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Proton (Russian: Протон) (formal designation: UR-500) is an expendable launch system used for both commercial and Russian government space launches. The first Proton rocket was launched in 1965 and the launch system is still in use as of 2014, which makes it one of the most successful heavy boosters in the history of spaceflight. All Protons are built at the Khrunichev plant in Moscow, and then transported for launch to the Baikonur Cosmodrome, where they are brought to the launch pad horizontally and then raised into vertical position for launch.
Like many Soviet boosters, the names of recurring payloads became associated with their launchers. Thus the moniker "Proton" originates from a series of large scientific Proton 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 20.7 tonnes (46,000 lb). Geostationary transfer capacity is about 6 tonnes (13,000 lb). Commercial launches are marketed by International Launch Services (ILS). In a typical launch of a commercial communications satellite destined for geostationary orbit, a Proton M/Briz-M can place a spacecraft with mass at separation of 6,150 kilograms (13,560 lb) into an orbit with an apogee of 35,786 kilometres (22,236 mi), a perigee of 6,257 kilometres (3,888 mi) and an inclination of 19.7°. The rocket is intended to be retired before 2030.