Russia launches first Proton in a year

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Russia today successfully launched its first Proton rocket in almost a year.



  • wayne

    Video from RT, is at:

    Proton-M with EchoStar XXI lifts off from Baikonur

  • Denis

    Socialism in space?

  • wayne

    Gangsters, in Space….

    “We Ain’t Playin’ For Peanuts..”
    [Star Trek- A Piece of the Action]

    [filmed on the Mayberry back lot, if I’m not mistaken…]

  • LocalFluff

    Russia isn’t socialist anymore. Most Western countries are more socialist than Russia today. Depardieu and others have fled to Russia from France’s oppressive taxes (and escalating violence).

    Off topic
    Robert Zubrin, I haven’t heard of him for some time, is interviewed in a podcast. Not much new said overall, but he’s in good shape in this segment about “planetary protection”:

  • Denis

    You don’t say…
    I am just amused by the general dryness and negativity Russian space program news are presented here. But I guess it’s the times we are living.
    Otherwise great blog!

  • Dick Eagleson

    I think Depardieu is Russian for pretty much the same reason a lot of the world’s ships are Panamanian or Liberian, at least on paper. I don’t think most ship owners spend a lot of time in either Panama or Liberia. It doesn’t look as though Depardieu is going to be spending a lot of time in Russia either. He’s gotten his “flag of convenience” – and avoiding a 75% top income tax rate is pretty damned convenient I must admit. It’s also convenient that both the French and Russian flags consist of three big red, white and blue stripes.

  • LocalFluff

    Well, what has the Russian space program accomplished last decade or so? 30 years since they did a successful robotic mission. Recently they’ve lost the Zenith launcher, the last leftover of their Energia/Buran project, because of the conflict in Ukraine. Their once great rocket engines are now meeting modern competition, and blow up on Proton and Antares now and then. Don’t see much of that elsewhere nowadays. There’s a lot of empty talk in the Russian space program that is just lies and excuses. The question is for how long they can patch up their 50+ years old Soyuz and Proton launchers and their troubled supposedly modernized upper stages to keep them flying, until the Russian space program is canceled altogether.

    Dick Eagleson,
    Yeah, it’s a bit funny with the Russian flag. It was adopted by tsar Peter I in 1696 and maybe intended to mimic the flag of the Netherlands given Russia’s new maritime ambitions. Most other tricolors are the result of a revolution following the French one.

  • Denis

    Not much, it survived and guaranteed mankind’s access to LEO.

  • Edward

    You wrote: “I am just amused by the general dryness and negativity Russian space program news are presented here. But I guess it’s the times we are living.

    The times we are living are times in which Russia has had serious quality control (QC) problems for the past half decade or so. Russia has lost several payloads before they were able to start their missions — both Russia-owned payloads and paying, commercial payloads.

    If Russia cannot get their QC problems solved, then what you perceive as negativity is the correct concern over the Russian space industry. If they do solve these problems, then they will once again have a chance to be a major player in the space industry.

    I believe that they have become very serious about solving this QC problem, as they had shut down their Proton rocket for as long as it took to solve that particular trouble. If they continue to be that serious with their other QC troubles, then they are on the right track.

    Because they took the Proton trouble so seriously, they were able to discover the root cause and were able to fix it for all rockets that have that same root cause. This is a major victory for them.

    Like all space programs, if it is done incorrectly, it will be passed by other space programs. Right now, it looks like privately owned commercial space is catching up to government space programs. Privately owned commercial space companies have the advantage that they must remain focused on projects that are productive enough to keep other companies —
    or universities or nations — interested in paying for the use of the results of those projects, but government space programs can do any projects that their governments want, regardless of productive results. Commercial space is another source of competition that the Russian space industry will have to deal with, just as Japan’s JAXA, India’s ISRO, and China’s CNSA do.

  • Denis

    Yes, I am amused by the general dryness and negativity towards Russian space program news here, because while you presented a constructive criticism, the general tone of this blog is very dry towards success and negative towards the failures. Like this post is.

