News From Skolkovo Space Cluster

SkolkovoA brief roundup of recent news from the Skolkovo Space Cluster outside Moscow:

Dauria Aerospace Satellite Contract. Aniara SpaceCom LLC of India has signed a $210 million contract with Dauria Aerospace for two all-electric Ku-band telecommunications satellites.  The plan is to launch the satellites on an Indian Geostationary Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) rocket in late 2017.

The purchase is being funded through a direct loan from the Export Insurance Agency of Russia (ExIAR). Aniara also has agreed to market Dauria’s small geosynchronous satellite platform.

Cooperation with India comes as Dauria winds down its operations in Europe and the United States. Company officials say that Western sanctions over Ukraine have made it difficult to raise money in those areas.

ScanEx R&D Center. Russia’s top Earth-observing company, ScanEx, has signed an agreement to establish a 250 million ruble ($4 million) research and development center at Skolkovo.

The R&D center will give ScanEx the opportunity to collaborate with Skolkovo companies and individuals that are involved with remote sensing.

Krikalev Joins Faculty. Retired cosmonaut Sergei Krikalev, who holds the record of 803 days in space, has joined the faculty of the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology. He will focus on the development of new educational course and research programs at the university, which is a joint collaboration with MIT.

Krikalev, 56, flew into space six times, serving aboard the Soviet space station Mir and the International Space Station. (ISS). In 1994, he became the first Russian cosmonaut to fly aboard the American space shuttle. In 2000, he was a crew member aboard the Expedition 1 mission, the first long-duration stay aboard ISS.