Russia’s Proton returns to flight
September 29, 2014
By Chris Forrester
Russia launched a heavy-lift Proton rocket into orbit on September 28th, its first flight in some four months. The Proton/Breez-M combination placed a Russian military satellite into orbit.
The action means that the rocket can now be used by International Launch Services (ILS), the commercial arm of Russia’s rocket-building operation, and providing competitive launch facilities to the Arianespace and SpaceX rivals.
The Proton system has been inactive following a series of problems, the last in May this year when a satellite was lost. ILS will be releasing its own separate review findings as to the technical changes that have now been auctioned. ILS is majority owned by the Khrunichev Space Centre which also builds the Proton rockets.
ILS is looking to launch four ‘western’ satellites by the end of the year. Satellite operators in the ILS queue include SES, Inmarsat and Turksat.