Proton (UR-500)

Proton (Russian: Протон) (formal designation: UR-500) is an expendable launch system used for both commercial and Russian government space launches.

Quick Facts About the Proton 8K82K:

- Type : Expendable Orbital launch system.

- Origin : Soviet Union; Russia.

- In service : 10 March 1967 - 30 March 2012

- Mass : 693.81 tonnes (1,529,600 lb).

- Length/Height : 53 metres (174 ft).

- Diameter : 7.4 metres (24 ft).

- Pyload to LEO : 23 700 kg (52200lb).

- Pyload to GEO : 6300kg (13900lb).

- Propellant : N2O4/UDMH

- Engines: First stage: 6 RD-275 with thrust of 10,470 kilonewtons (2350,00 lbf), Second stage: 3 RD-0210 & 1 RD-0211 with thrust of 2,399 kN (539,000 lbf), Third stage: 1 RD-0212 with thrust of 630 kN (140,000 lbf).

The first Proton rocket was launched in 1965. Modern versions of the launch system are still in use as of 2020, making it one of the most successful heavy boosters in the history of spaceflight. All Protons are built at the Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center factory in Moscow and Chemical Automatics Design Bureau in Voronezh, transported to the Baikonur Cosmodrome, brought to the launch pad horizontally, and raised into vertical position for launch.

As with many Soviet rockets, the names of recurring payloads became associated with the launch vehicle itself. The moniker "Proton" originates from a series of similarly named scientific satellites, which were among the rocket's first payloads. During the Cold War, it was designated the D-1/D-1e or SL-12/SL-13 by Western intelligence agencies.

Launch capacity to low Earth orbit is about 22.8 tonnes (50,000 lb). Geostationary transfer capacity is about 6.3 tonnes (14,000 lb). Commercial launches are marketed by International Launch Services (ILS). In 2013, the rocket was intended to be retired before 2030.

As of June 2018, production on the Proton rocket is ceasing as the new Angara launch vehicle comes on line and becomes operational. No new launch service contracts for Proton are likely to be signed.

Credit/References and for further info please see:

Proton (UR-500) image
Early Proton-K rocket versions. Photo Credit : Nasa , Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons