Fun with Figures: The Rise and Fall of the Commercial Proton Booster

Proton on launch pad (Credit: ILS)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Russia recently marked the 25th anniversary of the entry of the Proton rocket into the international commercial marketplace. On April 8, 1996, a Proton-K booster with a DM3 upper stage launched the Astra 1F geosynchronous communications satellite built by U.S.-based Hughes for Luxembourg’s SES from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

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Glavkosmos, Orbital Express to Cooperate in Promoting Services to the Global Space Market

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — Glavkosmos (part of Roscosmos) and the Russian private company Orbital Express have signed an agreement on cooperation in promoting services to the global space market with the help of the Russian rocket and space technology. The document was signed on Thursday at the Glavkosmos headquarters in Moscow. 

“Glavkosmos welcomes the initiative of Russian private NewSpace companies to enter the foreign space market,” says Dmitry Loskutov, Director General of Glavkosmos. “We hope that the interaction between Glavkosmos and Orbital Express will be successful. We believe that it will have a positive impact on the development of Russian rocket and space technologies.”

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Crew Dragon at Launch Complex for NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1; Astronauts Arrive Sunday

The SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft for NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1 mission arrived at Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A on Thursday, Nov. 5, after making the trek from its processing facility at nearby Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. (Credit: SpaceX)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft arrived at Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A on Thursday, Nov. 5, after making the trek from its processing facility at nearby Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

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Soyuz Spacecraft with Skybot F-850 Robot Launched to ISS

Soyuz MS-14 spacecraft launched to the International Space Station. (Credit: Roscosmos)

BAIKONUR, Kazakhstan (Roscosmos PR) — On August 22, 2019 at 03:38:32 UTC, the Soyuz-2.1a carrier rocket with the Soyuz MS-14 spacecraft successfully lifted off from the launch pad No. 31 at the Baikonur Cosmodrome.

The spacecraft will deliver scientific equipment for the experiments, medication, containers with food supplies, packages for the crew, as well as the Skybot F-850 humanoid robot. The Russian cosmonauts will test the robot systems under the spaceflight conditions. The main purpose of the robot is to use it during the hazardous tasks onboard the spacecraft including spacewalks.

After the ship’s separation from the third stage of the carrier rocket the Chief Operating Control Group of the Russian segment of the ISS took over the flight control.

The Soyuz-2.1a carrier rocket inserted the spacecraft into the orbit with the following parameters:

  • the minimum height above the Earth surface — 200 km;
  • the maximum height above the Earth surface — 243 km;
  • the orbit period — 88.64 min;
  • the orbit inclination — 51.67 deg.

The Soyuz MS-14 spacecraft approach to the station and its berthing to the Poisk research module is planned to be performed automatically under control of the Chief Operating Control Group of the Russian segment of the ISS at the Mission Control Center and Roscosmos cosmonauts Alexey Ovchinin and Alexander Skvortsov. The docking is scheduled at 05:30 UTC on August 24, 2019.

Ariane Readied for 200th Launch, Soyuz Heads Toward 1,800

Ariane 5 ECA for flight V184 climb away from the Guiana Space Centre on the evening of 7 July 2008.

ARIANESPACE PAO

Basic build-up of the milestone 200th Ariane for launch is now complete at the Spaceport, marking a new milestone in preparations for an Ariane 5 mission that will loft a European Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) next February to service the International Space Station.

During activity in the Spaceport’s Launcher Integration Building, the Ariane 5 ES version of Arianespace’s heavy-lift workhorse was fitted with its equipment bay, followed by installation of the EPS upper stage.

With these steps completed, the Ariane 5 is ready for transfer to the Final Assembly Building, where the ATV – named after German astronomer/mathematician Johannes Kepler – will be installed.  The Final Assembly Building currently is occupied by an Ariane 5 ECA launcher version, which is waiting to receive its payload of the HISPASAT 1E and KOREASAT 6 telecommunications satellites for a liftoff scheduled on December 28 from French Guiana.

ROSCOSMOS PAO

Produced by Rocket Center Progress of Samara (TsSKB-Progress), Soyuz rocket marked its 1765th successful mission on Dec. 15,  TsSKB-Progress DG Alexander Kirilin said at Baikonur. To remind, Soyuz-FG modification injected into orbit Soyuz TMA-20 vehicle with three crew on Dec. 15, at 22.09 MSK.

Kirilin noted that 5 Soyuz modifications are in operation by the Russian Space Industry.

Soyuz-FG is featured by reliability ratio of 0,952.

Another ‘brother’-rocket in the Soyuz family, Soyuz-ST, is slated for its maiden launch from European space port in French Guiana next year.