Russia Launches Arktika-M Meteorological Satellite to Monitor the Arctic

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — This morning, February 28, 2021 at 09:55:01 Moscow time, a successful launch of the Soyuz-2.1b carrier rocket with the Fregat upper stage and the Arktika-M spacecraft took place from the launch pad No. 31 of the Baikonur cosmodrome No. 1 on board. After 562 seconds, according to the processed telemetry information, the upper stage and payload separated from the third stage of the carrier in the normal mode.

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Astroscale ELSA-d Orbital Debris Removal Satellite Prepared for Launch From Baikonur

ELSA-d satellite prepared for launch in a cleanroom at Baikonur Cosmodrome. (Credit: Roscosmos)

BAIKONUR COSMODROME (Roscosmos PR) — The developer of the ELSA-d spacecraft, Astroscale, continues to work on site No. 92 of the Baikonur cosmodrome in preparation for the upcoming launch. At the moment, the software, solar batteries and their opening mechanisms have been successfully tested, the on-board batteries are charged, the electrical checks of the apparatus have been completed.

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Russia’s Luna-25 Moon Lander Undergoes Acoustic Tests

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

KOROLYOV, Russia (Roscosmos PR) — In the Rocket and Space Corporation Energia named after S.P. Korolev (part of the State Corporation “Roscosmos”), acoustic tests of the lander of the automatic interplanetary station “Luna-25”, created within the framework of the “Luna-Glob” project, were carried out for the study and practical use of the natural satellite of the Earth and the lunar space. The tests were carried out by order of the S.A. Lavochkin (part of Roscosmos), the developer of this spacecraft.

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Roscosmos Approves Space Instrumentation Industry Transformation Program

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — Roscosmos Supervisory Board approved the program of strategic transformations of space instrument-making enterprises and decided to form space instrument-making holding based on the Russian Space Systems company (RSS, part of Roscosmos). Being at the national economy level these decisions determine the future image of one of the most important components the Russian rocket and space industry and are aimed at maintaining and progressive development of the scientific, technological, production and innovative potential of space instrument-making enterprises.

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Rogozin Says 29 Launches, Lunar Lander & New ISS Modules on the Manifest for 2021

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

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — General Director of the Roscosmos State Corporation for Space Activities Dmitry Rogozin reported to President Vladimir Putin on the corporation’s performance in 2020 and plans for the near term.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Rogozin, let us have an in-depth discussion on the corporation’s performance in 2020. The issues we will discuss include carrier rocket launches, the state of the orbital group, your plans, fundamental space research, and, of course, the financial indicators. Please, go ahead. 

General Director of Roscosmos Dmitry Rogozin: Mr. President, last year we posted good results overall. For a second year running since 1993, there were no accidents. This is certainly a positive indicator – I hope we will continue in the same manner – of improved discipline in the sector as a whole and the reliability of our rocket and space technology.

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Russian Progress Cargo Craft Docks to Station

Progress 77 approaches the International Space Station. (Credit: Roscosmos website)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — An uncrewed Russian Progress 77 spacecraft arrived at the International Space Station’s Pirs docking compartment on the station’s Russian segment at 1:27 a.m. EST, two days after lifting off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan Sunday, Feb. 14 at 11:45 p.m. EST (9:45 a.m. Monday, Feb. 15, Baikonur time). The spacecraft were flying over Argentina at the time of docking.

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NIIMash Looks to Develop Single-stage-to-orbit Launcher

MOSCOW (ROSCOSMOS PR) — The management of the Scientific Research Institute of Mechanical Engineering (NIIMash, part of the Roscosmos State Corporation) and the South Ural State University discussed issues of expanding cooperation on the creation of a new space complex aimed at protecting the Earth from falling space bodies. Today Scientists from the State Rocket Center named after V.I. Academician V.P. Makeev together with engineers from SUSU and NIIMash.

At present, SUSU is studying the issues of the possibility of creating a reusable single-stage space launch vehicle, the project of which was proposed by the State Rocket Center named after Academician V.P. Makeeva (part of the Roscosmos State Corporation). The launch vehicle will deliver up to seven tons of payload to low-earth orbit. The rocket service time will be only 24 hours.

Such a breakthrough can only be achieved by fundamentally new technical solutions. One of them is aimed at providing a significant increase in the efficiency of the propulsion system. NIIMash specialists will be working on this solution; currently, a project is being developed to prepare and conduct a corresponding experiment.

The space complex project is being implemented by the Ural interregional scientific and educational center of the world level “Advanced industrial technologies and materials”. It was created to combine the potentials of educational and scientific organizations of the Sverdlovsk, Chelyabinsk and Kurgan regions. Scientists and engineers plan to test the first prototype of the launch vehicle in 2028.

