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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Successful Launch Marks Key Milestone for OneWeb’s ‘Five to 50’ Ambition

Soyuz-2 rocket launches from Vostochny with 36 OneWeb satellites. (Credit: Roscosmos, Space Center Vostochny, TsENKI)
  • OneWeb confirms successful launch and contact with all 36 satellites
  • The latest deployment brings the in-orbit constellation to 146 satellites
  • On track to cover 50 degrees Latitude and above by end of year; three more launches to go

LONDON, 25 March 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, its second under new ownership, brings its total in-orbit constellation to 146 satellites. These will form part of OneWeb’s 648 LEO satellite fleet that will deliver high-speed, low-latency global connectivity.

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OneWeb Satellites Set to Launch on Thursday

LONDON, March 23, 2021 (OneWeb PR) — OneWeb, the Low Earth Orbit (LEO) global satellite communications company, is preparing for the launch and deployment of 36 satellites at 02:47 GMT by Arianespace for the second time from the Vostochny Cosmodrome.

This will be the second of five launches that will enable OneWeb to deliver connectivity services north of 50 degrees latitude by the end of the 2021. These initial regional services will begin in United Kingdom, Alaska, Northern Europe, Greenland, Iceland, the Artic Seas, and Canada with global service becoming available in 2022.

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Synspective Signs Launch Agreement with Germany’s Exolaunch to Launch the Second SAR Satellite “StriX-β” on Soyuz-2

Synthetic aperture radar satellite (Credit: Synspective)

TOKYO, Japan and BERLIN, Germany, March 23, 2021 (Synspective PR)  — Synspective Inc., a SAR satellite data and analytic solution provider, announced a Launch Agreement with the German launch services provider, Exolaunch, to launch the second demonstration satellite “StriX-β” on a Soyuz-2  launch vehicle from Vostochny Cosmodrome in Russia in late 2021.    

StriX-β is the second demonstration satellite following Strix-α. It is aimed to demonstrate “InSAR (Interferometric SAR)” technology in orbit, a special SAR analytics technique to detect millimeter-level displacements on the ground surface.

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Rogozin Says 29 Launches, Lunar Lander & New ISS Modules on the Manifest for 2021

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

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — General Director of the Roscosmos State Corporation for Space Activities Dmitry Rogozin reported to President Vladimir Putin on the corporation’s performance in 2020 and plans for the near term.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Rogozin, let us have an in-depth discussion on the corporation’s performance in 2020. The issues we will discuss include carrier rocket launches, the state of the orbital group, your plans, fundamental space research, and, of course, the financial indicators. Please, go ahead. 

General Director of Roscosmos Dmitry Rogozin: Mr. President, last year we posted good results overall. For a second year running since 1993, there were no accidents. This is certainly a positive indicator – I hope we will continue in the same manner – of improved discipline in the sector as a whole and the reliability of our rocket and space technology.

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Russia Achieves Clean Launch Record for Second Year in Row

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

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — The outgoing year 2020 has become a difficult test for the entire world marked by the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Many world economic players have encountered objective difficulties in the implementation of previously outlined plans.

Unfortunately, Roscosmos also had to correct a number of plans, including those related to launch activities. Nevertheless, Roscosmos management put the quality of production and the safety of personnel working at the Russian rocket and space industry enterprises and cosmodromes at the forefront.

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Dmitry Rogozin Wishes Everyone a Happy New Year, Looks Toward Busy 2021

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

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — Dmitry Rogozin, Roscosmos Director General, wishes a Happy New Year!

“We see off this year and welcome 2021 with high hopes. We hope that the Vostochny Cosmodrome will start operating at full capacity,” Rogozin said.

In 2021, Roscosmos expects to ensure the new Nauka orbital module launch to the International Space Station from the Baikonur Cosmodrome and send the Luna-25 automatic interplanetary station from the Vostochny Cosmodrome to Earth’s natural satellite.

According to the head of Roscosmos, 2020 was a difficult year for the Russian rocket and space industry due to the coronavirus pandemic restrictions in the world and Russia in particular.

“Nevertheless, Russia’s rocket and space industry worked uninterrupted. We ensured all our planned launches, including crewed launches from Baikonur,” Rogozin noted.

Next year, apart from Luna-25, Roscosmos plans to carry out about six launches of the British OneWeb communications satellites from Vostochny. In 2020, only one rocket launch took place from this cosmodrome – on December 18, 36 spacecraft of the OneWeb satellite company went into orbit.

