Russia Graduates New Class of Cosmonauts

Cosmonaut class of 2020.. (Credit: Roscosmos)

MOSCOW (Roscomos PR) — Today, December 2, 2020, at the Yu.A. Gagarin, a meeting of the Interdepartmental Qualification Commission (ICQC) took place. By the decision of the commission, the qualification of a test cosmonaut was awarded to Konstantin Borisov, Alexander Gorbunov, Alexander Grebenkin, Alexei Zubritsky, Sergei Mikayev, Kirill Peskov and Oleg Platonov. They completed a two-year general space training course and successfully passed the State exam.

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Russian Space Facilities Director Fired in Continued Shakeup Related to Vostochny

Ruslan Mukhamedzhanov (Credit: Roscomsos)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

The previously reprimanded head of the Russian company that oversees Russia’s ground-based space infrastructure has been fired in a continuing shakeup related to schedule delays and alleged corruption at the Vostochny Cosmodrome.

The Board of Directors of the Center for Operation of Ground-Based Space Infrastructure Facilities (TsENKI) voted to relieve General Director Andrei Okhlopkov from his post beginning on Nov. 27. A month earlier, Roscosmos head Dmitry Rogozin had reprimanded him during a visit to Vostochmy.

Okhlopkov had been the head of TsENKI since June 2018. The board replaced him with Ruslan Mukhamedzhanov, a 20-year TsENKI employee who most recently headed up the company’s Barmin Research Institute of Launch Complexes.

TsENKI is responsible for the creation of ground space infrastructure and manages Russian cosmodromes. The company, which is part of Roscosmos, employs more than 12,000 people.

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Russian Space Systems Developing Advanced Technology for Managing Large Satellite Constellations

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — The Russian Space Systems Holding (RKS, part of the Roscosmos State Corporation) is developing a self-regulating technology for controlling multi-satellite orbital constellations with elements of artificial intelligence and minimal human participation. It will allow in the future to automate the control of satellite constellations of thousands of spacecraft.

A feature of the new technology will be the transition from the point control of individual spacecraft used today to the control of the systemic effect of the entire orbital constellation. In their development, DCS specialists propose to use the methods of coordinated self-organization – or homeostasis, which will effectively manage the orbital structure, its number, system resources, data transmission network and orbital computing network.

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Rules Published for Competing for Lead Role on ISS Feature Film

Credit: Roscosmos

Unclear if this is casting for or competition to Tom Cruise’s feature film to be shot next year.

Dmitry goes to Hollywood(ski) as Roscosmos boss snags himself a producer credit.

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — The competition has started, the winner of which will receive the main role in the first feature film shot in space. The motion picture with the tentative title “Challenge” is a joint project of the State Corporation Roscosmos, Channel One and the studio Yellow, Black and White. Filming will take place at the International Space Station in the fall of 2021.

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Celebrating 20 years of Human Research on the International Space Station

Expedition 1 crew in December 2000 about to eat oranges in the Zvezda module of the International Space Station. From left cosmonaut Yuri Gidzenko NASA astronaut William Shepherd and cosmonaut Sergei Krikalev. Expedition 1 was the first crew to live on the International Space Station. (Credit: NASA)

PARIS (ESA PR) — As the world celebrates two decades of humans in orbit around Earth on the International Space Station, this month’s science summary will look back not at four weeks of European research in space, but 20 years – with a focus on human research, naturally.

In November 2000 the first human entered the two-module International Space Station and ESA ran its first experiment just three months later.

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First Feature Film to Shoot Aboard ISS in Fall 2021

International Space Station (Credit: NASA/Roscosmos)

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — The leading role in the first feature film to be filmed in space will be played by a woman. The decision was made by the producers of the picture in the interests of the plot. 

Previously, the creators of the project planned to hold a competition among both men and women, having two scenarios, but in the process of further work and discussion, they came to the conclusion that the female image is certainly more advantageous for the picture.

The space drama with the tentative title “Challenge” is a joint project of the State Corporation Roscosmos, Channel One and the studio Yellow, Black and White.  Filming will take place at the International Space Station in the fall of 2021.

In the near future, Channel One will announce the start of an All-Russian open competition, following which the leading performer and her understudy will be selected.

