Rokot Roars into Space on Next-to-last Flight

Rokot launch vehicle

A Rokot booster placed a Russian military satellite into orbit on Friday on its last mission for the Russian Ministry of Defence.

The booster lifted off from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in northern Russia and successfully placed the Geo-IK-2 No.13 military mapping satellite into orbit.

“The Rokot rocket’s launch was the last one under the Defense Ministry’s program. Another one is due for Roscosmos. The rocket’s operation is over because there are plans for using an advanced type of this vehicle,” Major-General Nikolai Nestechuk told Tass.

Nestechuk did not specify what advanced booster will be used in Rokot’s place.

Rokots are an adaptation of retired SS-19 Stiletto intercontinental ballistic missiles. The booster has launched 33 times with 30 successes, two failures and one partial failure since 1990.

Rokot was formerly marketed as a commercial launcher by Eurockot Launch Services, a joint venture of Russia’s Khrunichev and ArianeGroup. However, that program ended as Russia decided to phase out the booster.

The Eurockot website says the company’s activities are “under redefinition. We will start accepting launch requests in the near future.”

Soyuz MS-14 Docks with Space Station

Soyuz MS-14 spacecraft (Credit: Roscosmos)

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — On August 27, 2019, the Soyuz MS-14 spacecraft docked to the Zvezda module of the International Space Station. The crew is now preparing to open the hatches.

The approach was under control of the Mission Control Center specialists and Roscosmos cosmonauts. The crew is now preparing to open the hatches. The Soyuz MS-14 ship delivered about 670 kg of dry cargo to the ISS, including scientific and medical equipment, life support system components, as well as containers with food supplies, medication and personal hygiene items for the crewmembers.

The cargo delivered includes equipment for the Biofilm, Microvir, Magnetic 3D-bioprinter, UV-atmosphere, Cascade, as well as Tester experiments, during which the Skybot F-850 humanoid robot system will be tested.

To recap, the Soyuz-2.1a carrier rocket with the Soyuz MS-14 was launched on August 22, 2019. The launch was unpiloted and became the test flight for the carrier rocket, as previously it had launched into orbit only cargo ships and automatic spacecraft.

Soyuz MS-14 Docking Attempt Goes Awry; Second Attempt Set for Tuesday

Soyuz MS-14 spacecraft (Credit: Roscosmos)

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — The Soyuz MS-14 is the first piloted spacecraft, which was launched using the Soyuz-2.1a carrier rocket. In order to certify the system and ensure the safety of cosmonauts the launch on August, 22 was unpiloted and was successful without any issues.  This provides an opportunity to use this space complex for the crewed missions.

However, during the docking of the ship a fault occurred in the ISS equipment responsible for the safe approach and airlocking. Therefore the Mission Control Center decided to withdraw the ship to a safe distance to ensure the safety of the crew.  The RSC Energia specialists offered the State Commission the following Soyuz MS-14 redocking variant: 

  • On August, 26 Alexander Skvortsov crew will manually redock the Soyuz MS-13 piloted ship from the Zvezda module to the Small Research Module-2, where the Soyuz MS-14 was meant to dock.
  • On August, 27 the second automatic docking attempt will take place, with the Soyuz MS-14 docking to the Zvezda module.

 Presently the Soyuz MS-14 is in normal spin in the Sun awaiting the redocking. Tomorrow Alexander Skvortsov will take an additional training according to the normal procedure using the onboard simulator to redock the Soyuz MS-13. The situation is complicated, however is under control.

Video: Meet the Really Scary Looking Robot Russia is Sending to ISS

Video Caption: Roscosmos Space Corporation launches Soyuz missile to the International Space Station piloted for the first time in history by the humanoid robot Skybot F-850. F.E.D.O.R. chooses The Rockets track “Electric Delight” for his journey – on this official video.

ExoMars Parachute Fails in Test

ExoMars 2020 parachute deployment sequence (Credit: ESA)

KIRUNA, Sweden, 12 August 2019 (ESA PR) — As the second ExoMars mission, comprising a rover and surface science platform, progresses towards launch next year, teams continue to troubleshoot the parachute design following an unsuccessful high-altitude drop test last week.

