[FPSPACE] Proton M article

Chris Jones clj@emc.com
12 Sep 2000 09:34:24 -0400

http://www.space.com/missionlaunches/launches/proton_m_000911.html is an
article about Russia's new Proton M launcher, currently scheduled for its first
launch in late October or early November.  It's got a bevy of improvements over
the current Proton, including a digital flight control system, improved first
stage engines, and a new (for Proton) fourth stage, the Briz M.  Also, work is
currently moving forward on another new fourth stage with cryogenic (LH2/LOX)
propellants (a first, I think, for the Soviet/Russian space program, though
they have developed a cryogenic stage for the Indians).  The article says that
with this new stage, the launcher could compete with Ariane 5, despite the
geographical disadvantage of launching from Baikonur vs. Kourou.  (The article
correctly states that launching from the equator gives a larger boost due to
the earth's rotation, but neglects to point out that the major disadvantage is
the huge plane change maneuver needed to reach a geostationary orbit.  I
believe that Proton's capacity to ISS's or Mir's orbit is much larger than
Ariane 5's.)