It Took Teamwork to Make It to 20 Years

NASA astronauts (left to right) Christina Koch and Jessica Meir harvested Mizuna mustard greens on Thanksgiving day in 2019 inside the ESA (European Space Agency) laboratory module’s VEGGIE facility. (Credits: NASA)

By Danielle Sempsrott
NASA’s Kennedy Space Center

Building the Team

For 20 consecutive years, NASA has been sending humans to low-Earth orbit to live and work aboard the International Space Station, a unique microgravity laboratory that’s making new discoveries to this day. The technology used for LASIK eye surgery, air purifiers, and robotic arms that assist in medical surgeries are just a few of the things we benefit from here on Earth thanks to science performed on the orbiting laboratory. However, getting the space station into orbit and maintaining it is one of humanity’s biggest challenges – one that required people from all over the world working together to make it possible.

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Astronauts in Space to Discuss 20th Anniversary of International Space Station

Expedition 64 NASA astronaut Kate Rubins, left, and Russian cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov, center, and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov, right, of Roscosmos take a moment during the Soyuz MS-17 spacecraft fit check to pose for a photograph, Monday, Sept. 28, 2020, at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. (Credits: NASA)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — NASA astronaut Kate Rubins and cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov of the Russian space agency Roscosmos will discuss their mission and the upcoming 20th anniversary of continuous human presence aboard the International Space Station during an in-orbit news conference at 11:10 a.m. EDT Friday, Oct. 30. The news conference will air live on NASA TV and the agency’s website.

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Equipment Installation Begins for Angara Launch Complex at Vostochny Cosmodrome

VOSTOCHNY, RUSSIA (Roscosmos PR) — On Thursday, October 15, 2020, the installation of technological equipment began at the Angara launch site of the Vostochny cosmodrome. The Vostochny Space Center (a branch of the Center for Operation of Ground-Based Space Infrastructure Facilities, part of the Roscosmos State Corporation) transported large tanks for storing naphthyl from the storage site of the Industrial Construction and Operational Base to the construction site, where the contractor’s specialists began their installation. The tanks are part of the naphthyl filling system.

This is not the first installation of technological equipment at the launch site of the Angara space rocket complex. On December 25, 2019, specialists from TsENKI and contractors completed the installation of large-sized tanks for storing oxygen and nitrogen ahead of schedule. In ten days, in the most difficult weather conditions, 9 unique containers with a volume of 250 m3, each weighing 92 tons and a length of 36 meters, were transported and installed to the construction site.

Ground-processing equipment for the construction of the Angara launch complex has been supplied to the TsENKI branch – Vostochny Space Center since September 2018. Already at the East there are components of 18 systems.

For the storage of ground-processing equipment, the TsENKI branch prepared 5 storage locations on the territory of the Industrial Construction and Operational Base with an area of ​​more than 70,000 m2: these are open areas for storing bulky cargo, and warehouses with the required temperature and humidity conditions. A special site has also been prepared at the launch site itself for unloading and storing equipment.

Bridenstine Responds to Rogozin’s Complaint that Artemis Program is “Too American-centric”

Shared Standards are a Vital Part of Future Space Exploration

Statement by NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine

Jim Bridenstine (Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls)

I am in agreement with Director General Rogozin and Roscosmos that shared standards are a vital part of future space exploration. Specifically, one of the core principles of the Artemis Accords is interoperability. Via the Accords, the U.S. is proactively asking any partner nations that join us on the Artemis journey to focus on shared standards that will not just include docking, but data formatting and transfer, communications, navigation, environmental control and life support, and numerous other important systems and operations. The U.S. and its commercial and international partners look forward to working with the international community to ensure that interoperability and shared standards are the cornerstone of future space architectures, including the Gateway and other aspects of the Artemis program.

Additionally, we also believe in continuing the multilateral approach that has been successfully established by the International Space Station (ISS). The ISS has not only advanced technology, but helped us to learn how to effectively work together with a variety of cultures and countries. This is why we’re using the Intergovernmental Agreement (the IGA) which is the ISS’s legal framework for Gateway. The Gateway partners are agreeing to leverage the IGA for the outpost’s operations through a series of MOUs with participating nations. In order to build as broad a coalition as possible, we shared a draft of the proposed Gateway MOU with Roscosmos in November of last year, and we remain open and interested in receiving their feedback on the document and our general approach of utilizing the ISS’s IGA for the Gateway.

