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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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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Russia Moves to Suppress News of Corruption at Roscosmos, Military Services

Vladimir Putin receives a briefing from Roscosmos General Director Dmitry Rogozin. (Credit: Office of the Russian President)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Do you remember all those stories about corruption and theft at Roscomos’ new Vostochny spaceport? How about the one about the construction manager who was arrested driving around in diamond-encrusted Mercedes? Or how one in every five rubles allocated for the Russia’s military-industrial complex is lost to waste, fraud and abuse?

Well, after years of not entirely successful attempts to clean up these embarrassing problems, the government of Vladimir Putin has hit upon a new strategy: suppress all news of them. The Moscow Times reports the Federal Security Service, a successor organization to the KGB, has published a 60-point list of information that “foreign states, organizations and citizens can use against Russia’s security.”

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Arianespace to Serve OneWeb’s Ambitions by Reaching a Key Milestone with 254 Satellites in Orbit

OneWeb satellites being prepared for launch aboard a Soyuz-2.1b booster from the Vostochny Cosmodrome. (Credit: Roscosmos)
  • The next Arianespace mission is planned from Vostochny Cosmodrome with Soyuz on July 1st, to deliver 36 satellites into orbit bringing the total OneWeb’s fleet to 254 satellites in Low Earth Orbit.
  • This 58th Soyuz mission conducted by Arianespace and its Starsem affiliate will be the fifth launch from the Vostochny Cosmodrome and represents OneWeb’s eighth launch overall.
  • By operating ST33 flight Arianespace will have put into orbit enough satellites, allowing OneWeb to deliver connectivity services in Canada, U.K., Northern Europe, Alaska and Arctic regions by the years end.

VOSTOCHNY COSMODROME, Russia (Arianespace PR) — Flight ST33, the fifth commercial mission performed by Arianespace and its Starsem affiliate from the Vostochny Cosmodrome, will put 36 of OneWeb’s satellites into a near-polar orbit at an altitude of 450 kilometers. The mission will have a total duration of three hours and 51 minutes and will include nine separations of four satellites, which will raise themselves to their operational orbit. This eighth launch to the benefit of OneWeb will bring up to speed Arianespace’s operations this year, and will raise from 218 to 254 the number of satellites deployed for the global telecommunications operator.

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Launch 2020: Russian Missions Improved in Quality, Declined in Numbers

Soyuz-2 rocket lifts off from the Vostochny Cosmodrome with 36 OneWeb satellites. (Credit: Arianespace)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

For Russia, 2020 was a mixed year in terms of launch. Once the world’s leader in sending payloads into space, the nation finished a distant third behind the United States and China with only 17 orbital flights. That figure was eight below the 25 launches in 2019, and Russia’s lowest number of the 21st century. The U.S. and China finished with 44 and 39 launch attempts, respectively.

On the bright side, 2020 was the second year in a row in which Russia did not experience a launch failure. That streak came after more a decade during which the Russian launch industry was plagued with multiple fmishaps.

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SpaceX Delays Transporter-2 Launch at Least 3 Days

SpaceX Falcon 9 lifts off on Transporter-1 mission. (Credit: Spaceflight Inc.)

SpaceX has announced that it is delaying the launch of its Transporter-2 rideshare mission that had been scheduled for Friday from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station to allow the launch team to make some additional checks. Reports say the new launch date will be no earlier than Monday, June 28.

Transporter-2 will deploy about 90 satellites into a sun synchronous orbit (SSO). The flight follows on the heels of the Transporter-1 mission in January, which carried a record 143 satellites. Those satellites were also placed in SSO.

Meanwhile, Russia has scheduled three launches to take place in the week ahead.

Monday, June 25

Launch Vehicle: Soyuz
Payload: Pion-NKS 1 electronic intelligence-gathering satellite
Launch Time: TBA
Launch Site:
 Plesetsk Cosmodrome, Russia

Tuesday, June 29

Launch Vehicle: Soyuz
Payload: Progress 78P International Space Station resupply ship
Launch Time: 7:27 p.m. EDT (2327 GMT)
Launch Site: Baikonur Cosmodrome, Russia

Thursday, July 1

Launch Vehicle: Soyuz
Payloads: 36 OneWeb broadband satellites
Launch Time: 8:48 a.m. EDT (1248 GMT)
Launch Site:
 Vostochny Cosmodrome, Russia

Launch 2020: A Busy Year Filled with Firsts in the Face of COVID-19 Pandemic

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the company’s Crew Dragon spacecraft is launched from Launch Complex 39A on NASA’s SpaceX Demo-2 mission to the International Space Station with NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley aboard, Saturday, May 30, 2020, at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida (Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls & Joel Kowsky)

SpaceX dominated, China surged and Russia had another clean sheet as American astronauts flew from U.S. soil again in a year of firsts.

First in a series

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 was a very busy launch year with a number of firsts in both human and robotic exploration. A total of 114 orbital launches were attempted, with 104 successes and 10 failures. It was the same number of launches that were conducted in 2018, with that year seeing 111 successes, two failures and one partial failure.

