Russia’s Roskosmos space agency have announced that the new launch of its ill-fated Proton-M rocket is slated for September. The vehicle will lift off at the Baikonur spaceport, agency’s deputy chief Alexander Lopatin has told the media, months after a dramatic failure that resulted in a huge impact at the Kazakhstan-owned cosmodrome. The ILS Proton return to flight mission will be the Astra 2E satellite for SES on September 15, 2013.
What does this mean ?
If all goes well (LOL!!), Astra 2E will enter service probably in early November and the BBC and others will migrate shortly afterwards. What will happen then is that the Astra 1N satellite, which has been providing temporary UK cover for the last 18 months, will be moved to the orbital slot at 19.2ºE for which it was originally designed.