SpaceX to Launch Rival OneWeb’s Broadband Satellites

Falcon 9 launches 53 Starlink satellites from Cape Canaveral. (Credit: SpaceX)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

OneWeb announced this morning that it will resume launches of its broadband satellite constellation with SpaceX, which is deploying its rival Starlink broadband satellite network. The agreement comes after OneWeb terminated a contract to continue launching on Soyuz boosters in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

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Russian Cosmonauts Enter Space Station Wearing Flight Suits with Colors Similar to Ukraine Flag

Soyuz MS-21 crew members aboard the International Space Station. (Credit: Roscosmos webcast)

A three man crew of Russian cosmonauts entered the International Space station today wearing bright yellow flight suits with blue trim — colors very similar to those used on the flag of Ukraine, which Russia invaded last month.

Oleg Artemyev, Denis Matveev, and Sergey Korsakov arrived at the station on the Soyuz MS-21 spacecraft at 3:12 p.m. EDT. They were launched aboard a Soyuz rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

It’s possible they are protesting Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to attack Ukraine. In which case, they are extremely brave. Or it might just be a giant coincidence. They might have chosen these colors — which have been used on the station before — months earlier.

The cosmonauts joined Expedition 66 Commander Anton Shkaplerov and cosmonaut Pyotr Dubrov of Roscosmos, NASA astronauts Mark Vande Hei, Raja Chari, Tom Marshburn, and Kayla Barron, and European Space Agency astronaut Matthias Maurer.

On March 30, a Soyuz spacecraft will return as scheduled carrying hkaplerov, Dubrov and Vande Hei back to Earth. Upon their return, Vande Hei will hold the American record for the longest single human spaceflight mission of 355 days.

OneWeb Suspends Satellite Launches From Baikonur

Soyuz rocket launches 36 OneWeb satellites from Baikonur Cosmodrome on Dec. 27, 2021. (Credit: Arianespace)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

The Friday launch of 36 OneWeb broadband satellites aboard a Soyuz rocket from Baikonur Cosmodrome is officially canceled as the London-based company refused demands from the Russian government amid growing international tensions over the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

“The Board of OneWeb has voted to suspend all launches from Baikonur,” the company said in a one-sentence statement.

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Russia Holds OneWeb Satellites Hostage; No Launch Unless Company & British Government Meet Demands

Vladimir Putin receives a briefing from Roscosmos General Director Dmitry Rogozin. (Credit: Office of the Russian President)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

In what is likely the first hostage drama involving communication satellites, the head of the Russian space program has demanded that the British government divest its shares in OneWeb and that the broadband satellite operator not provide services to foreign militaries in order to launch a new batch of spacecraft. The move comes amid growing tensions over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and sanctions imposed on the country by western nations.

Roscosmos Director General Dmitry Rogozin tweeted that unless these demands are met, Russia will refuse to launch 36 OneWeb satellites that sit atop a Soyuz-2.1b rocket currently on the launch pad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The launch is scheduled for Saturday morning Moscow time.

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Russian Cargo Craft Blasts off to Resupply Station

Russia’s Progress 80 resupply ship blasted off on Feb. 14 at 11:25 p.m. EST from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. (Credit: NASA TV)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — The uncrewed Russian Progress 80 is safely in orbit headed for the  International Space Station following launch at 11:25 p.m. EST (9:25 a.m. on Feb. 15 Baikonur time) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

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NASA Television to Cover Space Station Cargo Launch, Docking

Russia’s ISS Progress 75 cargo craft, seen departing from the International Space Station April 27, 2021 after undocking from the Zvezda service module’s aft port, where it stayed for just over a year. The trash-filled spacecraft reentered Earth’s atmosphere above the South Pacific for a fiery but safe demise a day later. (Credit: NASA)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — NASA Television will provide live coverage of the launch and docking of a Russian cargo spacecraft delivering almost three tons of food, fuel and supplies to the International Space Station. Coverage will begin at 11 p.m. EST on Monday, Feb. 14.

Launch of the unpiloted Russian Progress 80 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan is scheduled for 11:25 p.m. (9:25 a.m. on Feb. 15 Baikonur time).

NASA TV coverage of the spacecraft’s rendezvous and docking at the space station will begin at 1:30 a.m. on Thursday, Feb. 17. The cargo spacecraft is set to link up to the Pirs docking compartment on the Russian segment at 2:06 a.m. The Russian space agency Roscosmos will determine a departure date for Progress 80.

