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.

On February 28, the Russian hydrometeorological satellite Arktika-M was launched into a highly elliptical orbit, which carries out all-weather monitoring of the surface of the Arctic region of the Earth and the seas of the Arctic Ocean.

Under the commercial contracts of Roscosmos, within the framework of cooperation with Arianespace and Starsem (France), Soyuz-2 missiles from the Baikonur and Vostochny cosmodromes carried out seven launches during the year, with the help of which 284 OneWeb satellites were successfully launched into near-earth orbits.

Soyuz-2 launches 34 OneWeb satellites. (Credit: Arianespace)

In addition, in the interests of the European Space Agency, two devices of the Galileo global navigation satellite system were launched from the Guiana Space Center using the Soyuz-ST-B rocket, and the CAS500-1 device was launched from the Baikonur cosmodrome on March 20 by the Soyuz-2 rocket. in the interests of the Korean Aerospace Research Institute with 34 foreign and 4 Russian vehicles as an associated payload.

Flights under the ISS program

Three manned Soyuz MS spacecraft, as well as three Progress MS cargo spacecraft, were dispatched under the ISS program in 2021. The launch of the manned spacecraft Yu.A. Gagarin “(Soyuz MS-18) in honor of the sixtieth anniversary of the first manned flight into space.

Credit: Roscosmos

The launch of the next spacecraft, Soyuz MS-19, on October 5 became unique. The spacecraft was launched with two non-professional cosmonauts on board: actress Yulia Peresild and director Klim Shipenko, as part of the Challenge scientific and educational project jointly with Channel One. As part of the project, the Russians for the first time in the world filmed a feature film in outer space.

The third trip to the ISS in 2021 also became unusual: on December 8, under a contract with Space Adventures, the Soyuz MS-20 manned spacecraft was launched with Japanese space travelers – “space tourists”. With this launch, Roscosmos resumed tourist flights into space after a 12-year hiatus.

Spaceflight participant Yozo Hiro, Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin and spaceflight participant Yusaku Maezawa. (Credit: Roscosmos)

To maintain the functioning of the ISS and ensure the presence of at least one Roscosmos cosmonaut and at least one NASA astronaut at the station, a draft Agreement on the implementation of the agreement between Roscosmos State Corporation and NASA on the organization of cross flights of integrated crews on the basis. The first flight of the integrated crew is planned for the second half of 2022.

Completion of the formation of the Russian segment of the ISS

Nauka module docked at the International Space Station. (Credit: Roscosmos)

In 2021, the formation of the Russian segment of the ISS was completed. The launch into orbit and the inclusion in the ISS of the multipurpose laboratory module “Nauka” on July 29 made it possible to significantly expand the possibilities for habitability and conducting space experiments. It is assumed that the module will be able to function effectively as part of the ISS until 2030.

Progress M-UM with Prichal node module approaches the International Space Station. (Credit: NASA)

The launch on November 24 of the Prichal nodal module as part of the Progress M-UM cargo vehicle-module, which was successfully docked to the Nauka module of the ISS Russian segment, completed the formation of the Russian segment of the International Space Station. It is a spherical compartment to which up to five objects can be docked. The module is equipped with the equipment of the Kurs-P system, a docking and control system, a TV camera unit and rigging elements for re-docking facilities. In addition, it was equipped with equipment for the transit transfer of fuel to other modules and handrails for the work of astronauts in open space.