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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Bridenstine Responds to Rogozin’s Complaint that Artemis Program is “Too American-centric”

Shared Standards are a Vital Part of Future Space Exploration

Statement by NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine

Jim Bridenstine (Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls)

I am in agreement with Director General Rogozin and Roscosmos that shared standards are a vital part of future space exploration. Specifically, one of the core principles of the Artemis Accords is interoperability. Via the Accords, the U.S. is proactively asking any partner nations that join us on the Artemis journey to focus on shared standards that will not just include docking, but data formatting and transfer, communications, navigation, environmental control and life support, and numerous other important systems and operations. The U.S. and its commercial and international partners look forward to working with the international community to ensure that interoperability and shared standards are the cornerstone of future space architectures, including the Gateway and other aspects of the Artemis program.

Additionally, we also believe in continuing the multilateral approach that has been successfully established by the International Space Station (ISS). The ISS has not only advanced technology, but helped us to learn how to effectively work together with a variety of cultures and countries. This is why we’re using the Intergovernmental Agreement (the IGA) which is the ISS’s legal framework for Gateway. The Gateway partners are agreeing to leverage the IGA for the outpost’s operations through a series of MOUs with participating nations. In order to build as broad a coalition as possible, we shared a draft of the proposed Gateway MOU with Roscosmos in November of last year, and we remain open and interested in receiving their feedback on the document and our general approach of utilizing the ISS’s IGA for the Gateway.

Rogozin Say NASA’s Artemis Plans “too American-centric,” See “Great Prospects” for Chinese Cooperation

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

Translated from Russian

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — Dmitry Rogozin, General Director of the State Corporation Roscosmos, took part in the 71st International Astronautical Congress, which takes place from 12 to 14 October 2020. Due to the epidemiological situation, the congress is being held online for the first time in 70 years of its existence. In his opening remarks, Dmitry Rogozin emphasized the importance of international cooperation in space.

“With regard to the International Space Station, we are negotiating with partners in the program to extend the life of the station until 2028 or 2030. There are various scenarios and options for the further development of the ISS. For our part, we are ready to consider any option offered by our partners and make a joint agreed decision, “the head of Roscosmos said, stressing that the State Corporation is firmly committed to guaranteeing the preservation of Russia’s place in low Earth orbit, regardless of the decisions made regarding service life of the ISS.

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Rogozin Tours Sea Launch Platform, Discusses Future Space Activities with Primorsky Krai Governor

Roscosmos General Director Dmitry Rogozin (center) tours Sea Launch facilities. (Credit: Roscosmos)

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PRs) — Roscosmos management headed by its Director General Dmitry Rogozin together with the specialists from Russian space industry enterprises, as well as S7 Space company, estimated the amount of work required to get the Odyssey sea launch platform ready for Soyuz-5 and Soyuz-6 perspective carrier rocket launches. The launch vehicles are currently being designed in Progress Rocket and Space Center (Samara, part of Roscosmos).

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Roscosmos Official: U.S.-Russian Space Cooperation Deteriorating

Roscosmos boss Dmitry Rogozin meets with Russia’s boss of bosses, President Vladimir Putin. (Credit: Russian President’s Office)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Although Russian President Vladimir Putin is apparently U.S. President Donald Trump’s favorite autocratic ruler, cooperation between the two nations on future space projects are breaking down, a high-ranking Roscosmos official said.

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Head of Russian Human Spaceflight Yevgeny Mikrin Passes Away from COVID-19

Yevgeny Mikrin (Credit: Roscosmos)

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — With great sadness, Roscosmos announces the passing of Yevgeny Mikrin, Rocket and Space Corporation Energia Designer General – First Deputy Director General, Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Professor, Doctor of Technical Sciences, Soviet and Russian scientist in mechanics and control processes. Yevgeny Mikrin was 65.

His passing is an irreparable loss for Russia’s rocket and space industry, as well as the country’s science.

Yevgeny Mikrin was an outstanding scientist, designer and organizer who immensely contributed into developing the crewed and cargo spacecraft control system development, multimodule space complexes, automatic spacecraft of various purposes. Since 1981 he has worked for Energia.

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Rogozin Crows About a Year Without an Anomaly

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

Roscosmos Director General Dmitry Rogozin is taking a bow for the state corporation’s successful 2019 launch campaign, which was the first since 2003 to not record a single partial or complete failure.

An Interfax report highlighted one under appreciated advantage of not losing satellites year after year.

Rogozin said the year 2019 was not an easy one for global aerospace insurers from the angle of indemnities. European insurers were affected by the failed launch of the Vega satellite in summer 2019, their U.S. colleagues incurred losses from incidents involving low-orbit crewed ships, and there were also unsuccessful missions in China.

Rogozin assured Russian insurers and Western reinsurance companies that Roscosmos “will stay committed to the policy of transparency” in their interaction.

For instance, Roscosmos will be holding traditional annual meetings with aerospace insurers, and three international meetings will be arranged abroad in 2020. The developing dialogue between Roscosmos and the insurers “will allow them to discuss a package insurance agreement,” Rogozin said.

He invited insurers to visit Vostochny Cosmodrome in the middle of this spring.

