Galileo Navigation Satellites in Place for Dec. 2 Launch From French Guiana

Galileo satellites 27 – 28 being lowered onto their Fregat upper stage ahead of their launch on 2 December 2021. (Credit: ESA-CNES-Arianespace Optique Video du CSG – P Baudon)

KOUROU, French Guiana (ESA PR) — Europe’s next two Galileo satellites have been attached to the dispenser on which they will ride to orbit, and the launcher fairing that will protect them during the first part of the ascent to orbit has been closed around the pair.

Galileo satellites 27 – 28 are scheduled to be launched by Soyuz launcher from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana on 2 December at 01:31 CET (1 December at 21:31:27 local Kourou time).

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Prichal Node Module Launched to International Space Station

BAIKONUR COSMODROME, Kazakhstan (Roscosmos PR) — On Wednesday, November 24, 2021, at 13:06:35 UTC, the Soyuz-2.1b launch vehicle with the Prichal Node Module within the Progress M-UM cargo spacecraft-module was successfully launched from Site 31 of the Baikonur Cosmodrome. 563 seconds into the flight, it separated from the third stage of the carrier and deployed its solar panels and antennas.

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Crew Operations Aboard Space Station Return to Normal

This image shows the planned configuration of six iROSA solar arrays intended to augment power on the International Space Station. The roll-up arrays arrive on the SpaceX-22 resupply mission. (Credits: NASA/Johnson Space Center/Boeing)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — NASA and U.S. Space Command continue to monitor the debris cloud created by a recent Russian anti-satellite test. The International Space Station and crew members are safe and have resumed normal operations. The largest risk from the debris was in the first 24 hours and telemetry from the space station indicates no issues during that time. About 1:20 a.m. EST today, radial hatches extending from the space station’s center, including Kibo, Columbus, the Permanent Multipurpose Module, Bigelow Expandable Activity Module, and Quest Joint Airlock, were reopened.

Following the incident, crew members were awoken, notified of the debris and asked to close specific hatches based on the space station’s safe haven procedures. Hatches between the U.S. and Russian segments also were closed initially, but were later opened when the higher risk period passed. Crew members’ daily tasks were adjusted during this time to accommodate the hatch closure. After closing the hatches, the crew then entered their Soyuz and Crew Dragon spacecraft for approximately two hours, from 2 a.m. – 4 a.m. EST. No debris avoidance maneuver was performed.

Space debris is tracked by Space Command and conjunction analysis is performed by NASA, with mitigations available for debris clouds and individual conjunction threats (such as debris avoidance maneuvers). If orbital debris were to strike the station and cause an air leak, the crew would close hatches to the affected module. If crew members do not have time to close the affected module, they would enter their respective spacecraft and, if necessary, undock from the space station to return to Earth.

This debris cloud that was just created has increased the risk to the station. The cataloging of the total number of identifiable pieces of debris is ongoing. Once the debris cloud is dispersed and items are tracked and catalogued, NASA will receive notifications of potential conjunction threats to the station and perform maneuvers as necessary. In addition, NASA will continue to perform visual inspections and review telemetry data to ensure vehicle health.

Teams are assessing the risk levels to conduct various mission activities. Any changes to launches, spacewalks, and other events will be updated as needed.

Letter of Intent to Modernize Gagarin Launch Complex Signed in Dubai

DUBAI, UAE (Roscosmos PR) — On the second day of the Dubai Airshow 2021 Roscosmos, the UAE Space Agency and the Ministry of Digital Development, Innovation and Aerospace Industry of the Republic of Kazakhstan signed a joint Letter of Intent confirming the interest of the parties to implement space projects in trilateral format.

In particular, the document states the mutual intention to shortly start a detailed analysis of the tripartite project to modernize the historical Site 1 of the Baikonur Cosmodrome, from which the first human spaceflight took place.

Currently, this launch complex is not used due to the decommissioning of the Soyuz-FG carrier rocket in 2019, with the last rocket of the type launched in late September 2019.

