Sixteen botched launches in six years.
That’s the Russian space program’s sad record since May 2009. The failure of a Proton rocket earlier today with the loss of a Mexican communications satellite was yet another sign of the prolonged crisis affecting Russia’s once powerful space program.
The crash came less than three weeks after a botched launch left a Progress supply freighter spinning end over end like an extra point before it burned up in Earth atmosphere. There was also news today that another Progress cargo ship attached to the International Space Station failed to fire its engine as planned to boost the station’s orbit.
The list of Russian launch accidents over the last six years includes:
- 13 complete failures resulting in the loss of all payloads;
- 3 partial failures that left spacecraft in the wrong orbits;
- complete loss of 20 spacecraft;
- 6 Russian GLONASS navigation satellites destroyed; and,
- an ambitious Mars mission left stranded in Earth orbit.
The table below shows the full extent of the damage.