Any launch vehicle that flies as often as Russia's Proton is bound to have its share of mishaps. The venerable heavy-lifter has flown 388 missions since its first in 1965, 45 of which have been deemed total or partial failures. But the Proton M/Block DM-03 that veered off course and destroyed three Russian Glonass M navigation satellites in a fiery explosion near its Baikonur Cosmodrome launch pad July 2 comes at a particularly vulnerable moment for Russia's space program, which has ...

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