Law enforcement officials in Moscow are investigating the stabbing death in jail of a former top Roscosmos official who was awaiting trial on charges of embezzlement, Tass reports.
Vladimir Yevdokimov was found dead in a cell he shared with 11 other inmates from two stab wounds in the heart and one in the neck. Officials say they are investigating the death as a murder, but they have not ruled out suicide.
Yevdokimov formerly headed up the space agency’s quality and reliability control efforts. He was arrested in December on charges of embezzling 200 million rubles ($3.5 million) from the MIG Russian Aircraft Corporation.
Yevdokimov and an alleged accomplice denied the charge.
HOUSTON (NASA PR) — The unpiloted Russian Progress 66 launched at 12:58 a.m. Wednesday (11:58 a.m. Baikonur time) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. It is now orbiting the planet on course for the International Space Station
The vehicle will deliver almost three tons of food, fuel and supplies to the Expedition 50 crew.
The spacecraft is set to dock to the Pirs docking compartment at 3:34 a.m. Friday, Feb. 24. NASA TV coverage of rendezvous and docking will begin at 2:45 a.m. Progress 66 will remain docked at the station for almost four months before departing in June for its deorbit into Earth’s atmosphere.
This was the first launch of a Progress cargo ship from Baikonur since the Progress 65 supply craft was lost Dec. 1, 2016.
Rocket and Space Corporation (RSC) Energia (a part of Roscosmos) has plans to involve the leading Russian scientific centers and universities into a project to launch small Cubesat satellites using cargo transportation spacecraft Progress MS.
The project calls for installation of special containers for insertion of small spacecraft into their target orbit on the outer surface of a cargo spacecraft. These might be commercial, educational or applied satellites with the size of up to 6U. Cargo spacecraft Progress MS are launched on a regular basis three times a year within the framework of logistics support for the International Space Station (ISS).
Last year was not a particularly good one for the Russian space program.
The country fell behind China and the United States in launches. Its 19 attempts were the lowest in years. The Proton rocket flew only three times before being ground for more than half a year due to a launch anomaly. In December, a Soyuz malfunction sent a Progress cargo ship crashing back into Earth’s atmosphere — the latest in a long string of failures going back to 2009.
MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) –Roscosmos emergency committee have reviewed investigation results of the contingency with Soyuz-U and cargo Progress MS-04 December launch from the Baikonur Space Center.
The cause of the accident was off-nominal mechanical separation of the launch vehicle’s third stage and the cargo spacecraft. The members of the emergency committee established the following:
The most likely cause of the contigency was the third stage liquid oxygen tank opening as a result of exposure of 11D55 engine destruction elements that occurred in result of fire and further destruction of the oxidizer compound pump.
The cause of the oxidizer compound pump’s fire could be possible in case of foreign particles entry into the pump cavity or possible violation 11D55 engine assembly technology.
The plan of priority actions to ensure the next Progress MS-05 secure launch will be submitted in the near future.
Roscosmos COO Vladimir Evdokimov has been arrested Thursday on fraud charges. He has been accused of stealing over $3 Mln, a RIA Novosti correspondent reported from the court proceedings on Thursday.
On Thursday, Moscow’s Basmanny district court arrested Roscosmos COO Vladimir Evdokimov for two months until January 30. “Meet the investigator’s request and implement a measure of restraint in the form of detention,” judge Artur Karpov said when announcing the court’s decision.
Evdokimov faces up to 10 years of imprisonment under large scale fraud charges if found guilty. The investigation has found that Evdokimov has committed fraud, stealing more than $3 million from the Russian Aircraft Corporation MiG.
The investigator said that Evdokimov should be put into a pre-detention center as he could flee the country to hide elsewhere like other defendants in this case have done.
Evdokimov himself said that he does not admit his guilt. He pointed out that he provide his testimony and is willing to cooperate with the investigation.
The Russian space program has been plagued by repeated corruption scandals and numerous launch failures in recent years. On Thursday, a Progress supply ship bound for the International Space Station burned up in the atmosphere after its Soyuz booster failed.