Rogozin Say NASA’s Artemis Plans “too American-centric,” See “Great Prospects” for Chinese Cooperation

Roscosmos head Dmitry Rogozin. (Credit: A. Savin)

Translated from Russian

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — Dmitry Rogozin, General Director of the State Corporation Roscosmos, took part in the 71st International Astronautical Congress, which takes place from 12 to 14 October 2020. Due to the epidemiological situation, the congress is being held online for the first time in 70 years of its existence. In his opening remarks, Dmitry Rogozin emphasized the importance of international cooperation in space.

“With regard to the International Space Station, we are negotiating with partners in the program to extend the life of the station until 2028 or 2030. There are various scenarios and options for the further development of the ISS. For our part, we are ready to consider any option offered by our partners and make a joint agreed decision, “the head of Roscosmos said, stressing that the State Corporation is firmly committed to guaranteeing the preservation of Russia’s place in low Earth orbit, regardless of the decisions made regarding service life of the ISS.

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NASA Television Coverage Set for Space Station Crew Launch Aboard Soyuz

Expedition 64 NASA astronaut Kate Rubins, left, and Russian cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov, center, and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov, right, of Roscosmos take a moment during the Soyuz MS-17 spacecraft fit check to pose for a photograph, Monday, Sept. 28, 2020, at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. (Credits: NASA)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — A trio of space travelers is poised to launch to the International Space Station from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Wednesday, Oct. 14. NASA Television will provide comprehensive coverage of launch and docking.

Kate Rubins of NASA and Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov of the Russian space agency Roscosmos are preparing to launch aboard the Soyuz MS-17 spacecraft Wednesday, Oct. 14, at 1:45 a.m. EDT (10:45 a.m. Kazakhstan time) on a two-orbit, three-hour journey to dock to the station’s Rassvet module for the start of a six-month mission on the orbital outpost.

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Contract Signed for Development of Amur Launch Vehicle Complex

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — State Corporation Roscosmos and Rocket and Space Center Progress (part of the State Corporation Roscosmos) on October 5, 2020 signed a state contract for preliminary design on the topic “Creation of a space rocket complex with a medium-class carrier rocket Amur at liquefied natural gas ”.

The aim of this work will be to design a new commercially oriented space rocket complex with a booster rocket operating on liquefied natural gas and liquid oxygen. The new rocket will have a reversible first stage and reusable liquid engines. Their development has already been underway at the Chemical Automatics Design Bureau (part of the NPO Energomash integrated structure of the Roscosmos State Corporation, Voronezh) since 2016.

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Cygnus Resupply Ship Attached to Station Unity Module

The Canadarm2 operated by astronaut Chris Cassidy moves toward the Cygnus resupply ship for its capture. (Credit: NASA TV)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — The Northrop Grumman Cygnus spacecraft was bolted into place on the International Space Station’s Earth-facing port of the Unity module at 8:01 a.m. EDT while the spacecraft were flying about 261 miles above the South Pacific Ocean.

At 5:32 a.m. EDT, Expedition 63 Commander Chris Cassidy of NASA used the International Space Station’s robotic Canadarm2 to grapple the Northrop Grumman Cygnus spacecraft as Ivan Vagner of Roscosmos monitored Cygnus systems during its approach. 

The spacecraft’s arrival brings close to 8,000 pounds of scientific investigations, technology demonstrations, commercial products, and other cargo. 

The Cygnus spacecraft for this resupply mission is named in honor of Kalpana Chawla, who made history at NASA as the first female astronaut of Indian descent. Chawla, who dedicated her life to understanding flight dynamics, lost her life during the STS-107 mission when the space shuttle Columbia disintegrated upon reentering Earth’s atmosphere

Cygnus will remain at the space station until its departure in mid-December. Following departure, the Saffire-V experiment will be conducted prior to Cygnus deorbit and disposing of several tons of trash during a fiery re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere approximately two weeks later.