NASA Sets Landing Coverage for Russian Cosmonaut, Actress, Producer

Actress Yulia, Peresild, cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov, director Klim Shipenko and and backup crew member Alena Mordovina. (Credit: Roscosmos)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — NASA will provide complete coverage as three space travelers living aboard the International Space Station, including a Russian actress and her producer-director, return to Earth just after midnight on Sunday, Oct. 17.

Russian cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy of Roscosmos will be at the controls of the Soyuz MS-18 spacecraft, flanked by Russian actress Yulia Peresild and Russian producer-director Klim Shipenko, for the spacecraft’s undocking from the station’s Nauka Multipurpose Laboratory Module Saturday, Oct. 16. The trio will make a parachute-assisted landing on the steppe of Kazakhstan a little more than three hours later, at 12:36 a.m. EDT (10:36 a.m. Kazakhstan time) Sunday, Oct. 17.

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Cosmonauts Prepare Soyuz for Return to Earth

The three new residents aboard the station (front row, from left) are Russian actress Yulia Peresild, Roscosmos cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov, and Russian Producer Klim Shipenko. In the back, are Expedition 65 crew members Shane Kimbrough, Oleg Novitskiy, Thomas Pesquet, Megan McArthur, Pyotr Dubrov, Mark Vande Hei, and Akihiko Hoshide. (Credit: NASA TV)

MOSCOW, October 7, 2021 (Roscosmos PR) — Russian crewmembers of the 65th long-term expedition to the International Space Station work in accordance with the flight task. Today, October 7, 2021, in preparation for the upcoming landing, the Soyuz MS-19 spacecraft crew is swapping the Soyuz MS-19 and Soyuz MS-18 seat liners. Return to Earth is scheduled for October 17, 2021.

The crew also continues to work on filming the scientific and educational project ‘Challenge’. The health condition of the cosmonauts and spaceflight participants is good.

The seat liners act as shock absorbers evenly distributing the loads to protect the crew during the landing. Each seat liner is made individually for each cosmonaut as part Kazbek-UM chair shock-absorbing chair of Soyuz MS spacecraft, where the cosmonaut (or spaceflight participant) stays during the flight.

Three times in the history of Russian cosmonautics the seat liners saved the lives of the crews returning from Earth orbit in 1969 (Boris Volynov), in 1980 (Valery Kubasov and Bertalan Farkash), in 1997 (Vasily Tsibliev, Alexander Lazutkin). The impact on the ground was so strong that the astronauts survived largely thanks to the seat liners.

The spaceflight participants Yulia Peresild and Klim Shipenko, who flew to the International Space Station as part of the scientific and educational project ‘Challenge’ will return to Earth on October 17 on the Soyuz MS-18 spacecraft together with Roscosmos cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy, who has been at the ISS since April. Anton Shkaplerov and Pyotr Dubrov will spend another 174 days at the station.

According to preliminary data from the TsNIImash Mission Control Center (part of Roscosmos), the Soyuz MS-18 spacecraft is scheduled to undock at 01:12 UTC on October 17, 2021. The descent capsule is expected to land at 04:36 UTC of the same day, 147 km from the city of Zhezkazgan.

NASA TV Coverage Set for Russian Film Production Launch

The Soyuz MS-18 rocket is launched with Expedition 65 NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei, Roscosmos cosmonauts Pyotr Dubrov and Oleg Novitskiy, Friday, April 9, 2021, at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. (Credits: NASA/Bill Ingalls)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — NASA will provide coverage of a Tuesday, Oct. 5 launch that will carry a Russian cosmonaut, actress, and film producer to the International Space Station, where they will film segments for a movie. The launch will mark the expansion of commercial space opportunities to include feature filmmaking.

Making his fourth flight into space, Roscosmos cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov will join actress Yulia Peresild and producer Klim Shipenko for the launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 4:55 a.m. EDT Oct. 5 (1:55 p.m. Baikonur time). Their Soyuz MS-19 spacecraft will make a fast-track, two-orbit journey to dock to the station’s Rassvet module.

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Russian Nodal Module for Space Station Completes Vacuum Chamber Test

Prichal nodal module (Credit: RSC Energia/Roscosmos)

BAIKONUR COSMODROME, Kazakhstan (Roscosomos PR) — At the Baikonur Cosmodrome, tightness tests of the Prichal nodal module in the vacuum chamber of the assembly and testing building of site No. 254 have been completed.

In accordance with the work schedule, specialists of the Energia Rocket and Space Corporation and the Yuzhny Space Center (a branch of the Center for Operation of Ground-Based Space Infrastructure Facilities) performed a cycle of pneumatic vacuum tests of the Prichal module, which lasted from September 21, 2021. The module is currently installed in its workplace and connected to ground test equipment to continue prelaunch preparation.