Russia Launches Progress Resupply Ship

BAIKONUR COSMODROME, Kazakhstan (Roscosmos PR) — In accordance with the program of flights to the International Space Station, today, February 15, 2021, at 07:45:05 Moscow time, a successful launch of the Soyuz-2.1a launch vehicle with a transport cargo was performed from the launcher No. 6 of the site No. 31 of the Baikonur cosmodrome by the Progress MS-16 spacecraft. According to the received telemetry information, after 8 minutes and 48 seconds, the ship’s normal separation from the third stage of the carrier was recorded, solar panels and antennas were revealed.

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ESA Mars Orbiters Support NASA Perseverance Landing

ESA’s Trace Gas Orbiter will relay data from NASA’s Perseverance rover to ground stations on Earth. (Credit: ESA)
  • On 18 February, NASA’s Mars 2020 Perseverance rover will land on the Red Planet
  • ESA’s Mars orbiters – the ESA-Roscosmos ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) and Mars Express – are supporting the landing
  • TGO will relay important data from Perseverance to Earth as soon as four hours after landing
  • Mars Express is monitoring the local conditions at the landing site, Jezero Crater
  • Both ESA orbiters are providing context images of the region
  • TGO will attempt to image the rover in the weeks after landing

NASA’s Mars 2020 Perseverance rover is due to land on the Red Planet at 21:43 CET on 18 February 2021. In order to communicate with Earth from its landing site in Jezero Crater, the rover will rely on spacecraft orbiting Mars to relay the images and other data it collects back to Earth and pass on the commands from engineers beamed across space in the other direction.

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NASA Weighs Options for Additional Crew Transportation for Spring Soyuz Mission to Space Station

Soyuz MS-11 spacecraft docking at the International Space Station. (Credit: NASA)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — A rotating crew of NASA and international astronauts have called the International Space Station home for more than 20 years. To ensure a consistent U.S. presence on the space station through the years, NASA has implemented safeguards to ensure crew transportation is always available. 

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Orbital Space Tourism is Back, Baby! And on Steroids

The Axiom Space Ax-1 crew: former NASA astronaut Michael Lopez-Alegria, Canadian businessman Mark Pathy, American investor Larry Connor, and Israeli businessman Eytan Stibbe. (Credit: Axiom Space)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

NewSpacers of the world, rejoice! After a 12-year gap, orbital space tourism is back! And it’s bigger and more expensive than ever. The only bad news: Maverick will stay grounded — at least for now.

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Roscosmos Selects Four Cosmonaut Candidates

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — The Interdepartmental Commission (IAC) for the selection of cosmonauts and their appointment to the crews of manned spacecraft and stations within the framework of an open competition for the selection of candidates for cosmonauts of the Russian Federation (the competition started in 2019) decided to recommend the FSBI “Research Institute of the CTC named after Yu.A. Gagarin” appoint four people to the positions of test cosmonaut candidates of the Roscosmos Cosmonaut Corps. The decision came into force on January 27, 2021.

The cosmonaut profession will be mastered by Sergey Irtuganov, Alexander Kolyabin, Sergey Teteryatnikov and Harutyun Kiviryan. In the near future they will start studying the General Space Training (GST) course, which will take place over two years.

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Testing of New Russian Nauka Space Station Module Continues

Fitting a radiator for the cooling system and installation of devices. (Credit: Yuzhny Space Center/Roscosmos)

BAIKONUR, Kazakhstan (Roscomos PR) — In accordance with the prelaunch preparation schedule, factory control tests of the Nauka module continue in the assembly and test building of site No. 254 of the Baikonur cosmodrome.  Its launch to the Russian segment of the International Space Station (ISS) is scheduled for 2021 using the Proton-M launch vehicle.

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Russia Achieves Clean Launch Record for Second Year in Row

Soyuz-2 rocket lifts off from the Vostochny Cosmodrome with 36 OneWeb satellites. (Credit: Arianespace)

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — The outgoing year 2020 has become a difficult test for the entire world marked by the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Many world economic players have encountered objective difficulties in the implementation of previously outlined plans.

Unfortunately, Roscosmos also had to correct a number of plans, including those related to launch activities. Nevertheless, Roscosmos management put the quality of production and the safety of personnel working at the Russian rocket and space industry enterprises and cosmodromes at the forefront.

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Roscosmos, Gazprom Enhance Cooperation in Satellite Systems Creation and Usage

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — Roscosmos First Deputy Director General Yuri Urlichich and PJSC Gazprom Chairman of the Board held a meeting to discuss the spacecraft assembly production construction process in Moscow region currently lead by Gazprom, as well as the issue of Roscosmos entering LLC Gazprom SPKA share capital (project operator company).

The plant will manufacture civil spacecraft for Gazprom and other customers. These include Yamal communication satellites and SMOTR system Earth remote sensing optical satellites. Moreover, the plant will be capable of assembly and testing mass-produced smaller satellites to be used for the perspective Sfera program implemented by Roscosmos.

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