Report: Rogozin to Become New Head of Roscosmos

Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin. (Credit: A. Savin)

It appears as those celebrating the dumping of Dmitry Rogozin as overseer of the Russian space program may have been doing their vodka Jell-O shots too soon.

According to the Google Translate version of this article, the bombastic Rogozin — who had been overseeing the space and defense sectors as deputy prime minister — has been offered the opportunity to take over Roscosmos, the government corporation that runs the nation’s space program.

The offer came after he was dumped from the Cabinet for Vladimir Putin’s fourth term as president.

Rogozin would replace Igor Komarov, a former auto industry executive who was brought in as deputy head of Roscosmos in 2013 and placed in charge of consolidating the space industry. Komarov became head of Roscosmos in January 2015.

Rogozin was among a number of high-level government officials placed under sanctions by the United States following the invasion of Ukraine and annexation of Crimea. In response, he tweeted that NASA should send it astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) using trampolines instead of flying aboard Russian Soyuz spacecraft. Rogozin didn’t follow through on the implied threat.

The Roscosmos gig appears to be a pretty lucrative one. The website Crime Russia reports that Komarov’s income totaled almost 109 million rubles ($1.76 million), including 71.5 million rubles ($1.15 million) from his job at Roscosmos. His income from other sources was not disclosed.

“The official owns five plots of land with the total area of almost 12 sq m, a house of 2.5 thousand sq m, an apartment (118 sq m), a gas pipeline section, and non-residential premises,” the website reported. “The Roscosmos head’s car fleet includes LADA Largus and Mercedes-Benz Viano.”

First KiboCUBE Satellite Deployed from the International Space Station

Japanese KIBO module

VIENNA, 11 May (United Nations Information Service PR) – The first cube satellite (CubeSat) developed under the KiboCUBE programme of the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) and Japan’s Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has been deployed from the International Space Station (ISS). The deployment took place on 11 May 2018 from the Japanese Experiment Module (Kibo) of the ISS with the Kibo robotic arm.

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Weekend Reading: Spaceport America, SpaceX, LightSail 2 & More

Richard Branson and his children hang out with Project Bandaloop dancers during the dedication of the Virgin Galactic Gateway to Space facility in October 2011. (Credit: Douglas Messier)

Dream a Little Dream of Me: SpaceX’s launch of Bangladesh’s “dream” satellite, Bangabandhu 1, has them celebrating in Dhaka. https://www.thedailystar.net/science/space-science/bangladesh-bd-first-commercial-satellite-bangabandhu-1-on-way-orbit-after-successful-launch-space-spacex-florida-us-1575244

Musk’s Big Promises for F9 B2: Crazy Elon’s prices are so low they’re insane! https://www.investors.com/news/spacex-elon-musk-predictions-reusable-falcon9-lower-costs/

A Shot of Maple Syrup, Coming Right Up: Nick Rose samples the cuisine for David Saint-Jacques’ upcoming mission to the International Space Station. https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/nekwyz/canada-astronaut-food-david-saint-jacques-perspective-space

All Quiet on the Spaceport Front: Maggie Grimason visits Truth or Consequences and finds patience is wearing thin. https://undark.org/article/spaceport-america-new-mexico/

Let there be LightSail: Jason Davis has an update on The Planetary Society’s LightSail 2, whose launch aboard Falcon Heavy is now set for the Fall.
http://www.planetary.org/blogs/jason-davis/2018/20180511-lightsail2-launch-slip.html

Kenya Enters the CubeSat Age: A homegrown satellite is launched from the International Space Station. https://qz.com/1275698/kenya-to-launch-first-satellite-into-space/

SpaceX Readies for First Flight of Upgraded Falcon 9 Block 5

The first Falcon 9 Block 5 booster heads for the launch pad at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. (Credit: SpaceX)

Update: The launch was scrubbed for an undisclosed technical reason. SpaceX plans to try again on Friday at 4:14 p.m. EDT. Your local time may vary.


Elon Musk’s SpaceX will mark a major milestone for reusable rockets today with the launch of the upgraded Falcon 9 Block 5 booster.