The Prichal universal nodal module designed and manufactured by RSC Energia named after S.P. Korolev is designed to expand the technical and operational capabilities of the Russian segment of the ISS. The launch of the Prichal into a near-earth orbit and its docking with the nadir node of the Nauka multipurpose laboratory module are planned for November 2021.

Russia, Kazakhstan Sign Agreement to Build Soyuz-5 Launch Complex at Baikonur

TASS reports that Russia and Kazakhstan have agreed to construct a new launch complex for the Soyuz-5 and Soyuz-6 rockets at the latter’s Baikonur Cosmodrome. Kazakhstan will be responsible for ground infrastructure while Russia will develop the new launch vehicles.

The construction will take place at the Baiterek launch facility that previously was to be modernized for launching Zenit boosters. Zenit is a rocket largely built in Ukraine but had elements supplied in Russia. Cooperation on the Zenit program ended after Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimea region and invaded the country.

Being developed by JSC Progress, the Soyuz-5 booster is designed to replace the Zenit-2 and Proton-M booster and serve as the base for a super heavy-lift launcher that will match the capabilities of the retired Energia rocket. Soyuz-5 will be capable of lifting satellites weighting 18 metric tons or crewed spacecraft weighing 15.5 metric tons to low Earth orbit.

There isn’t much public information available on the Soyuz-6 rocket. The new booster will apparently be a shortened version of the Soyuz-5 booster.

Russian Government Allocates $60.6 Million for Future Soyuz Tourist Flight

The Soyuz MS-15 spacecraft is seen as it lands in a remote area near the town of Zhezkazgan, Kazakhstan with Expedition 62 crew members Jessica Meir and Drew Morgan of NASA, and Oleg Skripochka of Roscosmos, Friday, April 17, 2020. Meir and Skripochka returned after 205 days in space, and Morgan after 272 days in space. All three served as Expedition 60-61-62 crew members onboard the International Space Station. (Credits: NASA/GCTC/Andrey Shelepin)

The Russian government has allocated $60.6 million (4.4 billion rubles) to the Roscosmos subsidiary Glavkosmos to produce a Soyuz 2.1a rocket and Soyuz MS spacecraft for a space tourism flight scheduled for 2024, according to Space Daily.

Glavkosmos head Dmitry Loskutov said in May that the company was already in talks with potential space tourists and was simultaneously working on putting together a reserve of Soyuz spaceships to make the first tourist flight possible in late 2023.

Now that SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft is carrying astronauts to the station, Russia has restarted spaceflights for paying customers. On Oct. 5, the Soyuz MS-19 spacecraft will carry Roscosmos cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov, actress Yulia Peresild and director Klim Shipenko to the International Space Station (ISS). Peresild and Shipenko will shoot scenes for a movie titled, “Challenge,” during a spaceflight lasting 12 days.

On Dec. 8, the Soyuz MS-20 spacecraft will carry Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin, Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa, and Maezawa’s assistant Yozo Hirano to ISS on a 12-day spaceflight.

Crew of Russian Commercial Mission to ISS Answers Questions in Preflight News Conference

Soyuz ISS-66 crew members: actress Yulia Peresild, Roscosmos cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov and film director Klim Shipenko. (Credit: Roscosmos)

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — A pre-flight press conference of the main and backup crews of the ISS-66 Expedition took place at the Cosmonaut Training Center. Journalists, bloggers, social media users from all over the world sent many questions to them. The event was held online in cooperation with TASS, Roscosmos State Corporation, Channel One and the Yu.A. Gagarin.

Recall that the main crew of ISS-66: Hero of the Russian Federation, Roscosmos cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov, film director Klim Shipenko, and actress Yulia Peresild. Their understudies are Hero of the Russian Federation, Roscosmos cosmonaut Oleg Artemiev, cameraman Alexei Dudin, and actress Alena Mordovina.

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Two Flight Engineers’ Stay on ISS Extended; Biology, Maintenance Work Pick Up

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — Two International Space Station crew members have had their stay onboard the orbiting lab extended to nearly a year. Meanwhile, space biology and life support maintenance kept the Expedition 65 crew busy on Tuesday.

With the plans for Russian spaceflight participants to visit the space station as part of the Soyuz MS-19 crew in October 2021, NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei and Roscosmos cosmonaut Pyotr Dubrov will remain aboard the station until March 2022. Upon return to Earth, Vande Hei will hold the record for longest single spaceflight for an American. [Editor’s Note: The Russians are sending an actress and director to shoot a movied named “Challenge.”]

