The Proton-M rocket carrying the Hot Bird 8 satellite was launched from Russia's main space facility in Baikonur, Kazakhstan.

 

It put the satellite at a designated orbit at 1059 Moscow time (0659GMT), said Igor Panarin, a Russian Federal Space Agency spokesman.

 

"We are happy with the successful launch that once again has proven the Proton rocket's reliability," Panarin said.

 

The last Russian commercial satellite launch on July 26 used a Dnepr rocket but crashed shortly after blastoff.

 

Kazakhstan, concerned that the rockets' fuel was causing pollution, has banned further launches of Dneprs until the cause of the July crash is determined.

 

Global broadcasting

 

The 4.9-ton Hot Bird 8 satellite, built by EADS Space for Eutelsat Communications, is the largest comunications satellite put into orbit by the Paris-based company.

 

It will provide television and radio broadcasting across Europe, North Africa and the Middle East.

 

Eutelsat said in a statement that it had successfully recieved data from the new satellite through the company's Rambouillet teleport near Paris. The satellite will enter commercial service in October, it said.