Russia lowers its Proton launch plans for 2017

Chronological Encyclopedia of Discoveries in Space cover

After being in print for twenty years, the Chronological Encyclopedia of Discoveries in Space, covering everything that was learned on every single space mission in the 20th century, has finally gone out of print.

I presently have my last four hardback copies available for sale. The book sold new for about $90. To get your own autographed copy of this now rare collector's item, please send a $120 check (which includes shipping) payable to Robert Zimmerman to

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Though they are about to resume Proton launches, Russia today revealed that they only intend to launch the rocket five times in 2017, not seven as announced earlier.

Russia plans five Proton-M carrier rocket launches this year, including three commercial launches, Khrunichev Space Center CEO Andrei Kalinovsky told TASS on Wednesday. “Our plans for this year also additionally include four Proton-M carrier rocket launches. These are two commercial launches with Amazonas 5 and AsiaSat 9 satellites, and also two federal launches,” the chief executive said.

Even more interesting, the article notes that Russia only has contracts to launch 15 commercial satellites through 2023. That’s a launch rate of only about 2.5 to 3 commercial Proton launches per year, a rate that seems much less than in the past. Moreover, while they say they haven’t lost any customers in the past year, it also appears they haven’t gotten any either.



  • Dick Eagleson

    Winter is coming.

  • wayne

    “Enemy at the Gates”
    -Nikita Khrushchev Scene

    (“I have to report to the Boss, perhaps you’d prefer to avoid the red-tape?”)

  • Dick Eagleson

    One of Bob Hoskins’s best roles. I miss him.

    It seems that, along with pretty much everything else in Russia these days, the supply of Vasily Zaitsevs has run out as well.

  • Denis

    And yet it still flies

  • Edward

    Geez, wayne. I hope it is not that bad.

    That is a nice example. Stalingrad was one of the most amazing battles of all time. The defense dug in and made so much trouble for the Germans that it affected the outcome of the Nazi strategy in that whole area: capture the oil fields a few hundred kilometers south. Taking Stalingrad would protect the German flank. Keeping Stalingrad was a major victory for the Soviets and a major defeat for the Nazis. The movie clip even suggested that Stalingrad was such a symbol to the people of the Soviet Union that a Soviet loss would have been such a blow to morale that the Soviet Union would have collapsed.

    In a similar way, spaceflight is a symbol to many, most, or all the nations of the Earth. This is why so many nations are starting up their own space agencies or are otherwise trying to do space related activities. The world sees that the Russians are having severe difficulties in space, yet they were once the leaders in being the first to do new activities in space; Sergei Korolev helped see to that. Robert has noted the result: fewer commercial launch contracts than in the past. The quality control problem in the Russian space industry is similar to the struggle at Stalingrad. To lose the QC battle is to lose their leadership role in the space industry and to lose the reputation for technical leadership.

    There is another battle with corruption, but that has less effect than the loss of paying payloads.

    As the hero in “Enemy at the Gates” says, the Russian space industry needs hope, pride, courage, and modern heroes — cosmonaut and engineer. Right now, their space heroes are from half a century ago. In the US, there are at least two modern national space heroes: Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos. (I include Peter Diamandis as a personal hero for his boldness in making the X Prize a success, and Robert Bigelow for his efforts to bring space stations to the common country. Paul Allen shows great potential.)

  • wayne

    “Mother Russia”

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