The Satmex 8 telecommunications satellite arrived at Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan in preparation for launch aboard a Russian-built Proton Breeze M rocket booked through International Launch Services, the satellite’s builder, Space Systems/Loral of Palo Alto, Calif., said in a Nov. 29 press release.

Satmex 8 is the next Proton launch in line after Gazprom Space System’s Yamal 402 communications satellite slated to launch Dec. 8 from Baikonur. If the current schedule holds, Satmex 8 will launch Dec. 28.

Satellite fleet operator Satmex of Mexico is eager to launch Satmex 8 because the satellite it is scheduled to replace — Satmex 5 — is low on fuel and might have to be placed in an inclined orbit as soon as the end of February. Satmex officials, however, have said that Satmex 5, which carries 24 C-band transponders and 24 Ku-band transponders and is located at 116.8 degrees west longitude, is more likely to continue operating in a fully stable position through May.

Transferring Satmex 5 customers to Satmex 8 is expected to take two weeks once the new satellite is declared |operational.

Satmex 8 has 24 C-band and 40 Ku-band transponders. It is designed to deliver service for 15 years.