For more information about the International Space Station, its research, and crew, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/station

Get breaking news, images and features from the space station on InstagramFacebook, and Twitter.

Axelspace to Launch GRUS Satellites on Russian Soyuz Launch Vehicle in 2022

Soyuz-2 launch (Credit: Roscosmos)

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — The Japanese company Axelspace Corporation has signed a contract with GK Launch Services (a subsidiary of Glavkosmos, part of the Roscosmos State Space Corporation) for the launch of four GRUS satellites. The spacecraft will be launched on the Russian Soyuz-2 launch vehicle from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in 2022.

The satellites will complement the existing AxelGlobe constellation, which currently consists of 5 satellites in orbit.

GRUS satellites are smaller than conventional Earth observation satellites, but capable of taking high-quality images with a resolution of 2.5 meters. The service initially started with a single satellite in May 2019, and from June 2021, five satellites started taking images, which encouraged the growth in the number of the service customers and the demand for the satellite data in various industries across the world.

Axelspace Corporation. Main business focus: Solutions based on microsatellite technology, design and production of microsatellites and related components, launch arrangements and operational support, business related to microsatellite data.

Khrunichev Center to End Production of Proton Rockets This Year

Proton rocket lifts off on July 31, 2020. (Credit: Roscosmos)

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — Within the framework of the planned program of launches of the Proton-M heavy class launch vehicles, the State Space Research and Production Center named after M.V. Khrunichev (part of the Roscosmos State Corporation) has four rockets left to manufacture. Currently, ten Proton-M launch vehicles are in storage, and this year it is planned to complete the manufacture of the last four rockets.

The Proton is being replaced by the Angara-A5 heavy-class launch vehicle, which successfully launched in 2014, 2020 and 2021. as part of flight design tests. The launch of a full technological cycle for the production of Angara launch vehicles on the basis of the Omsk branch of the Khrunichev Center of the Polet Production Association (part of Roscosmos) is a priority task for the Roscosmos State Corporation.

Angara-A5 launch (Credit: Russian Aerospace Forces)

The operation of the Proton space rocket complex at the Baikonur Cosmodrome began in 1965. At present, 426 launches of the Proton launch vehicle have been made in its various configurations. The main configuration for launching federal and commercial payloads is the Proton-M launch vehicle with the Breeze-M upper stage.

The Second Life of the Gagarin Start Launch Complex

Gagarin Start launch complex at Baikonur Cosmodrome. (Credit: Roscosmos)

Translated from Russian by Google Translate

BAIKONUR COSMODROME, Kazakhstan (Roscosmos PR) — The place where modern cosmonautics was born is known for sure: it is the legendary “Gagarin Launch”, site No. 1 of the Baikonur cosmodrome. It was here that the launch of the first satellite opened the Space Age of mankind. It was from here that Yuri Gagarin ascended into orbit on April 12, 1961.

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Roscosmos Looks Back at Successful Launch Year

Soyuz rocket launches 36 OneWeb satellites from Baikonur Cosmodrome on Dec. 27, 2021. (Credit: Arianespace)

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — For the third year in a row, Roscosmos ensured trouble-free launches of spacecraft from the Baikonur, Plesetsk and Vostochny cosmodromes. Russia has achieved the best indicators of accident-free launches in 5 years (about 97 percent) among the leading space powers (Russia, USA, China).

As of the end of 2021, 25 launches of space rockets were carried out, including 14 launches from the Baikonur cosmodrome, 5 launches from Vostochny, 5 from Plesetsk and 1 from the Guiana Space Center.

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Flight ST37, the 15th Operated by Arianespace in 2021, Successfully Placed 36 More OneWeb Satellites into Orbit

Soyuz rocket launches 36 OneWeb satellites from Baikonur Cosmodrome on Dec. 27, 2021. (Credit: Arianespace)
  • Thanks to ST37, 60% of OneWeb’s constellation is now in orbit, bringing the constellation to 394 satellites launched.
  • Thanks to ST37, Arianespace have conducted 15 launches in 2021, including eight missions for the benefit of OneWeb and a total of nine Soyuz flights, from three different spaceports.
  • This launch also marks a new milestone in Arianespace history: since its creation in 1980, the company has officially deployed 1,101 satellites.

