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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Officials Arrested in Alleged Vostochny Embezzlement, Bribery Scheme

Work on expanding Vostochny Cosmodrome has commenced. (Credit: Roscosmos)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

The Russian government says corruption has resurfaced at the Vostochny Cosmodrome despite years of efforts to get the problem under control.

Two government officials have been arrested for their alleged involvement in an embezzlement and bribery scheme at the spaceport in the country’s Far East. Russia Today reports:

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Equipment Installation Begins for Angara Launch Complex at Vostochny Cosmodrome

VOSTOCHNY, RUSSIA (Roscosmos PR) — On Thursday, October 15, 2020, the installation of technological equipment began at the Angara launch site of the Vostochny cosmodrome. The Vostochny Space Center (a branch of the Center for Operation of Ground-Based Space Infrastructure Facilities, part of the Roscosmos State Corporation) transported large tanks for storing naphthyl from the storage site of the Industrial Construction and Operational Base to the construction site, where the contractor’s specialists began their installation. The tanks are part of the naphthyl filling system.

This is not the first installation of technological equipment at the launch site of the Angara space rocket complex. On December 25, 2019, specialists from TsENKI and contractors completed the installation of large-sized tanks for storing oxygen and nitrogen ahead of schedule. In ten days, in the most difficult weather conditions, 9 unique containers with a volume of 250 m3, each weighing 92 tons and a length of 36 meters, were transported and installed to the construction site.

Ground-processing equipment for the construction of the Angara launch complex has been supplied to the TsENKI branch – Vostochny Space Center since September 2018. Already at the East there are components of 18 systems.

For the storage of ground-processing equipment, the TsENKI branch prepared 5 storage locations on the territory of the Industrial Construction and Operational Base with an area of ​​more than 70,000 m2: these are open areas for storing bulky cargo, and warehouses with the required temperature and humidity conditions. A special site has also been prepared at the launch site itself for unloading and storing equipment.

Angara Launch Pad Arrives at Vostochny Cosmodrome

Inaugural Angara A5 launch (Credit: Khrunichev)

VOSTOCHNY COSMODROME, Russia (Roscosmos PR) — On September 3, 2020, the Angara space rocket complex launch pad and vacuum unit arrived at Amur Gas Processing Plant.

The operations to unload and transport the equipment from the temporary berth to the Vostochny Cosmodrome will be performed stage by stage and take four days. The vacuum unit of more than 9 meters in diameter, as well as the launch pad bulky parts will be moved on seven hauling rigs.

The transportation process will be done mostly at night not to interfere with road traffic. The convoy will cover the 60-kilometer route under escort. The launch pad elements will be unloaded at the storage site and will be installed in November 2020 in accordance with the schedule adopted by Roscosmos. The vacuum unit will be transported to the technical unit depot where it will be installed for future operation.

The launch pad and vacuum unit for Angara were sent to Vostochny on the Barents vessel from Severodvinsk on July 17, 2020. The bulky equipment weighing over 2,000 tons was delivered to the cosmodrome via the Northern Sea Route for the first time.

Roscosmos Explores Making Angara Booster Reusable

Inaugural Angara A5 launch (Credit: Khrunichev)

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — Roscosmos continues working to create Angara carrier rocket modifications for the Vostochny Cosmodrome.

On June 30, 2020, amendments to the Amur design and development work state contract were introduced. The amendments include the works to modernize and further develop Angara family (Angara-A5M being a modernized version of the Angara-A5 rocket), as well as higher load capacity Angara-A5V rocket draft project (with hydrogen-oxygen powered third stage). Given that, the Angara-A5VM variant will be reviewed with reusable stages.

A number of design improvements will be implemented by 2024 when flight tests due to begin. Among them there are cutting the rocket structure weight, rocket engine and control system modernization, as well as employing modern production and testing technologies.

ILS Names New President, Launch Opportunities

WASHINGTON, D.C., March 11, 2020 (ILS PR) — Today ILS International Launch Services, Inc. (ILS) announces the appointment of Tiphaine Louradour as President.