The rocket is set to launch the Bangabandhu communications satellite for Bangladesh from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The launch window runs from  4:12-6:22 p.m. EDT (2012-2222 GMT). SpaceX will webcast the mission at www.spacex.com.

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House Measure Would Boost NASA Budget to $21.5 Billion

The House Appropriations Committee has released a draft bill that would increase NASA’s budget to $21.5 billion for fiscal year 2019. The total would be an increase of $810 million above the enacted amount for FY 2018 and $1.6 billion more than the Trump Administration requested.

NASA would spend $5.1 billion on deep space exploration, an increase of $294 million. The total includes $504 million for the Lunar Orbital Platform — Gateway.

Science would also be boosted by $459 million to $6.7 billion. The total includes $740 million for a Europa orbiter and lander.

Complete details on the proposed budget are still lacking. Below is what the committee has released thus far.
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Spinning Science: Multi-use Variable-g Platform Arrives at the Space Station

Seen with its door removed, revealing two carousels, the Techshot Multi-use Variable-g Platform (MVP) is a privately owned and operated research system for the International Space Station. (Credit: Techshot)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — Delivered to the International Space Station aboard SpaceX CRS-14, the Multi-use Variable-g Platform (MVP) is a new commercial testbed for centrifuge-based science aboard the orbiting laboratory. Because gravity determines so much of a live organism’s behavior and growth, centrifuge-based experiments have long been a part of biological investigations in space. While the pull of Earth’s gravity makes this type of investigation difficult at home, the space station’s microgravity environment makes it the perfect place for fractional gravity experimentation. MVP greatly expands that testing capability for the space station.

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NSS Applauds NASA’s Support for Commercial Low Earth Orbit Space Stations

Axiom commercial space station design. (Credit: Axiom Space)

WASHINGTON, DC (NSS PR) — On March 30th, 2018, NASA delivered to Congress the “International Space Station Transition Report” taking the first step toward a gapless transition from the government owned and operated International Space Station (ISS) to commercial Low Earth Orbit (LEO) space stations. This report was issued in response to a request from Congress in the NASA Transition Authorization Act of 2017. NSS and its partners in the Alliance for Space Development worked hard over the last few years to ensure that this request was included in the Act, and NSS applauds the resulting report.

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Analysis Looks at Costs, Markets and Government Role in Private Space Stations

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Last year, the Science and Technology Policy Institute (STPI) conducted an initial assessment of the viability of a private space station located in low Earth orbit (LEO). The study was conducted under the direction of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP).

The full study (“Market Analysis of a Privately Owned and Operated Space Station,” by Keith W. Crane, Benjamin A. Corbin, Bhavya Lal, Reina S. Buenconsejo, Danielle Piskorz, Annalisa L. Weigel, February 2018)  doesn’t appear to be publicly available. However, an executive summary is included in NASA’s International Space Station Transition Report, which I have reproduced below.

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Dragon Splashed Down in Pacific After Space Station Mission

Cosmonaut Oleg Artemyev tweeted this image of the SpaceX Dragon resupply ship shortly after it was released from the grips of the Canadarm2 robotic arm today. (Credit: @OlegMKS)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — Following release from the International Space Station by ground controllers at 9:23 a.m. EDT on Saturday, SpaceX’s Dragon cargo spacecraft splashed down in the Pacific Ocean at about 3 p.m. This marks the end of the company’s 14th contracted cargo resupply mission to the space station for NASA.

A boat will take the Dragon to the port at Long Beach, where some cargo will be removed and returned to NASA. Dragon will be prepared for a return journey to SpaceX’s test facility in McGregor, Texas, for processing.

Dragon is returning more than 4,000 pounds of NASA cargo and science samples from a variety of technological and biological studies about the space station. Some of the science returning on this flight includes samples from the Metabolic Tracking study that could lead to more effective, less expensive drugs, the APEX-06 investigation examining how to effectively grow crops in space, and the Fruit Fly Lab–03 investigation to research disease genes and immunity to help prepare for future long-duration human space exploration missions.