If successfully implemented, the Gagarin’s Start project will revive the complex, allowing it to accept modern modifications of the Soyuz-2 launch vehicles. The parties plan to involve private investors into the project and to continue further joint commercial operation of the complex. According to experts, the project will enable the parties to present competitive offers on the international space launches market.

Russian Defense Ministry Boasts of ASAT Accuracy, Dismisses Orbital Debris Risk & Blames United States for Militarizing Space

Location of the 24,000 debris larger than 10 cm in low orbit in 2020. (Credits: NASA)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Despite condemnation from Western governments, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu seemed rather pleased with the results of an anti-missile test (ASAT) test that destroyed a defunct Soviet satellite, scattered more than 1,500 pieces of debris in Earth orbit, and endangered the seven-member crew of the International Space Station (ISS). TASS reports:

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Japanese Billionaire Medically Cleared for Flight to Space Station

Spaceflight participant Yozo Hiro, Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin and spaceflight participant Yusaku Maezawa. (Credit: Roscosmos)

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — The Chief Medical Commission meeting was held at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center (GCTC) to analyze medical examination data of the cosmonauts and the spaceflight participants of the 20th visiting expedition to the International Space Station.

The Commission consisted of the representatives of GCTC, Roscosmos, Federal Medico-Biological Agency, Institute of Medical and Biological Problems of Russian Academy of Sciences, Russian Ministry of Health and Russian Ministry of Defense.

By the decision of the commission Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin, spaceflight Yusaku Maezawa and Yozo Hirano (EP-20 prime crew) and Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexander Skvortsov and Shun Ogiso (EP-20 backup crew) were deemed medically fit for spaceflight.

The Soyuz MS-20 spacecraft is scheduled to launch on December 8, 2021 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome. The flight is to last 12 days.

Last Week in the Dmitrys: Roscosmos, Glavkosmos Bosses Talk SpaceX, Tourism and More

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

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

The International Astronautical Congress wrapped up last week in Dubai. Roscosmos Director General Dmitry Rogozin and Glavkosmos boss Dmitry Loskutov held forth during the conference on SpaceX, space tourism and other topics.

Roscosmos is the state-owned corporation that runs Russia’s space program. Glavkosmos is Roscosmos’ commercial arm.

Cosmonauts to fly on Crew Dragon: Rogozin said SpaceX’s Crew Dragon now has enough flights under its belt for Russian cosmonauts to fly aboard it. Crew Dragon has flown three crews to the International Space Station (ISS) and a group of amateur astronauts on a three-day orbital flight. Roscosmos and NASA will pursue a barter agreement that will allow U.S. astronauts to fly on Russian Soyuz spacecraft. Before Crew Dragon began flights, NASA was paying Roscosmos $90 million per seat to fly its astronauts to ISS.

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Russian Progress Resupply Ship Docks with International Space Station

Progress MS-18 fires thrusters as it approaches the International Space Station. (Credit: Pyotr Dubrov)

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — In accordance with the Russian flight program of the International Space Station, on October 30, 2021, at 04:31:19 Moscow time, the Progress MS-18 transport cargo vehicle was docked. The operations of docking and docking to the Zvezda service module were carried out automatically under the control of specialists from the Mission Control Center of TsNIIMash, the Main Operational Control Group of the Energia Rocket and Space Corporation named after S.P. Korolev (part of the Roscosmos State Corporation) and the Russian crew members of the ISS-66, Roscosmos cosmonauts Anton Shkaplerov and Pyotr Dubrov.

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Russia Launches Progress Resupply Ship to Space Station

BAIKONUR COSMODROME, Kazakhstan (Roscosmos PR) — In accordance with the approved Russian schedule of flights to the International Space Station, today, October 28, 2021 the Soyuz-2.1a carrier rocket with the Progress MS-18 cargo spacecraft launched successfully at 00:00:32 UTC from Launchpad 6 (Vostok) of the Baikonur Cosmodrome. In 8 minutes 48 seconds after liftoff the spacecraft and the third stage of the carrier separation was confirmed, the solar panels and antennas were deployed.

