MOSCOW, Dec. 23, 1997 – A launch of the Proton-K manufactured by the Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center, was planned for the 23rd of December at Launch Pad 23, Area 81, at the Baikonur Cosmodrome. The rocket's upper stage Block DM 3 (manufactured by the Energia Rocket and Space Corporation) was expected to launch the AsiaSat 3 communications satellite into a geostationary transfer orbit. AsiaSat 3 belongs to the Asia Satellite Telecommunications Company Ltd. (Hong Kong). The satellite was designed and manufactured by the Hughes Space and Communications Company of the United States based on the HS 601 HP ("high power") model.

However, during the immediate preparations for the launch, the wind velocity above the area of the Cosmodrome at altitudes of 10 to 12 km was more than 30 meters per second, i.e., in excess of the maximum allowable for the Proton-K launch vehicle. In view of the unfavorable wind velocity forecast for the entire duration of the launch window, the Government Commission decided to postpone the launch of the Proton-K from 23 to 25 December.

This is the first instance of a launch postponement of the Proton-K launch vehicle in its entire 30-year history.

The preceding statement is the English translation of the official Russian statement concerning the postponement of the Proton launch of AsiaSat 3 on December 23.

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