Russian rocket launches Murdoch-controlled DirecTV satellite

A Russian rocket sent a telecommunication satellite owned by US-based DirecTV Group into orbit, the Russian space agency, quoted by an Associated Press report said.

DirecTV, based in El Segundo, California, is currently controlled by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp.

This is the latest successful launch for Russia and its efforts to garner a larger share of the lucrative international market for space launches, the Associated Press report said.

The DirecTV-10 satellite blasted off atop a Proton-M rocket from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, Roscosmos said in a statement.

Once operational, the satellite will broadcast high-definition television signals to the US, it said.

The Interfax news agency said the13,000-pound satellite was largest ever launched into space aboard a Proton-M rocket.

Russia has been aggressively trying to expand its presence in the international market for commercial and government satellite and space-industry launches, though its efforts have seen several high-profile failures.

In the past two weeks, a Russian military satellite, a private US-built spacecraft and a German surveillance satellite were all successfully sent into orbit aboard Russian rockets.

In addition to launch facilities at Baikonur and at Plestesk, Russia is working with the European Space Agency to expand a launch pad in French Guiana and increase the payloads Russian rockets will be able to carry.