Russia’s Proton M launch returned to service on 29 September 2013 with its successful launch of the Astra 2E commercial communications satellite for the Luxembourg-based global satellite operator SES. The launch had been marketed by International Launch Services (ILS). the marketing arm of the Proton rocket’s manufacturer Khrunichev. Lift off from the Baikonur launch base near Tyuratam Kazakhstan occured at 2138 GMT. The flight was the first since a spectacular launch failure of a Proton M destroyed three Russian military Glonass navigation satellites in July. An investigation found that the failure had been caused by a quality control issue in which three out of six critical yaw angular velocity sensors were found to have been installed upside down.
The Astra 2E satellite was manufactured by Astrium using its Eurostar E3000 bus design. The spacecraft is designed to have a minimum service life of 15 years and carries a communications payload of 60 Ku-band and 4 Ka-band transponders (with one interconnect). With an end of life power of 13kW, the sAstra 2E pacecraft will be operated over 28.2 degrees East in the Geostationary Earth Orbit (GEO) to provide services to Africa, the Middle East and Europe