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Proton launches military communications satellite

A Russian Proton rocket today successfully launched a military communications satellite into orbit.

This was the third Proton launch this year, the most since 2017. It also put Russia in the lead for most launches in 2019, the first time that country has been in first since 2015:

12 Russia
11 China
9 SpaceX
5 Europe (Arianespace)
4 India

The U.S. still leads Russia in the national rankings, 15-12.

Pioneer cover

From the press release: From the moment he is handed a possibility of making the first alien contact, Saunders Maxwell decides he will do it, even if doing so takes him through hell and back.

Unfortunately, that is exactly where that journey takes him.

The vision that Zimmerman paints of vibrant human colonies on the Moon, Mars, the asteroids, and beyond, indomitably fighting the harsh lifeless environment of space to build new societies, captures perfectly the emerging space race we see today.

He also captures in Pioneer the heart of the human spirit, willing to push forward no matter the odds, no matter the cost. It is that spirit that will make the exploration of the heavens possible, forever, into the never-ending future.

Available everywhere for $3.99 (before discount) at amazon, Barnes & Noble, all ebook vendors, or direct from the ebook publisher, ebookit. And if you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.


  • DavidK

    If the US has 15 overall but just 9 from SpaceX, who launched the other 6? Presumably ULA did most of them? It would be useful to see a breakdown of the smaller players at some point.

  • Dick Eagleson

    ULA launched a Delta IV Heavy and the last single-stick Delta IV Medium. NGIS launched an Antares-Cygnus to ISS. Rocket Lab launched three Electrons from New Zealand.

    ULA may launch three or four Atlas V’s during the rest of 2019. SpaceX has at least three more Falcon 9 launches left in 2019 for customers plus an unknown number of Starlink deployment launches for itself. NGIS has another Antares-Cygnus and a Minotaur 4 scheduled. It may also finally manage to launch a Pegasus XL with NASA’s ICON satellite but that is still uncertain. Rocket Lab has up to 13 more launches manifested for 2019, but how many of them will actually launch this year is unknown. Rocket Lab has scheduled at least one Electron launch this year from its new launch facility now under construction at Wallops Island, VA. Virgin Orbit has two LauncherOne missions scheduled to launch this year.

    The U.S. orbital or deep space launch total for 2019 seems all but certain to be at least in the high 20’s, will most likely be in the low 30’s and, if Rocket Lab really goes on a tear, could even top 40, but that seems unlikely. Still, never say never. ZimmerBob will, as usual, keep us all informed as things go along and do his usual year-end launch report in very early Jan. 2020.

  • Edward

    This is from January, summarizing orbital/deep space launches from 1980 through last year. It includes those who had few launches, and it includes Robert’s thoughts on the topic.

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