During 2001, Russia and Ukraine conducted 25 attempts of orbital launches, all of which were successful. One suborbital launch from a submerged submarine failed. Total 36 spacecraft were delivered into orbit, of which 29 were Russian-built satellites and seven were foreign payloads. This was much lower rate of commercial launch activities comparing to the year 2000, when Russia conducted as many as 20 commercial launches. Entering year 2001, the Russian Aviation and Space Agency, Rosaviacosmos, hoped to conduct as many as 12 commercial launches. However, a number of missions, including launches of the Proton and Dnepr-1 boosters, had to be delayed due to technical problems or lack of customers. As a result, Russia's revenues from commercial launch activities were not expected to exceed $300 million in 2001, comparing to $880 million produced in 2000.
During 2001, total four Western communications satellites had been launched, along with small payloads for Swedish, Moroccan and Pakistani customers. Baikonur remained a busiest launch site of the Russian space program with total 16 launches originating in Kazakhstan. Plesetsk hosted five launches and one rocket was launched from Svobodny.
The Russian military increased its space assets by 13 spacecraft, among them four navigation satellites, six communications satellites, one imaging reconnaissance spacecraft, one early-warning spacecraft in the geostationary orbit and one Navy electronic intelligence spacecraft.
The Soyuz and Molniya launchers had flown 11 times, of which seven launches were dedicated to the manned space program, including one to support Mir and six to build and maintain the International Space Station. A small Docking Compartment was added to the Russian portion of the International Space Station. No other permanent elements are expected to join the Russian segment of the station until 2004, the earliest.
The Proton rocket (including a brand-new Proton-M version) had flown six times, delivering six federal payloads and two foreign commercial comsats. This is a far cry from record-breaking 14 launches conducted in the previous year.
The Zenit launcher had flown three successful missions, including two from Sea Launch platform and one from Baikonur.
The Tsyklon-3 rocket returned to flight in July, after a failure in December 2000, and made two successful missions from Plesetsk, the Tsyklon-2 flown one mission from Baikonur.
Russian orbital launch attempts in 2001:
*This table lists Moscow time unless stated otherwise. Baikonur's local time is two hours ahead of Moscow Time. **UTC - Universal Standard Time
Tsyklon-3 rocket launches the SM-KF (Koronas-F) spacecraft on July 31, 2001. Credit: KB Yuzhnoe