orbiter next week, the Roscosmos state corporation said Monday.

    "Assembly of the Proton-M space rocket concluded in the Baikonur Cosmodrome assembly building 92-A50, which is to put the Russian-European ExoMars-2016 mission into orbit in mid-March," Roscosmos said on its website.

    It said the launch was expected from Baikonur’s launch pad number 200 at 09:31 GMT on March 14.

    Roscosmos noted that hard docking was performed with the spacecraft’s fourth stage, which includes a Briz-M booster and the ExoMars-2016 orbiter.

    Preparations were also made for the carrier rocket to be transported to a fueling pad.

    The European Space Agency and Roscosmos agreed to develop the ExoMars program in 2012 to investigate the atmosphere of Mars and explore signs of past life on the red planet.

    Next week’s orbital probe launch is expected to be followed by a Mars rover probe in 2018.


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