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A Russian Proton rocket has failed to put two satellites into their proper orbit.
This failure of one of Russia’s more reliable rockets comes at a very bad time, as the competition with SpaceX and other competitors for commercial launches is right now heating up. As the article notes,
Moscow, which carries out 40 percent of global space launches, is struggling to restore confidence in its industry after a string of mishaps last year, including the failure of a mission to return samples from the Martian moon Phobos and the loss of a $265-million communications satellite. …
“The last failures to a certain extent undermine Russia’s position as a country that provides space launch services,” said industry expert Yuri Karash, a member of the Russian Academy of Cosmonautics.
Such mistakes strengthen Russia’s competitors, such as Europe’s Arian rockets, Karash said, describing Russia’s space industry, struggling to recover after a generation of brain drain and crimped budgets, as “not in the best condition by a long shot.”