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Proton-M Launches Russian Military Satellite

Proton_M launches Russian military satellite. (Credit: Roscosmos)

BAIKONUR, Kazakhstan, August 5, 2019 (Roscosmos PR) — The Proton-M heavy-class carrier rocket launched at 21:56 UTC on August 5, 2019 successfully put Russia’s Ministry of Defence spacecraft into the intended orbit.

The launch of the carrier rocket and injection of the satellite into orbit using the Briz-M booster went as planned. The spacecraft was taken under control by the Titov Main Test and Space Systems Control Centre of the Russian Space Forces.

Progress Supply Ship Arrives at International Space Station

Progress MS-12 approaches the International Space Station. Credit: Roscosmos)

BAIKONUR, Kazakhstan (Roscosmos PR) — On July 31, 2019, at 15:29 UTC the Progress MS-12 cargo vehicle successfully docked to the Pirs docking module of the International Space Station.

The total flight time from the start to the docking was 3 hours 19 minutes, making the spacecraft the fastest in the history of the flights to the ISS. The previous record was set by the previous Progress spacecraft, which got to the ISS in 3 hours 21 minutes.

Earlier today at 12:10 UTC the cargo vehicle lifted off as planned from the launching pad No. 31 at the Baikonur Cosmodrome. The autonomous flight was controlled by the Main Operative Group of the Russian segment of the ISS at the Korolyov-based Mission Control Center. Roscosmos cosmonauts ISS crew commander Alexey Ovchinin and flight engineer Alexander Skvortsov controlled the berthing process from ISS board.

The Progress MS-12 cargo vehicle delivered to the ISS 1.2 tons of dry cargo, over 1 ton of propellant in the refueling tanks, 420 kilograms of water in the Rodnik system tanks, as well as 50 kilograms of compressed gas in the tanks.

The cargo section also included scientific equipment, life support system components, as well as containers with food supplies, clothing, medication and personal hygiene items for the crew members.

The two-orbit approach scheme was developed by Energiya corporation specialists (part of Roscosmos State Corporation) and has already been used twice to launch cargo spacecraft: Progress MS-09 in July 2018 and Progress MS-11 in April 2019.

NASA to Broadcast Launch, Arrival of Astronaut Andrew Morgan at Space Station

At the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, Expedition 60 crew members Drew Morgan of NASA, Alexander Skvortsov of the Russian space agency Roscosmos and Luca Parmitano of ESA (European Space Agency) pose for pictures July 5, 2019, in front of their Soyuz MS-13 spacecraft during prelaunch preparations. They will launch July 20, 2019 from Baikonur for their mission on the International Space Station. (Credits: Roscosmos/Andrey Shelepin)

BAIKONUR, Kazakhstan (NASA PR) — A multinational crew of space travelers, including NASA astronaut Andrew Morgan, is scheduled to arrive at the International Space Station on Saturday, July 20 – the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11’s historic landing on the Moon. NASA Television and the agency’s website will provide live coverage of the crew’s launch and arrival.

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New ISS Crew Prepares to Launch on 50th Anniversary of Apollo 11 Moon Landing

Expedition 60 crewmembers NASA’s Andrew Morgan of NASA, Roscosmos’Alexander Skvortsov and ESA’s Luca Parmitano of the European Space Agency pose on 5 July in front of a mural bearing the insignia of the 1975 Apollo-Soyuz mission. (Credit: GCTC–Andrey Shelepin)

BAIKONUR, Kazakhstan (ESA PR) — The next astronauts to join the International Space Station are on their marks for their launch to Earth’s orbit on 20 July, a date that also commemorates the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing.

ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano, Roscomos’ Alexander Skvortsov and NASA’s Andrew Morgan arrived last week at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan for an intense schedule of pre-launch activities.

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Roscosmos Moves Toward Reusable Boosters, Aims for the Moon

Roscosmos boss Dmitry Rogozin meets with Russia’s boss of bosses, President Vladimir Putin. (Credit: Russian President’s Office)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

It’s been a while since we’ve checked in with Dmitry Rogozin and his team over at Roscosmos. This has been partly due to all the awesome things that are happening elsewhere that keep me busy. And partly due to the fact that Russia’s plans seem to be continuing evolving due to budget cuts to the point to where I’m never quite sure what exactly to take seriously.

The question usually is: yeah, that sounds great, but is there any money for this? I’m lacking in good sources there. And Russian media usually don’t provide enough insights into the program to allow for informed judgments.

