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When it rains it pours: A Russian Proton rocket crashed today nine minutes after launch.
Considering the tensions between the U.S. and Russia over space, combined with the increasing competition for the launch market created by SpaceX’s lower prices, another Proton failure now is something the Russians could do without. Moreover, the Russians were planning a lot of Proton launches in the next few months to catch up from last year’s launch failure. Many of these scheduled launches were commercial and were going to earn them hard cash. This failure definitely hurts, and will certainly be used as justification by their government in increase its control over that country’s aging aerospace industry.