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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Putin Angered by Continued Corruption at Vostochny Cosmodrome

Russian President Vladimir Putin tours Vostochny Cosmodrome in September 2019. (Crredit: Roscosmos)

Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose net worth is reportedly to be as high as $200 billion, is shocked — repeat, shocked — by the scale of the embezzlement during construction of the $1.4 billion Vostochny spaceport. Tass reports

A total of 11 billion rubles (about $169 million) were stolen during the construction of the Vostochny spaceport in the Russian Far East and only 3.5 billion rubles ($53.8 million) were returned to the state coffers, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Monday….

According to Peskov, “at the first stage, 128 criminal cases were opened, which were later consolidated into 32 criminal cases and at the next stage the Investigative Committee singled out 21 cases and transferred them to the court of law and 18 persons were sentenced at the time,” Peskov said…

The Russian leader spoke about the need to ensure strict, purposeful and transparent spending of budget funds in the defense sphere and noted that he had numerously made similar demands in other areas, including the construction of Russia’s first civilian spaceport in the Far East.

“It has been stated a hundred times: you must work transparently because large funds are allocated. This project is actually of the national scope! But, despite this, hundreds of millions, hundreds of millions [of rubles] are stolen! Several dozen criminal cases have already been opened, the courts have already passed verdicts and some are serving their prison terms. However, things have not been put in order there the way it should have been done,” the Russian president said.

Putin can’t really be that shocked by this situation. For 20 years, he has presided over a country where corruption runs rampant. Putin has diverted billions from the state for the benefit of himself and his allies.

One wonders whether Roscosmos Director General Dmitry Rogozin’s job is on the line. The former deputy prime minister took over as head of the Russian space corporation in May 2018.

While serving as deputy prime minister, Rogozin had overseen Russia’s space and military agencies. During that period, corruption on the Vostochny spaceport was rampant and the nation suffered a long string of launch failures.

Turkey Looks to Send Astronaut to Space Station with Russians

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — On October 31, 2019, Roscosmos State Corporation Director General Dmitry Rogozin met with Turkish Ambassador to Russia Mehmet Samsar.

The parties discussed the topical questions of the mutually beneficial cooperation in space, noting the high potential and importance of the subject in the Russo-Turkish relations.

The meeting resulted in an agreement to start preparing a frame intergovernmental agreement between the countries on space. The Turkish delegation also reconfirmed the plans mentioned earlier to organize Turkish cosmonaut training in the Zvyozdny gorodok.

Russia Signs Agreement to Fly Saudi Astronaut to ISS

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — Roscosmos State Corporation Director General Dmitry Rogozin took part in the state delegation headed by the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin during a state visit to Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates.

During the trip to Abu-Dhabi the Head of Roscosmos met with Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre management and the first UAE astronaut Hazzaa Al Mansoori, who has recently returned to Earth after his flight to the ISS as part of the international crew. Hazzaa Al Mansoori stayed at the ISS from September 25 to October 3, 2019.

The meeting participants noted that the first UAE astronaut flight is a historical event not only for his homeland, but also for the whole region.

Moreover, during the visit of Vladimir Putin to Riyadh, Roscosmos and Saudi Arabia signed an agreement of cooperation in crewed spaceflights and global satellite navigation system GLONASS. Among other things, the agreement allows for launching a Saudi Arabian cosmonaut to the International Space Station.

Russia Mourns Passing of World’s First Spacewalker, Alexey Leonov

Alexey Leonov (Credit Rocosmos)

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — Roscosmos State Corporation is sad to announce the passing away of Alexey Arkhipovich Leonov.

The legendary Soviet cosmonaut No. 11 was the first human in the world to perform a spacewalk, was twice awarded with Hero of the Soviet Union title.

One of the first cosmonauts of the world space era, Alexey Leonov was committed to his Motherland and his cause, his name is lettered in gold in the world space exploration history.

Roscosmos State Corporation management and employees express deep condolences to the friends and relatives of Alexey Leonov. A telegram with condolences was sent to the friends and relatives on behalf of Roscosmos Director General Dmitry Rogozin.

Alexey Leonov was 85 years old.

The visitation with Alexey Leonov will be on Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2019, at Mytishchi Military Memorial cemetery, at 08:00 UTC.

China Launch Surge Left U.S., Russia Behind in 2018

Long March 2F rocket in flight carrying Shenzhou-11. (Credit: CCTV)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

The year 2018 was the busiest one for launches in decades. There were a total of 111 completely successful launches out of 114 attempts. It was the highest total since 1990, when 124 launches were conducted.

China set a new record for launches in 2018. The nation launched 39 times with 38 successes in a year that saw a private Chinese company fail in the country’s first ever orbital launch attempt.

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Vladimir Putin Tours Vostochny Cosmodrome

Russian President Vladimir Putin gets a briefing on the progress of Vostochny Cosmodrome in September 2019. (Credit: Roscosmos)

TSIOLKOVSKY, Russia (Roscomos PR) — The President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin visited Amur Oblast and held a meeting to discuss the matters of the Vostochny Cosmodrome infrastructure development, as well as on perspective rocket complexes.

Right before the meeting, the President visited the Cosmodrome itself to inspect the objects and get acquainted with the status of the Angara space rocket launch complex construction.

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