Blagovest 12L satellite on its way to Baikonur. Photo Credit: ISS Reshetnev
Russia is in the final stage of preparations to launch its Proton-M rocket with the Blagovest 12L military communications satellite. Liftoff is scheduled to take place at 6:12 p.m. EDT (22:12 GMT) April 18, 2018, from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
The mission was originally planned to take place on Dec. 25, 2017, but was delayed several times by Russia, which has not disclosed what was behind these reschedules.
Little is known about the launch and pre-launch preparations due to the military nature of the mission. ISS Reshetnev, the manufacturer of the Blagovest satellite, only noted that the spacecraft had been shipped to Baikonur in early March.
A file photo of a Proton-M rocket being transported to its launch pad. Photo Credit: Roscosmos
“The Blagovest No.12 satellite, accompanied by ISS Reshetnev specialists, made its journey to the cosmodrome to begin final preparations for launch,” the company wrote in a press release. “All the necessary operations and check-outs are due to begin soon.”
Blagovest 12L is described as a high-capacity telecommunications satellite and is designed to provide high-speed data transmission. It is based on the ISS Reshetnev’s Express 2000 ...