Tiphaine joins ILS with over two decades of Space Industry and management experience, most recently as President of Global Commercial Sales at United Launch Alliance (ULA). Prior to this role, Tiphaine held a number of positions of increasing responsibility in finance, risk management, strategy, commercial sales and marketing and also gained international business experience while serving as a consultant to international consulting firms in the US and Europe.

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Roscosmos Lays Out Plans to Transition to Angara Boosters

Inaugural Angara A5 launch (Credit: Khrunichev)

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — The management of the State Corporation “Roscosmos” considers the launch of production of the Angara launch vehicles at the Omsk “POLET” Production Association (a branch of the Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center and a part of Roscosmos) is a priority task for the Corporation.

Tight control is exercised over this year’s production of the first batch of the Angara LVs, as well as over their transfer to the customer – the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation. Until the reconstruction of the POLET plant is completed, the Khrunichev Center plans to produce two Angara-A5 heavy launch vehicles and one Angara-1.2 light LV per year.

In view of that, during the transition period, payload orbiting will be executed using partially the Proton-M launch vehicle, and partially the new Angara LVs. The target production capacity of Angara LVs will be eight heavy LVs and two light LVs per year.

Dmitry Rogozin Briefs Vladimir Putin on Vostochny Progress

Vladimir Putin

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — Roscosmos CEO Dmitry Rogozin briefed the President on the progress in the construction of the second stage of Vostochny Space Centre.

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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Rogozin, we met at Vostochny fairly recently, although several months have already passed, and discussed the issues of the industry’s development and the construction of the space centre. What has been done in the past period, which issues remain unresolved, and what is progressing as we agreed?

Roscosmos CEO Dmitry Rogozin: Mr President,

I would like to report on the construction of the second stage of Vostochny Space Centre. As you know, the first stage comprised the creation of the launch pad and a technical complex with infrastructure for the Soyuz 2 rocket. The second stage is for the Angara, a heavy load rocket. In accordance with your executive order, we are planning to have the first launch in 2023.

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Rogozin Promises Vladimir Putin to Double Launches to 45 This Year

At the meeting with General Director of the Roscosmos State Corporation for Space Activities Dmitry Rogozin. (Credit: Russian President’s Office)

MOSCOW (President Putin PR) — Vladimir Putin had a meeting with General Director of the Roscosmos State Corporation for Space Activities Dmitry Rogozin to discuss the performance and development plans for the space industry.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Rogozin, let us discuss the space industry’s performance last year and development plans.

General Director of the Roscosmos State Corporation for Space Activities Dmitry Rogozin: Mr President,

We were working to improve our performance in three fields. The first had to do with the choice of our development priorities. The second concerned the reduction of non-manufacturing expenses by at least 15 percent and increasing the corporation’s revenue by adopting new competences and entering new markets, about which I would like to speak later. We also needed to dramatically improve production discipline at the corporation and all the subordinate agencies. I have introduced a system of the officials’ personal responsibility for budget execution and have taken measures to reduce the corporation’s budget.

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Russia’s Angara A5 Booster has Serious Flaw

Angara A5 launch (Credit: Khrunichev)

If you are among the millions of space enthusiasts who have been losing sleep over why Russia’s new Angara rocket hasn’t flown in more than four years, be prepared to snooze soundly again.

Rueters reports that engineers have found a flaw in the engine of the Angara A5 booster that could cause it to explode in flight.

The issue with the Angara A5 was brought to attention by scientists at rocket engine manufacturer Energomash in a paper ahead of a space conference later this month.

The paper, reported by RIA news agency on Friday and published online, said the engines of the Angara A5 could produce low frequency oscillations that could ultimately destroy the rocket.

A special valve had been fitted to mitigate the issue, but in some cases the oscillations continued, it said. Energomash did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

The Angara A5 rocket is the most powerful of a family of boosters designed to replace the Proton and other launch vehicles currently in the Russian arsenal. The Angara series is based around a common first stage core with additional strap-on stages.

The Reuters story says that Russian President Vladimir Putin is eager to see the rocket start launching more frequently because it is vital to the nation’s national defense.