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Arianespace Successfully Deploys OneWeb Constellation Satellites

Soyuz-2 launches 36 OneWeb satellites on May 28, 2021. (Credit: Vostochny Space Center/Roscosmos)
  • OneWeb’s new launch overall places 36 new constellation satellites into orbit.
  • Following the 7th launch for OneWeb, Arianespace has deployed 218 satellites in low Earth orbit for the constellation.

VOSTOCHNY COSMODROME, Russia (Arianespace PR) — Performed on Friday, May 29 at precisely 02:38 a.m. local time at Russia’s Vostochny Cosmodrome (05:38 p.m. on May 28, UTC), Soyuz Flight ST31 orbited 36 new OneWeb satellites – bringing the size of the fleet in orbit to 218. Flight ST32 was the 57th Soyuz mission carried out by Arianespace and its Starsem affiliate.

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A New Batch of OneWeb Satellites Arrives at Vostochny

OneWeb satellites arrive at Vostchny Cosmodrome in may 2021. (Credit: Glavkosmos)

VOSTOCHNY, Russia (Glavkosmos PR) — A new batch of 36 OneWeb satellites arrived at Ignatievo airport (Blagoveshchensk) by an An-124-100 aircraft on Thursday. The specialists of the Vostochny Cosmodrome (a branch of TsENKI, part of Roscosmos) transported the satellites to the cosmodrome.

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Fun with Figures: The Rise and Fall of the Commercial Proton Booster

Proton on launch pad (Credit: ILS)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Russia recently marked the 25th anniversary of the entry of the Proton rocket into the international commercial marketplace. On April 8, 1996, a Proton-K booster with a DM3 upper stage launched the Astra 1F geosynchronous communications satellite built by U.S.-based Hughes for Luxembourg’s SES from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

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OneWeb Confirms Successful Launch #6 As It Moves Closer to ‘Five to 50’ Ambition

  • OneWeb confirms successful launch and contact with all 36 satellites, bringing total in-orbit constellation to 182 satellites
  • On schedule to cover 50 degrees latitude and above by June, with service ready to start by the end of the year

LONDON, 26 April 2021 (OneWeb PR) — OneWeb, the Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite communications company, has confirmed the successful launch of all 36 satellites by Arianespace from the Vostochny Cosmodrome. This launch brings OneWeb a step closer to its ‘Five to 50’ ambition, which enables the start of commercial service by the end of the year.

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Russia’s Changing Story on ISS and its New Space Station

The International Space Station, photographed by ESA astronaut Paolo Nespoli following the undocking of his Soyuz-TMA on 23 May 2011. (Credit: ESA/NASA)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Well, this is interesting. And by interest, I mean what cynics had been predicting all along.

In the space of a couple of weeks, Russia’s plan for the future of the International Space Station (ISS) shifted from full withdrawal in 2025, to gradual withdrawal and the launch of a new Russian-only station beginning in 2025, to we’re fine with extending ISS to 2028 and we’ll start launching our new station then.

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OneWeb Advances its ‘Five to 50’ Ambition with Launch No. 6

Soyuz-2 rocket launches from Vostochny with 36 OneWeb satellites. (Credit: Roscosmos, Space Center Vostochny, TsENKI)
  • On schedule to cover down to 50 degrees latitude and over the Northern Polar region, with service ready to start by end of year
  • Launch will bring total satellites launched to date in 2021 to 108 as monthly momentum builds
  • Multiple commercial partnerships include The AST Group, and Government of Kazakhstan among others, with more soon to be announced demonstrate growing attractiveness to global customers

LONDON, UK, 22 April 2021 (OneWeb PR) — OneWeb, the global satellite communications company, confirms plans to launch a further 36 satellites into Low Earth Orbit (LEO) on 26th April as part of its sixth launch. The launch will be conducted by Arianespace from the Vostochny Cosmodrome.

Lift-off will take place on 25th April at 23:14 BST, 26th April at 7:14 Local Time, Vostochny. The mission to insert the satellites into initial orbit, prior to raising to operational orbit, is expected to last approximately four hours.

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Arianespace to Launch 36 More OneWeb’s Satellites

Soyuz-2 rocket launches from Vostochny with 36 OneWeb satellites. (Credit: Roscosmos, Space Center Vostochny, TsENKI)

VOSTOCHNY COSMODROME, Russia (Arianespace PR) — The next Arianespace mission is planned from Vostochny Cosmodrome with Soyuz on April 26, to deliver 36 satellites into orbit.

By operating this fifth flight on behalf of OneWeb, Arianespace will bring the total fleet to 182 satellites in Low Earth Orbit. Arianespace is proud to share in the fulfilment of its customer’s ultimate ambition: providing internet access for everyone, everywhere.

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Dimensional Model of Luna-25 Delivered to Vostochny Cosmodrome

Luna 25 undergoes acoustics tests. (Credit: RSC Energia/Roscosmos)

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — In the Scientific and Production Association named after S.A. Lavochkin (part of the State Corporation Roscosmos), work continues on preparations for the launch of the automated lander Luna-25, which is scheduled for the fall of this year. The modern lunar apparatus will be a continuation of the Soviet landers of the same name.

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