Putin Celebrates Gagarin Flight Anniversary, Vows Russia will Remain a Leader in Space Amid Sanctions

Vladimir Putin receives a briefing from Roscosmos General Director Dmitry Rogozin before the COVID-19 pandemic. (Credit: Office of the Russian President)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

On Tuesday, Russia celebrated the 61st anniversary of the Soviet Union’s launch of the first human into space, Yuri Gagarin, with a presidential visit to a scandal-plagued spaceport, a pledge to stay the course in the face of international sanctions over the Ukraine invasion, and an initiative to fly a citizen of one of the nation’s closest allies into space.

“Everything that we’ve seen during our visit to Vostochny, all successes in space exploration achieved in recent years prove that our country retains its leadership in space industry, is one of the leaders in this area,” President Vladimir Putin said during a visit to the Vostochny Cosmodrome in Russia’s Far East.

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SpaceX to Launch Rival OneWeb’s Broadband Satellites

Falcon 9 launches 53 Starlink satellites from Cape Canaveral. (Credit: SpaceX)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

OneWeb announced this morning that it will resume launches of its broadband satellite constellation with SpaceX, which is deploying its rival Starlink broadband satellite network. The agreement comes after OneWeb terminated a contract to continue launching on Soyuz boosters in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

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Russia Holds OneWeb Satellites Hostage; No Launch Unless Company & British Government Meet Demands

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

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

In what is likely the first hostage drama involving communication satellites, the head of the Russian space program has demanded that the British government divest its shares in OneWeb and that the broadband satellite operator not provide services to foreign militaries in order to launch a new batch of spacecraft. The move comes amid growing tensions over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and sanctions imposed on the country by western nations.

Roscosmos Director General Dmitry Rogozin tweeted that unless these demands are met, Russia will refuse to launch 36 OneWeb satellites that sit atop a Soyuz-2.1b rocket currently on the launch pad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The launch is scheduled for Saturday morning Moscow time.

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Roscosmos Suspends Soyuz Joint Launch Operations From Kourou, Recalls Personnel From Europe’s Spaceport

Soyuz-2 rocket launches 34 OneWeb broadband satellites from the Guiana Space Center. (Credit: Copyright ESA-CNES-Arianespace/Optique Video du CSG – P Piron)

Russia is suspending cooperation with Arianespace on the launch of Soyuz rockets from Europe’s Guiana Space Center and pulling its personnel from the South American spaceport over European Union (EU) sanctions imposed on the nation for the nation’s invasion of Ukraine. Roscosmos head Dmitry Rogozin tweeted: (Translated from Russian)

In response to EU sanctions against our enterprises, Roscosmos is suspending cooperation with European partners in organizing space launches from the Kourou cosmodrome and withdrawing its technical personnel, including the consolidated launch crew, from French Guiana.

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Rogozin: Major Construction at Vostochny to be Completed This Year

Dmitry Rogozin visits Vostochny in January 2022. (Credit: Roscosmos)

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — Roscosmos Director General Dmitry Rogozin conducted a working visit to the Vostochny Cosmodrome, where he inspected the progress of construction of the second stage facilities for the Amur space rocket complex with the Angara launch vehicle.

“The main construction work at the Vostochny Cosmodrome is to be completed in 2022, enabling to begin installation and testing of the technological equipment in preparation for the start of the Angara-A5 rocket and new Oryol crewed spacecraft flight tests in December 2023,” Rogozin said.

Construction at Vostochny Cosmodrome in January 2022. (Credit: Roscosmos)

The head of the corporation visits the spaceport on a regular basis. Governor of the Amur Region Vasily Orlov visited the facilities of the new Russian spaceport together with him. The delegation took a tour of the launchpad, the technical complex facilities, the assembly and testing facility and the warehouse of the launch vehicle units.

After that the Roscosmos director general held a meeting on the prospects for the creation of housing, social, cultural and household infrastructure in Tsiolkovsky (the number of city residents is planned to increase significantly by 2032), the construction of the airport, as well as the maximum use of existing infrastructure at the launch site to accommodate technological equipment for the Angara launch vehicle family launch preparation.

Vladimir Solovyov Speaks on Future Development of Russian Human Spaceflight

Vladimir Solovyov, General Designer for Manned Space Systems and Complexes, discusses Russia’s plans for exploring the moon. (Credit: Roscosmos)

Translated from Russian by Google Translate

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — On Tuesday, January 25, 2022, at the XLVI Academic Readings in Cosmonautics (“Royal Readings – 2022”), Vladimir Solovyov, General Designer for Manned Space Systems and Complexes, spoke about the plans for the development of the Russian manned space program.”

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Russia’s Sphere Satellite Constellation Moves Toward Implementation

Sphere constellation satellite orbits. (Credit: Roscosmos)
  • 264-satellite constellation will provide broadband and Earth observation capabilities
  • Russia’s first mega constellation would be deployed in medium orbit
  • Government plans to spend US $370 million through 2024

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — After several stages of discussions and approvals in the government, the Federal Sphere project received a development plan supported by funding. In the coming years, emphasis will be placed on developing technologies and creating the first samples of spacecraft. The final decision on the number and composition of satellite constellations will be made based on the results shown.

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Russia Designed New Space Station, Continued Development of Vostochny in 2021

Russian Orbital Space Station will follow the International Space Station. (Credit: Roscosmos)

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — In 2021, a decision was made to start the preliminary design of the Russian space station. The creation of a Russian space station will allow the Russian Federation to maintain its presence in low Earth orbit and ensure the fulfillment of a wide range of tasks. Based on the results of the preliminary design of the station, decisions on its appearance and orbit will be made. It is not excluded that foreign partners will be allowed to participate in the project of the new orbital station.

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Roscosmos Looks Back at Successful Launch Year

Soyuz rocket launches 36 OneWeb satellites from Baikonur Cosmodrome on Dec. 27, 2021. (Credit: Arianespace)

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — For the third year in a row, Roscosmos ensured trouble-free launches of spacecraft from the Baikonur, Plesetsk and Vostochny cosmodromes. Russia has achieved the best indicators of accident-free launches in 5 years (about 97 percent) among the leading space powers (Russia, USA, China).

As of the end of 2021, 25 launches of space rockets were carried out, including 14 launches from the Baikonur cosmodrome, 5 launches from Vostochny, 5 from Plesetsk and 1 from the Guiana Space Center.

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Russia Successfully Launch Angara-A5 Booster on Flight Test

Angara-A5 launch (Credit: Russian Aerospace Forces)

PLESETSK COSMODROME, Russia (Roscosmos PR) — The space forces of the Russian Aerospace Forces held on Monday, December 27, 2021, the third test launch of the Angara-A5 heavy carrier rocket with the overall mass model of the payload from the Plesetsk cosmodrome, the Russian Defense Ministry reported.

A few minutes later, the orbital block separated from the third stage. Further insertion of the orbital block into the target geostationary orbit will be carried out using the upper stage according to a typical nine-hour three-pulse scheme with four starts of the main engine of the upper stage.

Roscosmos State Corporation congratulates the Military Space Forces and the entire Russian space industry (the team of the Khrunichev Center, NPO Energomash, NPTs AP, TsENKI) on the successful test launch of the Angara-A5 launch vehicle with a new generation upper stage!

This flight showed that the tests of the Angara rocket are developing exactly according to plan. Next year, it is expected that work on the construction of a launch pad for this type of launch vehicle at the Vostochny cosmodrome will be completed. A year later – its first launch from the new Russian cosmodrome!

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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