  • LocalFluff

    What tone do you want to play to celebrate the 52 year old Proton’s return to status quo after a year of grounding? Sure it’s good news. Proton lifted the Lunokhod rovers, and has three times tried to launch a probe to Phobos. I think that space bloggers and their readers mostly either look forward to the future or backward to the history. Not so much forward to the history.

  • Edward

    You wrote: “the general tone of this blog is very dry towards success and negative towards the failures. Like this post is.”

    I suspect that negativity is proper for failures. I would certainly not write any comments saying something like, “Oh, goody! Another Russian rocket crashed.”

    It may be different in other industries, but in aerospace even the failures of the competition reflect badly on all. When a competitor’s airliner crashes, potential passengers worry about flying any airline. When a competitor’s rocket fails, insurance companies tend to raise their rates, potential new companies have difficulty finding startup capital, and progress in both space exploration and space business are harmed. In the late 1990s, when both Iridium and Globalstar failed, investors suddenly became wary of investing in space-based communications satellites — up until that time, comsats had been a guaranteed profitable business. All those are negative consequences of aerospace failure, and there are industry-wide negative consequences when the Russians fail, too.

    If you are complaining about a dry tone toward success, I’m not quite certain why. Your own tone seemed similarly dry (amusing?) in this comment of yours on Robert’s previous post on the Proton rocket:

    Please also notice that in that previous post, Robert had noted that there seemed to be negative effects for Russia’s own commercial launch business due to the rash of failures over the past half decade or so, and he noted some good news for Russia: they haven’t had any customers cancel launches due to the delay or the failures. SpaceX has had two recent payload cancellations due to their own (SpaceX’s) delays.

  • Denis

    I am not complaining about anything, I am just making a comment. I have been following this blog for a while and this is my comment about how Russian space program news are presented here.

  • Denis: You might want to read my book, Leaving Earth. You will find that there have been times I have been quite enthusiastic about the Russian effort in space, while simultaneously uninspired and “dry” about America’s accomplishments.

    To paraphrase Yeats, I prefer to “cast a cold eye” on things, so that I will not blind myself to reality.

  • LocalFluff

    “Leaving Earth is one of the best and certainly the most comprehensive summary of our drive into space that I have ever read. It will be invaluable to future scholars because it will tell them how the next chapter of human history opened.”
    Arthur C. Clarke

    Is that for real?
    I didn’t have any idea you had published any books. And I’ve been around here for a couple of years or so. Because everything you said on a Space Show made perfect sense. Your advertising strategy might benefit from an overhaul.

  • LocalFluff: You need to be a little more observant.

    1. At the top of my webpage is a menu with a link entitled “Books.” That lists everything.

    2. In the right column, just below the tip jar on the right, is a box describing my first book, “Genesis: the Story of Apollo 8”, still available worldwide as an ebook almost 20 years after publication.

    3. As for Arthur Clarke’s quote complementing Leaving Earth, he said it, and he meant it.

  • LocalFluff

    Marketing that requires potential customers to be attentive rarely works. Heck, I’m pretty attentive here. That didn’t help, until you finally happened to mention that you publish books. I suppose it is a new media thing. People coming in from anywhere with different presumptions. Big fat signs do still work. A.C. Clarke, who invented the communication satellite which is the commercial backbone of space flight, is a big fat endorsement.

  • LocalFluff: I have mentioned my books here, and on John Batchelor, both of which you appear to be a fan, many times. I find it amusing that only today you happened to notice. :)

  • wayne

    “I am shocked, shocked to find, this man wrote a whole encyclopedia on Discoveries In Space!”

    Mr. Z.–
    I for one, am incredibly grateful you don’t overly promote your books or otherwise go full-hog monetization, all over us.

    I do think you should link to your Book TV appearance on C-span, and… write some short stuff on your Adventures in Film, but that’s just me.

    ( 50th anniversary of Apollo 8 is next year)

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