In total, in 2020, Roscosmos conducted 17 launches of space rockets from the Baikonur, Plesetsk, Vostochny and Guiana spaceports.

Soyuz Rocket Deploys 36 OneWeb Satellites on Arianespace’s First Mission from Vostochny Cosmodrome

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

VOSTOCHNY COSMODROME, Russia (Arianespace PR) — OneWeb’s fourth launch overall -the third for 2020- is the first to be conducted with Soyuz by Arianespace from the Vostochny Cosmodrome in Russia.

By successfully placing 36 new OneWeb constellation satellites into orbit, Arianespace resumed the deployment of this client’s satellite network, which now is composed of 110 satellites in low Earth orbit.

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Fourth Flight for OneWeb will be First Arianespace Mission from Vostochny Cosmodrome

OneWeb satellites being prepared for launch aboard a Soyuz-2.1b booster from the Vostochny Cosmodrome. (Credit: Roscosmos)

VOSTOCHNY COSMODROME, Russia (Arianespace PR) — OneWeb – the global satellite communications company based in the UK – resumes flights.

This 53rd Soyuz mission conducted by Arianespace and its Starsem affiliate will be operated from Vostochny Cosmodrome and represents OneWeb’s fourth launch overall and the third for this year.

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Russia Prepares to Launch OneWeb Satellites From its Spaceport of the Future

OneWeb satellites being prepared for launch aboard a Soyuz-2.1b booster from the Vostochny Cosmodrome. (Credit: Roscosmos)

Russia is preparing for launch number six from the troubled and little used Vostochny Cosmodrome in the nation’s Far East.

A Soyuz-2.1b rocket is set to launch 36 OneWeb satellites on Dec. 18. The new batch of satellites will add to the 74 OneWeb spacecraft previously launched.

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Russian Space Facilities Director Fired in Continued Shakeup Related to Vostochny

Ruslan Mukhamedzhanov (Credit: Roscomsos)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

The previously reprimanded head of the Russian company that oversees Russia’s ground-based space infrastructure has been fired in a continuing shakeup related to schedule delays and alleged corruption at the Vostochny Cosmodrome.

The Board of Directors of the Center for Operation of Ground-Based Space Infrastructure Facilities (TsENKI) voted to relieve General Director Andrei Okhlopkov from his post beginning on Nov. 27. A month earlier, Roscosmos head Dmitry Rogozin had reprimanded him during a visit to Vostochmy.

Okhlopkov had been the head of TsENKI since June 2018. The board replaced him with Ruslan Mukhamedzhanov, a 20-year TsENKI employee who most recently headed up the company’s Barmin Research Institute of Launch Complexes.

TsENKI is responsible for the creation of ground space infrastructure and manages Russian cosmodromes. The company, which is part of Roscosmos, employs more than 12,000 people.

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Vostochny Continues Preparations to Resume OneWeb Satellite Launches in December

Equipment arrives for the fourth launch of OneWeb satellites. (Credit: Roscosmos)

BLAGOVESHCHENSK, Russia (Roscosmos PR) — At the Vostochny cosmodrome, intensive preparations are continuing for the upcoming launch of the Soyuz-2.1b launch vehicle with the Fregat upper stage and a new batch of 36 OneWeb spacecraft. Today, November 2, 2020, a special aircraft with ground support equipment and two foreign customer dispensers for devices arrived at the Ignatievo airport in Blagoveshchensk.

Specialists of the Vostochny Space Center (a branch of the Center for Operation of Ground-Based Space Infrastructure Facilities, part of the Roscosmos State Corporation) accepted the cargo, provided support for the unloading, installation on vehicles and transportation of equipment to the technical complex of the Vostochny cosmodrome, as well as unloading at the warehouse blocks.

Equipment arrives for the fourth launch of OneWeb satellites. (Credit: Roscosmos)

The next operation is scheduled for November 3 – this is the removal of equipment from containers and placing it in the workplace. The dispenser is an integral part of the spacecraft – it is a transitional link between the upper stage and spacecraft.

At present, the specialists of the Vostochny Space Center at the technical complex are preparing technological equipment for refueling the Fregat upper stage with propellant components. Electrical tests of the upper stage are underway in the spacecraft assembly and test building.