Baikonur Continues to Prepare New ISS Module for Launch

BAIKONUR COSMODROME, Kazakhstan (Roscosmos PR) — At the Baikonur Cosmodrome, the next stage of preparation of the “Science” module for launch to the International Space Station has begun.  Preparations for factory proof tests are ongoing. 

After the module arrived at the assembly and testing building of site No. 254 of the Baikonur Cosmodrome, work was carried out to prepare Nauka for reloading and installation at the workplace.

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Former RSC Energia CEO Arrested for Alleged Misappropriation of Funds

Former RSC Energia CEO Vladimir Solntsev has been arrested on charges of misappropriating more than 1 billion rubles ($13 million) by inflating prices on the procurement of electronic components for an International Space Station science module. Tass reports:

Solntsev’s guilt is proven by the memos, signed by the former official, as well as by witnesses’ testimonies, the investigators say. According to one case actor, a former Energia manager, who testified against Solntsev, the former CEO is a head of a crime group. Solntsev denies guilt and says the criminal case is “Roscosmos’s crackdown on the old team.” Currently, Solntsev works as an advisor to the United Aircraft Corporation CEO.

Three more suspects, including Solntsev’s deputy, have absconded and are wanted, the court said. “Suspects Ignatkin [Solntsev’s deputy], Morozov and Stapovich have absconded; an arrest warrant was issued against them,” the judge said.

According to the case materials, Solntsev and his accomplices used a chain of affiliated companies for misappropriation. Besides Solntsev, Istok Science and Production Corporation (a Rostec subsidiary) CEO Alexander Borisov and former Energia managers Stepan and Alexander Prokhorov were apprehended earlier over suspicion of fraud.

A source in the law enforcement told TASS earlier that searches were conducted at a number of premises belonging to former Energia managers and an Istok senior official over a case of a major misappropriation during shipments.

Russian Science Module Arrives at Baikonur for Tests

The Nauka module arrives at the Baikonur Cosmodrome. (Credit: Roscosmos)

BAIKONUR, Kazakhstan (Roscosmos PR) — Today, August 19, 2020, the Nauka module, which is scheduled to launch to the International Space Station in the spring of 2021, arrived at the Baikonur Cosmodrome. It took less than 10 days to transport the module to the cosmodrome; it took 14 cars to transport it and the necessary equipment.

At Baikonur, specialists from subsidiaries of the State Corporation Roscosmos – Rocket and Space Corporation Energia (the lead developer of the module) and the Center. Khrunichev (manufacturer) – will carry out factory control and measurement tests of the new module. They are the final stage in the manufacture of the product.

Tests should confirm the quality of the installation and assembly work carried out, the operability of the systems and the quality of the product as a whole. Usually this stage takes place at the manufacturing plant, but this time, according to the terms of the state contract and in accordance with the terms of reference, it will take place at the cosmodrome.

In the near future, Russian specialists at Baikonur will have to carry out a large amount of work related to electrical tests of the product (a total of 754 checks in accordance with the instructions), fitting of fasteners for large-sized objects, etc.

Roscosmos Plans to Fly One Cosmonaut & Two Tourists on Soyuz Flights

Surrounded by medical personnel, seated from left to right are spaceflight participant Guy Laliberte, Expedition 20 Commander Gennady Padalka and Expedition 20 Flight Engineer Michael Barratt.They had landed minutes before at 12:32 a.m. EDT aboard the Soyuz capsule near the town of Arkalyk, Kazakhstan, on Sunday, Oct. 11, 2009.

Editor’s Note: With the success of the SpaceX Crew Dragon mission, Russia will soon no longer be able to charge the United States more than $90 million per seat to fly NASA astronauts to the International Space Station.

To make up for the lost revenues, Roscosmos will resume flying tourists to ISS, a program that was suspended on 2009. Instead of flying two professionals and one tourist as it did during the 2000’s, Roscosmos wants to fly one cosmonaut and two tourists. The press release below, translated from Russian, describes the efforts to fly the missions safely.

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — In special classes with the participation of cosmonauts from Roskosmos, instructors of the Yu.A. Gagarin and representatives of the Rocket and Space Corporation Energia named after S.P. Korolev (part of the Roscosmos State Corporation), studies were carried out to identify the features that are possible during the implementation of the training program for the control of a manned spacecraft “Soyuz” by one cosmonaut. Subsequently, based on all comments and suggestions, a conclusion will be drawn up to organize the process of this preparation.

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Energia, Space Adventures Sign Contract for Orbital Space Tourist Flight, Space Walk

VIENNA, Va., June 25, 2020 (Space Adventures PR) – S.P. Korolev Rocket and Space Corporation “Energia” and Space Adventures, Inc. signed a contract for a short duration spaceflight of two spaceflight participants on board the same “Soyuz” spacecraft to the Russian segment of the International Space Station (ISS).

One of the mission participants will have an opportunity to conduct a spacewalk outside the space station, becoming the first private citizen in history to experience open space. Accepted and secured candidates will be required to complete specialized training and additional simulations in preparation for the spacewalk attempt.

“A private citizen completing a spacewalk would be another huge step forward in private spaceflight. We appreciate the chance to celebrate two decades of orbital space tourism with our Russian partners by opening up another first-ever experience. We applaud our colleagues at Energia for working with us to create amazing new adventures in space,” said Eric Anderson, Chairman and CEO of Space Adventures, Inc.

About Space Adventures

Space Adventures, the company that organized the flights for the world’s first private space explorers, is headquartered in the Washington, D.C. metro area. It offers a variety of programs available today, including spaceflight missions to the International Space Station, around the Moon, record-breaking orbital missions, and various training and spaceflight qualification programs. The company’s orbital spaceflight clients include Dennis Tito, Mark Shuttleworth, Greg Olsen, Anousheh Ansari, Charles Simonyi, Richard Garriott, and Guy Laliberté.

Head of Russian Human Spaceflight Yevgeny Mikrin Passes Away from COVID-19

Yevgeny Mikrin (Credit: Roscosmos)

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — With great sadness, Roscosmos announces the passing of Yevgeny Mikrin, Rocket and Space Corporation Energia Designer General – First Deputy Director General, Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Professor, Doctor of Technical Sciences, Soviet and Russian scientist in mechanics and control processes. Yevgeny Mikrin was 65.

His passing is an irreparable loss for Russia’s rocket and space industry, as well as the country’s science.

Yevgeny Mikrin was an outstanding scientist, designer and organizer who immensely contributed into developing the crewed and cargo spacecraft control system development, multimodule space complexes, automatic spacecraft of various purposes. Since 1981 he has worked for Energia.

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