Russia’s Proton successfully launches military satellite


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Russia’s Proton rocket today successfully launched the military satellite, Blagovest 12L.

Since the fall of the Soviet Union the Proton had been Russia’s commercial mainstay rocket. This paragraph from the story reveals how much that business has shrunk:

The first Proton launch since last September, Thursday’s launch was the first of only three or four expected to take place in 2018. The only other Proton launches confirmed to be on schedule for 2018 are a commercial mission with Eutelsat 5 West B and Orbital ATK’s first Mission Extension Vehicle (MEV-1) – which is slated for no earlier than the third quarter of the year – and the deployment of an Elektro-L weather satellite for Roskosmos in October. An additional military launch could occur later in the year. Planned launches of the Yamal 601 communications satellite and the Nauka module of the International Space Station were recently delayed until 2019.

The leaders in the 2018 launch standings:

11 China
8 SpaceX
4 ULA
4 Russia
3 Japan
3 Europe
3 India

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