The Second Life of the Gagarin Start Launch Complex

Gagarin Start launch complex at Baikonur Cosmodrome. (Credit: Roscosmos)

Translated from Russian by Google Translate

BAIKONUR COSMODROME, Kazakhstan (Roscosmos PR) — The place where modern cosmonautics was born is known for sure: it is the legendary “Gagarin Launch”, site No. 1 of the Baikonur cosmodrome. It was here that the launch of the first satellite opened the Space Age of mankind. It was from here that Yuri Gagarin ascended into orbit on April 12, 1961.

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Russia, Kazakhstan Move Forward on Baiterek Launch Complex Redevelopment

Soyuz 5 launch vehicle

NUR-SULTAN, Kazakhstan (Roscosmos PR) — The seventh meeting of the Russian-Kazakh intergovernmental commission on the Baikonur complex, chaired by the Deputy Prime Ministers of Russia and Kazakhstan, respectively, Yuri Borisov and Roman Sklyar, was held in Nur-Sultan (Kazakhstan) on December 13, 2021.

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Russian Cosmonaut to Fly on SpaceX Crew Dragon

Anna Kikina (Credit: Roscosmos)

Anna Kikina will fly to the International Space Station (ISS) aboard a future SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft, marking the first time a Russian cosmonaut will fly on the new American vehicle. In return, an American will fly aboard a Soyuz spacecraft.

Roscosmos General Director Dmitry Rogozin made the announcement in a Twitter post on Wednesday. It will be the first spaceflight for Kikina, who is Russia’s only active female cosmonaut.

Although Rogozin didn’t mention Crew Dragon by name, SpaceX’s vehicle is the only one currently flying. Boeing is experiencing significant delays in getting its CST-100 Starliner operational.

It is not clear when Kikina will fly on Crew Dragon. Neither Roscosmos nor NASA has made an official announcement of her assignment to a mission.

Dmitry Rogozin Proposes the Creation of an Eurasian Space Agency

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

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — “I would like us to discuss the issue of creating the Eurasian Space Agency today,” suggested the head of Roscosmos, Dmitry Rogozin.

His idea was supported by all forum participants.

The Business Forum of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) “Space Integration” is taking place in Moscow. It discusses issues of digitalization of the rocket and space industry in the EAEU space, the prospects for industrial cooperation, as well as the use of the results of space activities in the interests of the socio-economic development of the EAEU countries and the prospects for cooperation in the field of fundamental and applied space sciences.

Editor’s Note: EAEU is composed of the following nations:

  • Armenia
  • Belarus
  • Kazakhstan
  • Kyrgyzstan
  • Russia
  • Uzbekistan
  • Moldova (observer)
  • Cuba (observer).

All but one of the above countries are former Soviet republics. The former republics not on the list include:

  • Azerbaijan
  • Estonia
  • Georgia
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Tajikistan
  • Turkmenistan
  • Ukraine.

Estonia joined the European Space Agency (ESA) as a full member in 2015. Latvia and Lithuania are associate members of ESA, which is a step toward becoming a full member. Ukraine signed a cooperation agreement with ESA in 2008.

Dmitry Rogozin Spoke About Promising Projects of Roscosmos

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

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — Roscosmos Director General Dmitry Rogozin spoke about promising projects in the Russian rocket and space industry during his December 3, 2021 speech at the First ‘Space Integration’ Business Forum of the Eurasian Economic Union.

On the Angara-1.2 light carrier rocket launch timing
‘We will launch the light Angara in the first half of the next year.’

On modernization of the Zenit launch complex for the prospective Soyuz-5 rocket (Baiterek space rocket complex)
‘Physical work on the Baiterek complex will begin in March next year. All necessary documents have been agreed upon.’

On the first launch of the Soyuz-5 rocket
‘The rocket (Soyuz-5) will be able to fly in December 2023.’

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Prichal Module Docks with International Space Station

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

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — On Friday, November 26, 2021, at 18:19:39 Moscow time, the Progress M-UM cargo module cargo vehicle successfully docked to the Russian segment of the International Space Station. Progress delivered to the ISS the Prichal docking node, the second Russian module, which was added to the station in 2021.

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Russian Defense Ministry Boasts of ASAT Accuracy, Dismisses Orbital Debris Risk & Blames United States for Militarizing Space

Location of the 24,000 debris larger than 10 cm in low orbit in 2020. (Credits: NASA)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Despite condemnation from Western governments, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu seemed rather pleased with the results of an anti-missile test (ASAT) test that destroyed a defunct Soviet satellite, scattered more than 1,500 pieces of debris in Earth orbit, and endangered the seven-member crew of the International Space Station (ISS). TASS reports:

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Last Week in the Dmitrys: Roscosmos, Glavkosmos Bosses Talk SpaceX, Tourism and More

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

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

The International Astronautical Congress wrapped up last week in Dubai. Roscosmos Director General Dmitry Rogozin and Glavkosmos boss Dmitry Loskutov held forth during the conference on SpaceX, space tourism and other topics.

Roscosmos is the state-owned corporation that runs Russia’s space program. Glavkosmos is Roscosmos’ commercial arm.

Cosmonauts to fly on Crew Dragon: Rogozin said SpaceX’s Crew Dragon now has enough flights under its belt for Russian cosmonauts to fly aboard it. Crew Dragon has flown three crews to the International Space Station (ISS) and a group of amateur astronauts on a three-day orbital flight. Roscosmos and NASA will pursue a barter agreement that will allow U.S. astronauts to fly on Russian Soyuz spacecraft. Before Crew Dragon began flights, NASA was paying Roscosmos $90 million per seat to fly its astronauts to ISS.

