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Russian Proton-M rocket to launch Japanese telecoms satellite

MOSCOW, August 7 (RIA Novosti) - A Russian Proton-M carrier rocket will put a Japanese telecommunications satellite into orbit in September, a leading Russian space company said Tuesday.

JCSAT-11, an A2100 satellite built by U.S.-based Lockheed Martin Commercial Space Systems, will join a cluster of nine satellites operated by Japan's JSAT Corporation. The new satellite will provide broadcast and transponder capacity for a number of telecoms companies, including SKY Perfect TV, a leading digital broadcasting service provider in Japan.

Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center, the Proton-M manufacturer, said the Japanese satellite had been delivered to the Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan for launch preparations.

Launch work will be carried out by International Launch Services (ILS), a U.S.-Russian joint venture with exclusive rights for worldwide commercial sales and mission management of satellite launches on Russia's Proton carrier rockets.

The partners in the joint venture are Space Transport Inc., a privately-owned corporation based in the British Virgin Islands, the Khrunichev center, and Moscow's RSC Energia.

ILS has conducted over 45 commercial Proton launches since 1996, and has 14 scheduled launches through 2010.

The Proton rocket launches both commercial ILS missions and Russian government payloads from the Baikonur space center, which is operated by the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roskosmos) under lease from Kazakhstan.

Meanwhile, Russia's Federal Communications Agency said Tuesday the launch of the Express-AM33 and Express-AM44 telecommunication satellites had been postponed until 2008 due to failure of Thales Alenia Space, a French subcontractor, to supply payload modules for the spacecraft.

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