Keep up to date with the latest news from the crew living in space by following https://blogs.nasa.gov/spacestation/, @space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter, and the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

NASA Science to Return to Earth Aboard SpaceX Dragon Spacecraft

Dragon capsule after recovery. (Credit: SpaceX)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — SpaceX’s Dragon cargo spacecraft is scheduled to splash down in the Pacific Ocean on Saturday, May 5, west of Baja California, with more than 4,000 pounds of NASA cargo, science and technology demonstration samples from the International Space Station.

The Dragon spacecraft will be taken by ship to Long Beach, where some cargo will be removed immediately for return to NASA. Dragon then will be prepared for a return trip to SpaceX’s test facility in McGregor, Texas, for final processing.

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GAO Commercial Crew Assessment: More Delays Likely

Boeing and SpaceX commercial crew vehicles certified to take NASA astronauts to the International Space Station might not be available until the end of next year, according to a new audit from the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

“The Commercial Crew Program is tracking risks that both contractors could experience additional schedule delays and its schedule risk analysis indicates that certification is likely to slip until late 2019 for SpaceX and early 2020 for Boeing,” the report states.

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Updated Global Launch Schedule for May

Mars InSight lander (Credit: NASA)

There are some interesting launches among the nine orbital flights currently scheduled for May. Highlights include:

  • NASA’s Mars InSight lander with two deep-space CubeSats (May 5);
  • SpaceX’s first flight of a Falcon 9 Block 5 variant (NET May 7);
  • Two Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Follow-On (GRACE Follow-On) satellites (May 19);
  • Orbital ATK’s Antares Cygnus ISS resupply mission (May 20);
  • China’s Chang’e-4 lunar relay satellite with two deep-space microsats (TBD); and,
  • Rocket Lab’s first Electron commercial flight (TBD).

There have been 40 orbital launches through April, with 38 successes, one failure and one partial failure.

The schedule below is subject to change. Please check with our friends at Spaceflight Now for updates.
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Gigabit Connectivity for the International Space Station

BERLIN (Tesat-Spacecom PR) — At today’s press conference Airbus Defence and Space, the Institute for Communication and Navigation of the German Aerospace Center (DLR-IKN) and Tesat-Spacecom published their cooperation with the aim to equip the ISS with a high capacity direct-to-earth Laser Communication Terminal.

T-OSIRIS, how the new terminal is called, was developed in cooperation between DLR-IKN and the German spacecraft supplier Tesat-Spacecom. It complements Bartolomeo, Columbus and thus the ISS with the ability to transmit data directly to earth via optical communication.

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United Launch Alliance Names John Elbon Chief Operating Officer

CENTENNIAL, Colo., April 26, 2018 (ULA PR) – United Launch Alliance (ULA) today named veteran aerospace industry executive John Elbon as its next Chief Operating Officer, succeeding Dan Collins, who had served as COO since ULA’s founding in 2006 and retired early this year.

Elbon joins ULA from The Boeing Company where he served as Vice President and General Manager, Space Exploration, a division of Boeing Defense, Space & Security. He was responsible for the strategic direction of Boeing’s civil space programs and support of NASA programs such as the International Space Station (ISS), Commercial Crew Development program and the Space Launch System.

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NASA’s Exploration Campaign: Back to the Moon and on to Mars

If the Moon has enough water, and if it’s reasonably convenient to access, future explorers might be able to use it as a resource. (Credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center)

“The directive I am signing today will refocus America’s space program on human exploration and discovery. It marks a first step in returning American astronauts to the Moon for the first time since 1972, for long-term exploration and use. This time, we will not only plant our flag and leave our footprints — we will establish a foundation for an eventual mission to Mars, and perhaps someday, worlds beyond.” 

-President Donald Trump

WASHINGTON, DC (NASA PR) — In December 2017, President Donald J. Trump gave NASA a new direction, telling the agency to work with international and commercial partners to refocus exploration efforts on the moon, with an eye to eventually going on to Mars and even beyond.

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