Russian launch rate to drop?


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More government propaganda, this time from Russia: The head of Russia’s space agency Roscomos today announced proudly that they intend to complete 150 launches by the end of 2025.

“In the period ending 2025 (the period of the newly-adopted federal space program) we plan to fundamentally upgrade the group of satellites in orbit. We plan to carry out more than 150 launches. That done the Russian orbital group will grow considerably,” he said.

The problem is that this number suggests a significant decline in the Russian launch rate. From 1995 to 2015 the Russians averaged just under 29 launches per year. The new prediction today, based on 150 launches through the end of 2025, averages instead less than 19 launches per year, about the number Russia launched in 2016 and 2017 when they discovered serious corruption in one of their rocket engine factories and had to cease launches for almost a year in order to recall all rocket engines and fix them.

It could be that the launch rate being touted today by the head of Roscosmos only counts government launches, and excludes commercial launches for other customers. Even so, it still suggests a significant decline, since Russia is simply not getting as many launch contracts as it had in the past, its market share having been mostly stolen by SpaceX.

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2 comments

  • Localfluff

    Zenit made a two year long break from launching because of the conflict with Ukraine where (much of) it is manufactured. It has launched on average 2½ times a year since 1984. And maybe Proton will be retired any year now (unless its payload capacity is needed by the military). Even if Soyuz is modernized, it will still share the same production facilities and launch pads, which I suppose puts a limit on launch frequency. They also have the smaller Rokot that can put 2 tons in LEO 200 km.

    Looks unlikely to me that they will get a new large launcher operational in 8 years from now.

  • ” . . . its market share having been mostly stolen by SpaceX.”

    I would argue SpaceX earned market share.

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