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Thales 'Confident' in Recovery of Yamal 402 Satellite

A communications satellite owned by a division of Gazprom, the Russian oil and gas producer, is steadily moving toward its operational orbit after a Proton rocket and Breeze M upper stage deployed the craft in an unplanned orbit Saturday, according to industry officials.

The Yamal 402 communications satellite lifted off on a Proton rocket Saturday, but the booster's Breeze M upper stage encountered a problem 9 hours into the mission, leaving the spacecraft in an orbit with the wrong altitude and inclination.

Built by Moscow-based Khrunichev, the Proton and Breeze M vehicles serve the commercial market under the auspices of International Launch Services, a U.S.-based subsidiary of Khrunichev.

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