The Angara 1.2PP rocket made the maiden flight test of the series on July 9, 2014. The booster flew a suborbital mission carrying a mass simulator from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in Northern Russia.

Angara A5 flew was launched from Plesetsk five months later on Dec. 23, 2014. Using a Briz-M upper stage, the booster placed a mass simulator into geosynchronous orbit.

The Wikipedia page for Angara lists two launches of the Angara A1.2 and one flight of Angara A5P for 2019. There is one Angara A1.2 flight listed for 2020. However, it is not clear whether this schedule is still valid; it came from a schedule compiled in late 2017.











“Mutually Respectful Cooperation” Needed for Human Moon Missions, Rogozin Says

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

Roscomos State Space Corporation Director General Dmitry Rogozin said an international effort based on parity and “mutually respectful cooperation is needed to send humans back to the moon, TASS reports.

If the United States is unable to work on that basis, Russia will cooperate with other international partners, he added.

Rogozin added that Russia should be able to develop a system for human lunar flights by 2024.

“Today the Russian Federation has the sole space transport system so far. We have carrier rockets and manned spacecraft. Ballistics specialists of the Energia Rocket and Space Corporation have made calculations of our possibilities. In about 6-7 years, we will be able, using already the Angara-A5 rocket, in case that it blasts off from the Vostochny spaceport beginning from 2023-2024, we will be able, even using the current manned spacecraft, to ensure the permanently operating transport system capable of reaching the Moon and working in the lunar orbit,” the Roscosmos chief said.

Russian cosmonaut Sergei Ryazansky says that human missions to Mars should be undertaken as an international effort as well, TASS reports.

“Mars should become a global task. We should strive for it. The youth will join the effort, investments will come and, most importantly, the flight can be implemented, in principle. Another thing is that other technologies should be developed to make the flight quicker and safer and all of them will recoup investments in the Martian project because they will be in demand on Earth,” said Ryazansky, who called the moon an “intermediate step” toward the Red Planet.











Russia Places Proton Medium Development on Indefinite Hold

Proton variants (Credit: ILS)

SpaceNews reports that Russia has placed development of its Proton Medium rocket on indefinite hold. The booster was a lighter version of the Proton launch vehicle designed to compete directly with SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket.

In a statement to SpaceNews, [International Launch Services] said customers who have already contracted for a Proton Medium launch will be switched to the more powerful Proton Breeze M for no additional charge. ILS declined to say how many Proton Medium missions it has under contract. To date, only Paris-based satellite fleet operator Eutelsat has publicly announced booking a Proton Medium. Eutelsat made its Proton Medium reservation for an unnamed satellite as part of 2016 multi-launch agreement with ILS.

Khrunichev State Research and Production Center, the Moscow-based rocket builder that owns ILS, put Proton Medium development on hold as Russia weighs a speedier transition to the Angara family of rockets meant to replace Proton….

ILS, in its statement to SpaceNews, confirmed that Proton Medium development “has been placed on an indefinite hold” as Roscosmos conducts “an extensive review and analysis of the Russian space sector including the Proton and Angara launch systems.”

 











Angara Won’t Replace Proton Until 2024

Inaugural Angara A5 launch (Credit: Khrunichev)

It took Russia about 20 years to develop its Angara rocket. Now it appears it will take 10 years for the booster to fully replace the Proton rocket.

That’s the word from Yuri Koptev, who chairs the the science and engineering council of Rostec Corporation. He predicts the venerable Proton, which first flew in 1965, won’t be phased out in favor of Angara until 2024 at the earliest.
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Putin: Russia Needs “Breakthrough Success” in Space

Russian President Vladimir Putin meeting with executives of State Space Corporation ROSCOSMOS. (Credit: Russian Government)

Meeting with Executives of State Space Corporation Roscosmos

Vladimir Putin discussed plans for developing the missile and space industry and measures aimed at making the corporation more efficient with the executives of the State Space Corporation Roscosmos.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon.

I have invited you – this practically new Roscosmos team – to discuss plans for the development of the missile and space industry and specific decisions aimed at making your corporation more efficient.

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