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NASA Sets Coverage for Two Russian Spacewalks Outside Space Station

Expedition 65 flight engineer and Roscosmos cosmonaut Pyotr Dubrov, pictured during a spacewalk to perform work on the Pirs docking compartment. (Credits: NASA)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — Two Russian cosmonauts will venture outside the International Space Station Friday, Sept. 3, and Thursday, Sept. 9, to conduct the first pair of up to 11 spacewalks to prepare the new Nauka multipurpose laboratory module for operations in space. NASA will provide live coverage for both spacewalks, or extravehicular activities (EVA), on NASA Television, the NASA app, and agency’s website.

Coverage Friday, Sept. 3, will begin at 10 a.m. EDT, with the spacewalk scheduled to begin at approximately 10:35 a.m., and coverage Thursday, Sept. 9, begins at 10:30 a.m. with the spacewalk expected to begin about 11 a.m. The first spacewalk, called Russian EVA 49, could last up to seven hours, while the second spacewalk, Russian EVA 50, is scheduled to last about five hours.

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Russia Postpones Luna-25 Mission by Six Months to May 2022

Luna 25 undergoes acoustics tests. (Credit: RSC Energia/Roscosmos)

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — The launch of the Luna-25 automatic interplanetary station from the Vostochny Cosmodrome has been reconfirmed and is scheduled for the second possible launch window (the period when the spacecraft launched from the Earth, taking into account its design features and power-to-weight ratio, will optimally reach its destination along a given trajectory) in May 2022. 

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Soyuz-2.1b Launch Vehicle with 34 OneWeb Satellites Installed on Launch Pad at Baikonur

Soyuz rocket with OneWeb satellites aboard. (Credit: Yuzhny/Roscosmos)

BAIKONUR, Kazakhstan (Roscosmos PR) — The Soyuz-2.1b launch vehicle with the Fregat upper stage and 34 OneWeb communications satellites was rolled out from the Assembly and Test Facility on Monday. The launch vehicle was installed on the launch pad of the Baikonur Сosmodrome, the launch is scheduled for Thursday, August 19, at 22:23 UTC.

Pre-launch activities are carried out under the contracts of Glavkosmos (a subsidiary of Roscosmos) with the European launch services provider Arianespace (the company operates launches of OneWeb spacecraft with the use of the Soyuz launch vehicle), and the company Starsem. The joint team of the foreign customers and the representatives of Roscosmos enterprises: Progress Space Rocket Center, Lavochkin Association, TsENKI and Glavkosmos, is carrying out these works.

Currently, the specialists at the spaceport are performing the technical operations. The pre-launch tests of the Soyuz-2.1b systems are being conducted, and the interfaces between the on-board instruments and ground equipment are being checked.

Now, the fleet of the OneWeb satellites in the low Earth orbit amounts to 254 spacecraft, and hundreds more are to be launched. The upcoming launch should bring the number of OneWeb spacecraft in orbit to 288. OneWeb low Earth orbit satellites are designed to provide consumers on the ground with high-speed Internet.

Tunisia to Send Female Cosmonaut to Space on Russian Soyuz Spacecraft

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — On Friday, August 13, 2021, in the city of Moscow, a working meeting was held between Dmitry Rogozin, Director General of the Roscosmos State Corporation, and Muhammad Friha, Director General of the Tunisian company Telnet Holding, with the participation of Tarak bin Salem, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Tunisian Republic to the Russian Federation.

The President of the Republic of Tunisia, Kais Said, also took part in the meeting in a remote format, praising the Russian-Tunisian cooperation in the field of space and noting that Russia and Tunisia have great opportunities for the implementation of mutually beneficial joint projects.

During the meeting, the parties discussed the prospects for Russian-Tunisian cooperation in the field of manned space flights, in particular, the intentions of the Tunisian side to train and launch a woman cosmonaut into space.

The meeting resulted in the signing of a joint Memorandum of Understanding on bilateral cooperation in the field of manned space flights.

NASA Denies Accusation that Astronaut Suffered Mental Breakdown, Drilled Hole in Soyuz

Astronaut Serena Auñón-Chancellor loading experiment modules into an MVP. (Credit: NASA)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

NASA has denied a claim in a Russian publication that one of its astronauts, Serena Maria Auñón-Chancellor, might have suffered a mental breakdown while aboard the International Space Station (ISS) and drilled a hole in a Soyuz spacecraft in order to get back to Earth earlier than planned.

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A Video Look Inside the New Nauka Module on the Space Station

Video Caption: Roscosmos cosmonaut Oleg Novitsky, who is now aboard the International Space Station, published a video tour of the Nauka multipurpose laboratory module, which on July 29 docked to the ISS in normal mode. The footage shows how he, together with Peter Dubrov, opens the hatches into the new Russian module, after which they move into it. Then a small excursion through the “Science” itself begins.