PARIS (ESA PR) —
Over two weeks have flown by since ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano was
launched to the International Space Station for his second six-month
stay in orbit. His arrival, alongside NASA astronaut Andrew Morgan and
Roscosmos Soyuz commander Alexander Skvortsov, boosted the Station’s
population to six and the crew has been busy ever since – performing a
wide range of science in space.
Dmitry Rogozin, the blunt talking Russian deputy prime minister who once suggested NASA use a trampoline to launch its astronauts to the International Space Station, has been dumped from the government as Vladimir Putin begins his fourth term as Russian president, according to media reports.
Rogozin, who has overseen the defense and space sectors since 2011, was not on a list of government officials submitted to the Duma for approval by Dmitry Medvedev, whom Putin has nominated to continue serving as prime minister.
Rogozin is being replaced as overseer of the defense and space sectors by Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov.
HOUSTON (NASA PR) — Expedition 50 Commander Shane Kimbrough of NASA is among three crew members from the International Space Station (ISS) who returned to Earth Monday, after 173 days in space, landing in Kazakhstan at approximately 7:20 a.m. EDT (5:20 p.m. Kazakhstan time).
MOSCOW (RSC Energia PR) — Russian Federation Federal Assembly State Duma deputies gave the bill “On Public Space Corporation Roscosmos” its first reading and approved it unanimously. On May 19, 2015 the parliamentarians from all groups raised their voices for setting up a new public corporation: altogether 442 affirmative voices as said in the message published on site of Federal Space Agency Roscosmos.
British soprano Sarah Brightman has dropped out of a planned trip this fall to the International Space Station citing ” for personal family reasons.” A post on the singer’s website did not elaborate on those reasons.
The announcement comes only weeks after press reportssaid Brightman would be replaced by her backup, Japanese businessman Satoshi Takamatsu, because she would not be ready in time for the flight. Those reports were denied at the time.
Brightman’s announcement describes the decision as a postponement, indicating that she could fly at a future time aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft. Because the Soyuz is the only transport system serving the six-person station, there will probably not be another opportunity until 2017 or 2018 when U.S. commercial providers Boeing and SpaceX begin transporting astronauts to ISS.
A Soyuz seat is open this year because a U.S. astronaut and Russian cosmonaut are spending almost one year aboard the station instead of returning to Earth after five to six months. Each three-seat Soyuz spacecraft must be rotated off the ISS every six months.
NASA has cut off most of its cooperation with the Russian government except activities related to the operation of the International Space Station. In an unusually blunt statement, the space agency blamed Congress for delaying U.S. crew flights to the orbiting outpost:
Given Russia’s ongoing violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, NASA is suspending the majority of its ongoing engagements with the Russian Federation. NASA and Roscosmos will, however, continue to work together to maintain safe and continuous operation of the International Space Station. NASA is laser focused on a plan to return human spaceflight launches to American soil, and end our reliance on Russia to get into space. This has been a top priority of the Obama Administration’s for the past five years, and had our plan been fully funded, we would have returned American human spaceflight launches – and the jobs they support – back to the United States next year. With the reduced level of funding approved by Congress, we’re now looking at launching from U.S. soil in 2017. The choice here is between fully funding the plan to bring space launches back to America or continuing to send millions of dollars to the Russians. It’s that simple. The Obama Administration chooses to invest in America – and we are hopeful that Congress will do the same.
Editor’s Note: This statement is aimed as much (or more) at Congress as the Russians. And it nails the point succinctly. There is a clear and workable solution that would allow us to end our dependence on Russia and restore our proud heritage in human spaceflight. Congress has been response for delaying its implementation. And that needs to end.
For Roscosmos boss Vladimir Popovkin, the first half of 2013 was a welcome respite in an otherwise difficult tenure. A series of launch vehicles — 15 of them in all — lifted off flawlessly from the Baikonur and Plesetsk cosmodromes. All their payloads reached their intended orbits, exactly as planned. As summer dawned, it looked as though the Russian space program had finally put a string of embarrassing launch failures behind it.
With the terrible devastation caused by the Japanese earthquake and tsunami, there is renewed interest in whether earthquakes could ever be accurately predicted in advance so that those in the affected in areas could evacuate and prepare properly.
The Russians are pursuing just such an initiative under its IGMASS initiative. The International Global Natural and Industrial Emergency Aerospace Monitoring System is designed to detect natural disaster precursors through the development of dedicated space, air and ground systems.
Commercial space station to be built jointly by RSC-Energia and Orbital Technologies will be used to conduct scientific experiments, Head of Roscosmos Human Spaceflight Directorate Alexey Krasnov told news media.