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Space Adventures Cancels Earth Orbit Tourism Mission

Space Adventures says it was forced to cancel a reservation with SpaceX to send four paying passengers on a multi-day tourist trip to Earth orbit. Agence France-Presse reports:

“Ultimately our reservation with SpaceX expired and that’s not a mission that we are going to be executing in the immediate future,” Shelley said, but did not rule out future partnerships with the company.

Space Adventures was not about to work out the right mix of timing and price before the reservation expired. The trip would have been similar to the recently completed Inspiration4 flight, which saw four amateur astronauts orbit the Earth for three days aboard a SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft.

Space Adventures and the Russian space corporation Roscosmos is sending up Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa and his assistant, Yozo Hirano, to the International Space Station for 12 days aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft in December. Russian cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin will command the flight.

Israel, UAE Agree to Collaborate on Lunar, Earth Observation & Satellite Missions

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) will collaborate on a mission to the moon, analyze data from an Israeli-French Earth observation satellite, and launch a joint education satellite under a landmark agreement signed last week to cooperate on a range of space projects, the Israel Space Agency (ISA) announced.

The two nations will collaborate on Genesis 2, an $100 million Israeli mission to launch an orbiter to the moon and deploy landers at two different locations on the lunar surface. The mission, which is to be half funded with foreign contributions, is scheduled to launch in 2024.

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Oleg Novitsky, Klim Shipenko and Yulia Peresild Recount Expedition to ISS

Actress Yulia Peresild, cosmonaut Oleg Novitsky and film director Klim Shipenko discuss their stays aboard the International Space Station. (Credit: Roscosmos)

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — Roscosmos cosmonaut Oleg Novitsky, film director Klim Shipenko and actress Yulia Peresild returned to Earth on October 17, 2021 on the “Yu.A. Gagarin” (Soyuz MS-18). Now they are undergoing post-flight rehabilitation at the Cosmonaut Training Center, where one of the sites for an online press conference was organized.

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Vladimir Putin to Roscosmos: Do More with Less

Russian President Vladimir Putin tours Vostochny Cosmodrome in September 2019. (Crredit: Roscosmos)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Russian President Vladimir Putin has Roscosmos taken to task for failing to compete a series of goals even as his government prepares to cut the budget of the Roscosmos state corporation that runs the nation’s space program by more than $500 million.

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Russian Soyuz Vehicle Causes Another Loss of Attitude Control on Space Station

The Soyuz MS-18 crew ship, pictured, will relocate from the Russian Rassvet module to the Nauka module on Sept. 28. (Credits: NASA)

A Russian Soyuz crew vehicle set to return to Earth tomorrow caused the International Space Station to lose its attitude control on Friday morning when its thrusters fired longer than planned. It was the second such incident on the station involving a Russian vehicle this year.

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With Flight ST36, Arianespace Sets a New Mark; More than Half of OneWeb Constellation Now Successfully Deployed

Soyuz rocket lifts off with 36 Starlink satellites on Oct. 14, 2021. (Credit: Arianespace)

– Arianespace has successfully performed Soyuz Flight ST36. This latest launch for OneWeb’s placed 36 more satellites into orbit.
– ST36 represents an important step in OneWeb and Arianespace’s partnership: the operator now has more than half, 358 satellites, of its constellation on orbit.
– ST36 is the 10th launch of Arianespace in 2021.

VOSTOCHNY COSMODROME, Russia (Arianespace PR) — Performed on Thursday, October 14 at precisely 6:40 pm. local time at Russia’s Vostochny Cosmodrome (9:40 a.m. UTC), Soyuz Flight ST36 lifted-off with 36 OneWeb satellites onboard, bringing the size of the fleet in orbit to 358, after this successful deployment. Flight ST36 was the 61st Soyuz mission carried out by Arianespace and its Starsem affiliate. The mission lasted three hours and 51 minutes. The 36 satellites were deployed during nine separation sequences, at an altitude of 450 km.

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