BAIKONUR COSMODROME, Kazakhstan, December 27, 2021 (Arianespace PR) — On Monday, December 27, at precisely 06:10 p.m. local time at Russia’s Baikonur Cosmodrome (01:10 p.m. UTC), Soyuz flight ST37 lifted-off with 36 OneWeb satellites bringing, after this successful deployment, the size of the fleet in orbit to 394. Flight ST37 was the 63rd Soyuz mission carried out by Arianespace, the 37th with its Starsem affiliate, and the 12th mission for OneWeb.

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Russia, Kazakhstan Move Forward on Baiterek Launch Complex Redevelopment

Soyuz 5 launch vehicle

NUR-SULTAN, Kazakhstan (Roscosmos PR) — The seventh meeting of the Russian-Kazakh intergovernmental commission on the Baikonur complex, chaired by the Deputy Prime Ministers of Russia and Kazakhstan, respectively, Yuri Borisov and Roman Sklyar, was held in Nur-Sultan (Kazakhstan) on December 13, 2021.

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This Week in Launches: Japanese Tourist, New Shepard, NASA Laser Experiment, X-ray Satellite & More

Soyuz MS-20 crew members Yozo Hirano, Alexander Misurkin and Yusaku Maezawa. (Credit: Roscosmos)

Schedule subject to change without notice.

December 7

Launch Vehicle: Atlas 5 (United Launch Alliance)
Payloads: STP-6 and several rideshares
Launch Window: 4:04-6:04 a.m. EST (0904-1104 UTC)
Launch Site: Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Fla.
Webcast: www.nasa.gov

The U.S. Space Force mission will launch the STPSat-6 satellite and several secondary payloads. STPSat 6 hosts NASA’s Laser Communications Relay Demonstration payload and the Space and Atmospheric Burst Reporting System-3 for the National Nuclear Security Administration.

OUTCOME: Success

December 8

Launch Vehicle: Soyuz-2.1a (Roscosmos)
Payload: Soyuz MS-20
Launch Time: 2:38 a.m. EST (0738 UTC)
Launch Site: Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan
Webcast: www.nasa.gov

Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin will fly Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa and his assistant, Yozo Hirano, to the International Space Station on a 12-day mission.

OUTCOME: Success

Launch Vehicle: Electron (Rocket Lab)
Payloads: BlackSky 14 & 15 Earth observation satellites
Launch Time: 6:45 p.m. EST (2345 UTC)
Launch Site: Mahia Peninsula, New Zealand
Webcast: www.rocketlab.com

December 9

Launch Vehicle: Falcon 9 (SpaceX)
Payload: Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer
Launch Window: 1:00-2:30 a.m. EST (0600-0730 UTC)
Launch Site: Kennedy Space Center, Florida
Webcast: www.nasa.gov

Launch Vehicle: New Shepard (Blue Origin)
Payload: New Shepard
Launch Time: TBA
Launch Site: Corn Ranch, Texas
Webcast: www.blueorigin.com

Laura Shepard Churchley will fly aboard a suborbital craft named in honor of her late father, NASA astronaut Alan Shepard, who became the first American in space 60 years ago and walked on the moon a decade later. She will be joined by: Good Morning America co-host Michael Strahan; Voyager Space chairman and CEO Dylan Taylor; Lance Bess, principal and founder of Bess Ventures and Advisory; Lance’s son Cameron Bess; and Evan Dick, managing member of Dick Holdings. This will be the 19th launch of the New Shepard system.

UPDATE: Postponed to Saturday, Dec. 11.

December 12

Launch Vehicle: Proton (Roscosmos)
Payloads: Express AMU3 & Express AMU7 communications satellites
Launch Time: 7:09 a.m. EST (1209 UTC)
Launch Site: Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan
Webcast: www.roscosmos.com

Preparations Continue at Baikonur for Japanese Billionaire’s Launch to International Space Station

Spaceflight participant Yozo Hiro, Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin and spaceflight participant Yusaku Maezawa. (Credit: Roscosmos)

BAIKONUR COSMODROME, Kazakhstan (Roscosmos PR) — Baikonur Cosmodrome continues preparations for launching the Soyuz-2.1a carrier rocket with the Soyuz MS-20 crewed spacecraft. On the previous day, the Soyuz-2.1a/Soyuz MS-20 rocket was rolled out to the Site 31 launchpad (‘Vostok’), after which Roscosmos specialists conducted work on the L-3 day schedule, no issues were revealed.

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