RSC Energia Plans to Launch CubeSats From Progress Cargo Ships

Rocket and Space Corporation (RSC) Energia (a part of Roscosmos) has plans to involve the leading Russian scientific centers and universities into a project to launch small Cubesat satellites using cargo transportation spacecraft Progress MS.

The project calls for installation of special containers for insertion of small spacecraft into their target orbit on the outer surface of a cargo spacecraft. These might be commercial, educational or applied satellites with the size of up to 6U. Cargo spacecraft Progress MS are launched on a regular basis three times a year within the framework of logistics support for the International Space Station (ISS).

The work is done within the framework of the ISS Russian Segment commercialization effort. Foreign customers may also take part in the program on a commercial basis.

The altitude of the satellite injection orbit is 260-410 km, and its inclination is 51.6 deg. Furthermore, when the spacecraft is in free flight, the orbit can be raised up to 500 km.

A group of RSC Energia specialists, young employees of the company – members of the Committee for Innovation Projects of Young People (CIPYP), have already begun the development of the necessary launch infrastructure, which was discussed in November of 2016 during a session “Optimization of Work on Preparing Space Experiments in Launching Small Spacecraft” within the framework of development of the State Corporation Roscosmos production system.

RSC Energia is the leader in the rocket and space industry, and the prime contractor for manned space systems. The Corporation conducts work on the development of unmanned space and rocket systems (launch vehicles and orbital transfer vehicles), and high-technology systems for various non-space applications. Since August 2014, the Corporation is headed by Vladimir Solntsev.

Committee for Innovation Projects of Young People (CIPYP) of RSC Energia was set up in early 2016. It is a network bringing together specialists and managers from different units. The main criterion for selection of the projects to be implemented is their potential marketability.

ROSCOSMOS is a State Corporation established in August of 2015 in order to conduct a comprehensive reform of the rocket and space industry in Russia. State Corporation Roskosmos assures implementation of the Government policies in the field of space activities and provides for them a legal and regulatory framework, as well as places orders for the development, production and delivery of space hardware and space infrastructure facilities. The functions of the State Corporation also include development of international cooperation in space, and creating conditions for using results of space activities in social and economic development of Russia.