Rogozin Crows About a Year Without an Anomaly

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

Roscosmos Director General Dmitry Rogozin is taking a bow for the state corporation’s successful 2019 launch campaign, which was the first since 2003 to not record a single partial or complete failure.

An Interfax report highlighted one under appreciated advantage of not losing satellites year after year.

Rogozin said the year 2019 was not an easy one for global aerospace insurers from the angle of indemnities. European insurers were affected by the failed launch of the Vega satellite in summer 2019, their U.S. colleagues incurred losses from incidents involving low-orbit crewed ships, and there were also unsuccessful missions in China.

Rogozin assured Russian insurers and Western reinsurance companies that Roscosmos “will stay committed to the policy of transparency” in their interaction.

For instance, Roscosmos will be holding traditional annual meetings with aerospace insurers, and three international meetings will be arranged abroad in 2020. The developing dialogue between Roscosmos and the insurers “will allow them to discuss a package insurance agreement,” Rogozin said.

He invited insurers to visit Vostochny Cosmodrome in the middle of this spring.

Alexander Skvortsov Recounts Recently Completed ISS Mission

Alexander Skvortsov at a post-flight news conference in February 2020. (Credit: Roscosmos)

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexander Skvortsov gave his post-flight conference on February 10, 2020 at Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center (GCTC). After a 200-day long mission to the International Space Station, on February 6, 2020 he successfully returned to Earth.

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Indian Astronaut Candidates Start Training in Russia

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — This Monday Gagarin Research & Test Cosmonaut Training Center (GCTC) has started the planned training program of Indian candidates for a spaceflight under the contract between Glavkosmos, JSC (part of the State Space Corporation Roscosmos) and the Human Spaceflight Centre of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).

After thorough selection, the four Indian Air Force fighter pilots became the ISRO candidates for the spaceflight.

The 12-month training program includes comprehensive and biomedical training of the Indian candidates, which will be combined with regular physical practices. In addition, they will study in detail the systems of the Soyuz manned spaceship, as well as they will be trained in short-term weightlessness mode aboard the special Il-76MDK aircraft.

The Indian pilots will also be trained to act correctly in case of abnormal landing of the manned spaceship descent module in various climate and geographic zones. The most part of the training will take place at the GCTC facilities.

The contract for training of the Indian candidates for a spaceflight between Gavkosmos and the Human Spaceflight Centre of the Indian Space Research Organisation was signed on June 27, 2019. The document implies the support of Glavkosmos in selection of candidates, their medical examination, and various aspects of space training.

2020: Four Spaceships & the End of America’s Cosmic Groundhog Day

Blue Origin’s New Shepard reusable, suborbital rocket. (Credits: Blue Origin)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

The clock struck midnight on Jan. 1 amid raucous celebrations around the world. The arrival of a new year and decade merely confirmed what had been clear for months: 2019 was not the breakthrough year for getting humans off the planet.

Neither Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic and Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin followed through on long-standing promises to fly paying passengers on suborbital joyrides. An era of commercial space tourism that seemed so close that October day in 2004 when Brian Binnie guided SpaceShipOne to a landing at the Mojave Air and Space Port quietly slipped into yet another year.

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ESA Astronaut Luca Parmitano Returns to Earth

Video Caption: ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano touched down in the Kazakh Steppe at 09:12 GMT (10:12 CET), 6 February 2020 after his second six-month mission on the International Space Station. Luca returned to Earth in the Russian Soyuz MS-13 spacecraft alongside US astronaut Christina Koch and Russian cosmonaut Alexander Skvortsov.

During his second mission, known as ‘Beyond’, Luca served as the third European and first ever Italian in command of the International Space Station. Before leaving the Station, he handed this role over to Russian cosmonaut Oleg Skripocha in a traditional change of command ceremony.

While in orbit, Luca also performed four complex spacewalks to maintain the cosmic-ray-detecting Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer AMS-02, remotely operated a rock-collecting rover in the Netherlands, supported more than 50 European and over 200 international experiments, gained the European record for longest cumulative spacewalking time, and publicly shared countless images as he warned of the challenges facing our planet.

Luca will now return to ESA’s Astronaut Centre in Cologne, Germany where he will continue to work with researchers to gather baseline data and undertake an extensive programme of rehabilitation supported by ESA experts. The findings of this research and Luca’s work in space will help shape the future of space exploration and enhance technological developments on Earth.

Record-Setting NASA Astronaut, Crewmates Return from Space Station

NASA astronaut Christina Koch is helped out of the Soyuz MS-13 spacecraft just minutes after she, Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexander Skvortsov, and ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano, landed their Soyuz MS-13 capsule on Thursday, Feb. 6, 2020. (Credits: NASA/Bill Ingalls)

Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan (NASA PR) — After setting a record for the longest single spaceflight in history by a woman, NASA astronaut Christina Koch returned to Earth Thursday, along with Soyuz Commander Alexander Skvortsov of the Russian space agency Roscosmos and Luca Parmitano of ESA (European Space Agency).