In another four days, the Russians would have gone a full year without losing a spacecraft in a launch mishap. That’s something that hasn’t happened since 2009-10. In another 30 days, they would have gone an entire calendar year without a launch failure.
The loss of the Progress 65 cargo ship during its launch aboard a Soyuz-U rocket today marks the latest in a string of failures stretching back more than seven years. Since May 2009, Russia has suffered 13 launch failures and four partial failures involving its stable of satellite boosters. (See table below)
Mission Update From NASA Dec. 1, 2016 — 11:29 a.m. EST
Launch of the ISS Progress 65 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan occurred at 9:51 a.m. EST (8:51 p.m. Baikonur time). An anomaly occurred sometime during the third stage operation. As we get updates from Roscosmos, we will provide them.
Our astronauts and the Russian cosmonauts are safe aboard the station. Consumables aboard the station are at good levels.
An H-II Transfer Vehicle (HTV)-6 from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) is scheduled to launch to the space station on Friday, Dec. 9.
To join the online conversation about the International Space Station and Progress 65 on Twitter, follow @Space_Station. To learn more about all the ways to connect and collaborate with NASA, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/connect.
Editor’s Note, 9:32 a.m. PST: Reliable Twitter reports say Mission Control in Houston has informed International Space Station Commander Shane Kimbrough that the launch of the Progress supply ship has failed. The Russians have sent their Progress team home for the day and are forming a state commission to investigate the failure.
Editor’s Note, 9:11 a.m. PST: It appears the third stage may have cut out early, which would have put Progress in lower than planned orbit. There are unconfirmed social media reports from Russia of a large explosion in the sky, a large bang and falling debris, so Progress may have reentered the atmosphere. Let me stress these are unconfirmed reports at this time.
BAIKONUR, Kazakhstan (NASA PR) — Three crew members representing the United States, Russia and France are on their way to the International Space Station after launching from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 3:20 p.m. EST Thursday, Nov. 17 (2:20 a.m. Nov. 18, Baikonur time).
The Soyuz spacecraft carrying Peggy Whitson of NASA, Oleg Novitskiy of Roscosmos and Thomas Pesquet of ESA (European Space Agency), is scheduled to dock with the space station’s Rassvet module at 5:01 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 19. NASA TV coverage of docking will begin at 4:15 p.m. Hatches are scheduled to open about 7:35 p.m., with NASA TV coverage starting at 6:45 p.m.
BAIKONUR, Kazakhstan (ESA PR) — On Thursday, ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet, NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson and Roscosmos commander Oleg Novitsky will take a lift to the top of this 50 m-tall rocket, climb aboard and wait for the trip of a lifetime. At 20:20 GMT the engines will ignite and propel the trio 1640 km in less than 10 minutes – averaging a 50 km/h increase every second for nine minutes.
HOUSTON (NASA PR) — NASA astronaut and Expedition 49 crew member Kate Rubins, who became the first person to sequence DNA in space, returned to Earth Saturday after a successful mission aboard the International Space Station.
Rubins and her crewmates Anatoly Ivanishin of the Russian space agency Roscosmos and Takuya Onishi of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, touched down in their Soyuz MS-01 at 11:58 p.m. EDT (9:58 a.m. Oct. 30, Kazakhstan time) southeast of the remote town of Dzhezkazgan in Kazakhstan.
HOUSTON (NASA PR) — Three crew members on the International Space Station are scheduled to depart the orbital outpost Saturday, Oct. 29, with coverage of activities beginning the day before on NASA Television and the agency’s website.
Expedition 49 Commander Anatoly Ivanishin of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, and Flight Engineers Kate Rubins of NASA and Takuya Onishi of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, will undock their Soyuz spacecraft from the space station at 8:37 p.m. EDT Saturday and land in Kazakhstan at 11:59 p.m. (9:59 a.m. Oct. 30, Kazakhstan time).