With that caveat in mind. TASS has provided another one of its periodic bursts of updates about what Rogozin and company have been up to lately. They are making progress on reusable launch vehicles, a super-heavy booster, a spacecraft that will replace Soyuz, and plans sending cosmonauts and robots to the moon.

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The Return of Satan: Roscosmos Eyes SS-18 Missiles as Satellite Launchers Again

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

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Roscosmos CEO Dmitry Rogozin said the state space corporation is once again eyeing the use of converted SS-18 Satan (aka, R-36M2 Voyevoda) intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) for small satellite launches, TASS reports.

“The matter is now being discussed, first of all with the Defense Ministry, because they are the number one here,” Rogozin said on Saturday, answering to a question about the possibility of converting Voyevoda ICBMs.

He said it would be “wrong to simply scrap” this “beautiful, legendary ICBM.”

“We could easily refit it for projects related to putting small spacecraft to civilian orbits. The matter is being discussed. This tactics should be applied to all combat missiles when they are being removed from combat duty, including Sarmat,” he said.

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ISRO, Glavkosmos Sign Agreement for Training Indian Astronauts

MOSCOW (Glavkosmos PR) — On June 27, 2019, First deputy Director General of Glavkosmos (part of Roscosmos State Corporation) Natalia Lokteva and Director of Human Space Flight Centre (HSFC) of Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO)Dr. S.Unnikrishnan Nair signed a contract for selection support, medical examination and space training of Indian astronauts.

Glavkosmos will render to HSFC services on consulting support of selection of candidates for the Indian astronauts, providing medical examination of the candidates for access to space flight related training program and providing space flight related training for the Indian astronauts selected on the basis of the medical examination.

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ExoMars: Progress and Challenges

ExoMars 2020 parachute deployment sequence (Credit: ESA)

TURIN, Italy, 28 June 2019  (ESA PR) — The full parachute system that will help deliver the ExoMars rover and a surface science platform to the martian surface has completed a full-scale high-altitude deployment sequence test, although unexpected damage to the main parachutes occurred.

Meanwhile, the main elements of the descent module hardware, including the heat shield that will protect the lander as it enters the atmosphere of Mars, have been delivered to Thales Alenia Space in Turin, Italy, this week.

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Report: Soyuz Suffered Anomaly While Returning to Earth

NASA astronaut Anne McClain is assisted out of the Soyuz MS-11 that returned her and crewmates Oleg Kononenko of the Russian space agency Roscosmos and David Saint-Jacques of the Canadian Space Agency back to Earth on June 24, 2019, landing in a remote area near Zhezkazgan, Kazakhstan, after 204 days aboard the International Space Station. (Credits: NASA/Bill Ingalls)

RussianSpaceWeb.com reports that the Soyuz returning three astronauts back from a six-months stay aboard the International Space System suffered an anomaly. The problem occurred after the Soyuz spacecraft fired its main SKD engine in a deorbit maneuver.

Moments after the completion of the braking maneuver, the emergency signal was heard inside the Descent Module and the communications between the crew and mission control discussed a failure of the first manifold in the integrated propulsion system of the Soyuz spacecraft and the switch to the second manifold. Kononenko first reported K1B (Manifold DPO-B) emergency at 05:02:54 Moscow Time and subsequently confirmed a switch to the second manifold. NASA later confirmed the problem, but did not provide any details.

Manifod DPO-B provides fuel to 12 thrusters that steer the Soyuz spacecraft. It is not clear how serious the failure was, or whether it has occurred on previous missions.

RussianSpaceWeb.com reported that the Soyuz subsequently split into the separate modules as planned. The habitation module carrying Russian Commander Oleg Kononenko, American Anne McClain and Canadian David Saint-Jacques reentered the atmosphere and touched down safely in Kazakhstan.











Russians Raise $87 Million to Upgrade Baikonur, Save Gagarin Launch Complex

Yuti Gagarin

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), a Russia’s sovereign wealth fund, in partnership with Middle East investors, GK Launch Services company and with the support of Roscosmos State Corporation, announces an investment of $87 million in upgrading the infrastructure of the Baikonur Cosmodrome. The relevant documents have been signed today at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.

The project intends to upgrade Launch Site 1 (Gagarin’s Start) of the Cosmodrome with its following operation for Soyuz-2 rocket launches.

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