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Vladimir Putin to Roscosmos: Do More with Less

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

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Russian President Vladimir Putin has Roscosmos taken to task for failing to compete a series of goals even as his government prepares to cut the budget of the Roscosmos state corporation that runs the nation’s space program by more than $500 million.

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Filming for Russian “Challenge” Movie Continues on Space Station

Credit: Roscosmos

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — Usually Saturday and Sunday for the crew of the International Space Station are days off. 

Astronauts can do their own business at their own discretion – read books, watch films, respond to messages from subscribers on social networks or “live” letters delivered on board the International Space Station using “space” mail, communicate with family and friends by calling the Earth, play sports outside of the compulsory physical activity. 

Meanwhile, the crew of the scientific and educational project “Challenge” consisting of actress Yulia Peresild and director Klim Shipenko continues to work – it is already the fourth shooting day of the project in near-earth orbit. 

In the evening, October 8, 2021, Dmitry Rogozin, General Director of the State Corporation Roscosmos, held a video session with the crew of the Call project on board the International Space Station. Russian doctors note the good health of the space flight participants. 

As a reminder, Roskosmos cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov, as well as space flight participants – actress Peresild and director Shipenko – went to the ISS on the Soyuz MS-19 manned transport spacecraft from the Baikonur cosmodrome on October 5, 2021. The spacecraft docked to the Dawn module of the International Space Station almost 3.5 hours after launch. The return of the crew to Earth is expected next Sunday.

Russia Moves to Suppress News of Corruption at Roscosmos, Military Services

Vladimir Putin receives a briefing from Roscosmos General Director Dmitry Rogozin. (Credit: Office of the Russian President)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Do you remember all those stories about corruption and theft at Roscomos’ new Vostochny spaceport? How about the one about the construction manager who was arrested driving around in diamond-encrusted Mercedes? Or how one in every five rubles allocated for the Russia’s military-industrial complex is lost to waste, fraud and abuse?

Well, after years of not entirely successful attempts to clean up these embarrassing problems, the government of Vladimir Putin has hit upon a new strategy: suppress all news of them. The Moscow Times reports the Federal Security Service, a successor organization to the KGB, has published a 60-point list of information that “foreign states, organizations and citizens can use against Russia’s security.”

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Russia, Kazakhstan Sign Agreement to Build Soyuz-5 Launch Complex at Baikonur

TASS reports that Russia and Kazakhstan have agreed to construct a new launch complex for the Soyuz-5 and Soyuz-6 rockets at the latter’s Baikonur Cosmodrome. Kazakhstan will be responsible for ground infrastructure while Russia will develop the new launch vehicles.

The construction will take place at the Baiterek launch facility that previously was to be modernized for launching Zenit boosters. Zenit is a rocket largely built in Ukraine but had elements supplied in Russia. Cooperation on the Zenit program ended after Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimea region and invaded the country.

Being developed by JSC Progress, the Soyuz-5 booster is designed to replace the Zenit-2 and Proton-M booster and serve as the base for a super heavy-lift launcher that will match the capabilities of the retired Energia rocket. Soyuz-5 will be capable of lifting satellites weighting 18 metric tons or crewed spacecraft weighing 15.5 metric tons to low Earth orbit.

There isn’t much public information available on the Soyuz-6 rocket. The new booster will apparently be a shortened version of the Soyuz-5 booster.

Roscosmos General Director Dmitry Rogozin Invites Elon Musk to View Launch at Baikonur Cosmodrome

Roscosmos is launching actress Yulia Peresild and director Klim Shipenko to film a movie named “Challenge” on the International Space Station. The Soyuz spacecraft will be commanded by cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov. Rogozin has snagged a producer credit.

Tunisia to Send Female Cosmonaut to Space on Russian Soyuz Spacecraft

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — On Friday, August 13, 2021, in the city of Moscow, a working meeting was held between Dmitry Rogozin, Director General of the Roscosmos State Corporation, and Muhammad Friha, Director General of the Tunisian company Telnet Holding, with the participation of Tarak bin Salem, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Tunisian Republic to the Russian Federation.

The President of the Republic of Tunisia, Kais Said, also took part in the meeting in a remote format, praising the Russian-Tunisian cooperation in the field of space and noting that Russia and Tunisia have great opportunities for the implementation of mutually beneficial joint projects.

During the meeting, the parties discussed the prospects for Russian-Tunisian cooperation in the field of manned space flights, in particular, the intentions of the Tunisian side to train and launch a woman cosmonaut into space.

The meeting resulted in the signing of a joint Memorandum of Understanding on bilateral cooperation in the field of manned space flights.

Russia Switches to Year-Long Space Station Missions, Doubles Up on Tourist Flights as NASA Gravy Train Ends

This image shows the planned configuration of six iROSA solar arrays intended to augment power on the International Space Station. The roll-up arrays arrive on the SpaceX-22 resupply mission. (Credits: NASA/Johnson Space Center/Boeing)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Roscosmos General Director Dmitry Rogozin has said that Russia will extend cosmonaut mission to the International Space Station (ISS) from six to 12 months in order to gather data needed for missions to the moon and Mars.

“We are talking about stable operations that will be carried out as part of yearly expeditions. Now this will be placed on a systemic basis with the corresponding system of biomedical researches. Year-long expeditions are what we need,” Rogozin said.

Well, that sounds good. Far sighted, even visionary. That’s what makes it so odd; these are not words normally associated with the Roscosmos boss. Something else seems to be going on here.

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