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NASA Astronaut’s Record-Setting Mission Helps Scientists for Future Missions

Christina Koch aboard the International Space Station. (Credit: NASA)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — NASA astronaut Christina Koch is set to return to Earth on Thursday, Feb. 6, after 328 days living and working aboard the International Space Station. Her mission is the longest single spaceflight by any woman, which is helping scientists gather data for future missions to the Moon and Mars.

NASA TV Coverage https://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/nasatv/index.html#public

  • Wed., Feb. 5, 9 p.m. EST: Expedition 61 Crew Farewell and Soyuz Hatch Closure
  • Thurs., Feb. 6, 12:15 a.m., 3 a.m. EST: Expedition 61 Soyuz Undocking, Deorbit Burn and Landing Coverage
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GAO: Accelerating Commercial Crew Schedule Poses Risks

Credit: NASA

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

NASA’s plan to move up the start of operational crew missions to the International Space Station (ISS) by Boeing and SpaceX could pose serious safety risks, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

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NPO Energomash, Skolkovo Launch Business Accelerator

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — NPO Energomash (part of Roscosmos) and Skolkovo Foundation launch a business accelerator aimed at searching perspective technological projects for Energomash and rocket engine manufacturing integrated structure. The launch event included participants from NPO Energomash management, Skolkovo Foundation and representatives of smaller innovative companies. Energomash and Skolkovo management spoke about the aims and tasks of the business accelerator, as well as the way to select projects will be conducted.

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ExoMars 2020 Aerodynamic Shield Flight Sample Delivered to ESA

Mars 2020 shield (Credit: Roscosmos)

CANNES (Roscosmos PR) — ExoMars-2020 aerodynamic shield flight sample delivered from NPO Lavochkin (part of Roscosmos) to Thales Alenia Space (Cannes, France).

The TASinF specialists unpacked the shield, cleaned and placed it in the clean area ISO7, performed all the necessary equipment checks. At the moment, preparatory works to install the aerodynamic shield are underway to conduct further joint tests as part of the spacecraft.

ExoMars-2020 mission is the second stage of Roscosmos largest international project together with the European Space Agency to explore Mars surface and subsurface in the area next to the landing site, geological research and searching for traces of possible life existence on the planet. The spacecraft is to open a new stage in space exploration for the world scientific community.

NPO Lavochkin acts as the general contractor and works coordinator from the Russian side, as well as designer and manufacturer of the descent module with the landing platform. The mission is scheduled for launch in the window between July 26 – August 13, 2020.

ExoMars Rover Completes Environmental Tests

ExoMars rover undergoing environmental testing. (Credit: Airbus)

TOULOUSE, France (ESA PR) — The Rosalind Franklin rover of the joint ESA-Roscosmos ExoMars mission completed a series of environmental tests at the end of 2019 at Airbus, Toulouse, France. This included final thermal and vacuum tests where the Rover is heated and cooled to simulate the temperatures of its journey through space and on the surface of Mars.

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Roscosmos Lays Out Plans to Transition to Angara Boosters

Inaugural Angara A5 launch (Credit: Khrunichev)

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — The management of the State Corporation “Roscosmos” considers the launch of production of the Angara launch vehicles at the Omsk “POLET” Production Association (a branch of the Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center and a part of Roscosmos) is a priority task for the Corporation.

Tight control is exercised over this year’s production of the first batch of the Angara LVs, as well as over their transfer to the customer – the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation. Until the reconstruction of the POLET plant is completed, the Khrunichev Center plans to produce two Angara-A5 heavy launch vehicles and one Angara-1.2 light LV per year.

In view of that, during the transition period, payload orbiting will be executed using partially the Proton-M launch vehicle, and partially the new Angara LVs. The target production capacity of Angara LVs will be eight heavy LVs and two light LVs per year.

Roscosmos Allocates More Funding for Oryol Spacecraft Development

Ergonomic testing has been conducted for the new Oryol spacecraft. (Credit: RSC Energia)

Sputnik reports that Roscosmos will devote more than 8 billion rubles ($130.7 million) in additional funding for development of the Oryol (Eagle) beginning next year.

The contract with Energia would fund the construction of two Oryol spacecraft. They are designed to replace the Soyuz transport that has been in use since 1967 and allow cosmonauts to perform lunar and deep space missions. The spacecraft was formerly known as Federatsiya (Federation).

An Oryol mockup would be launched on the Angara A5 heavy booster in 2023, Sputnik reported. A flight test to the International Space Station is planned for 2025, followed by a lunar flyby in 2029 and a landing on the surface the following year.

The additional funding will also be used for the testing of the Yenisei super-heavy booster in 2028, Sputnik said.

China Using Space to Further Geopolitical Goals

Completing our look at the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission’s 2019 Report to Congress, we examine how China is using its space program to achieve the nation’s geopolitical and economic goals. [Full Report]

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

China is using its growing space program to achieve a range of geopolitical and economic goals, including attracting partners for its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), improving economic and political ties with other countries, and deepening others’ reliance on its space systems and data services.

“Beijing views its space program as key to elevating its leadership profile in international space cooperation, including through BRI, and establishing a dominant position in the commercial space industry,” according to the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission’s 2019 Report to Congress.

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