Russia & China to Increase Space Cooperation

Tass reports that Russia and China plan to sign a cooperative agreement in the fall outlining increased cooperation across a range of space areas. Russia and China are also working to deepen cooperation with the BRICS nations, which include Brazil, India and South Africa.

As Glavkosmos explained, cooperation with Chinese partners envisages the following areas: the exploration of the Moon and outer space, space vehicles and ground infrastructure, hardware components and materials, the Earth’s remote sensing data.

Glavkosmos is also working with Chinese commercial partners on the issue of holding experiments aboard the International Space Station and providing the data of the Earth’s remote sensing from Russian satellites, the company said….

Specifically, Glavkosmos is holding preparations in Brazil for a tender for the delivery of space images to that country.

It was reported earlier that China was interested in buying the world’s most powerful Russian-made RD rocket engines produced by Energomash while Russian Space Systems showed interest in Chinese electronic components.

Russia and China are also working on making their GLONASS and BeiDou navigation satellite systems mutually complement each other and on installing adjusting ground-based stations on the territory of each other.

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Rogozin Bemoans Uncompetitive Russian Space Industry Amid Continued Anomalies

Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin. (Credit: A. Savin)
Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin. (Credit: A. Savin)

Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin has bluntly declared that the Russian space industry is uncompetitive with its American counterparts except in the crucial area of rocket engine development.

The harsh comments by Rogozin, who oversees the space and defense sectors, come amid continued quality control problems that affected two recent launches and a review of Roscosmos ordered by President Vladimir Putin.

Rogozin was unusually candid in his negative assessment of his nation’s space program.

“Our space industry has fallen behind the Americans ninefold. All of our ambitious projects require us to up productivity 150 percent – and even if we manage that, we will still never catch up with them,” Rogozin originally said to Interfax Friday.
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Global Space Economy Grew 9 Percent to $330 Billion Last Year

space_foundation_logoCOLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., July 7, 2015 (Space Foundation PR) – The Space Foundation today released the findings of its publication The Space Report 2015: The Authoritative Guide to Global Space Activity.

In 2014, the global space economy grew slightly more than 9 percent, reaching a total of $330 billion worldwide, up from 2013’s $302.5 billion. Together, commercial space activities made up 76 percent of the global space economy. The industry as a whole demonstrated a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of seven percent from 2005 to 2014, nearly doubling in size over the course of the decade.

U.S. government space spending went up slightly, 2.9 percent, from 2013 to 2014. The U.S. devoted 1.2 percent of the government’s national budget to space in 2014. During that year, U.S. government space spending made up more than half of what all governments around the world spent on space. Space expenditures by governments other than the U.S. grew 12.9 percent in 2014, in spite of decreases in budgets of international cooperative efforts such as the European Space Agency.
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Years of Failures Haunt Russian Space Program

Holy shi'ski! The rocket...it go KABOOMSKI! (Credit: Tsenki TV)
Proton rocket falls to Earth at Baikonur in July 2013. (Credit: Tsenki TV)

Sixteen botched launches in six years.

That’s the Russian space program’s sad record since May 2009. The failure of a Proton rocket earlier today with the loss of a Mexican communications satellite was yet another sign of the prolonged crisis affecting Russia’s once powerful space program.

The crash came less than three weeks after a botched launch left a Progress supply freighter spinning end over end like an extra point before it burned up in Earth atmosphere. There was also news today that another Progress cargo ship attached to the International Space Station failed to fire its engine as planned to boost the station’s orbit.

The list of Russian launch accidents over the last six years includes:

  • 13 complete failures resulting in the loss of all payloads;
  • 3 partial failures that left spacecraft in the wrong orbits;
  • complete loss of 20 spacecraft;
  • 6 Russian GLONASS navigation satellites destroyed; and,
  • an ambitious Mars mission left stranded in Earth orbit.

The table below shows the full extent of the damage.

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Russia Plans $70 Billion in Space Spending Through 2020

Roscosmos_logoRussia will spend about $70 billion on its space industry through the end of this decade in an effort to improve capabilities and foster innovation, according to media reports:

Russia will spend 2.1 trillion rubles (about $70 billion) under a state program for the development of the national space industry in 2013-2020, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said on Thursday….

“The program will enable our country to effectively participate in forward-looking projects, such the ISS [International Space Station], the study of the Moon, Mars and other celestial bodies in the solar system,” he said.

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Roscosmos Board Meets, Lays Out Future Space Plans

On March 6 the Federal Space Agency held a board meeting under the direction of the head of Russian Space Agency, V.A. Popovkin.

Agenda of the meeting included the questions:

  1. The results of space activities in 2011, the task of the Federal Space Agency in 2012.
  2. Consideration of the materials of the project “Development Strategy of the Russian space industry for the period up to 2030”

The meeting was attended by Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, the representatives of the Russian Presidential Administration and the Russian Government, ministries and agencies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, a number of universities, heads of enterprises of the Russian space industry.

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Russia Allocates $3.8 Billlion for Space Program in 2011

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin tours RSC Energia in July. (Credit: Russian Federation Government)

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has announced that the government will spend 115 billion rubles ($3.8 billion) on national space programs in 2011, RIA Novosti reports. Putin said that Russia’s space plans include:

  • Launch of about 50 spacecraft in 2011
  • Long-range development of the GLONASS navigational system until 2020
  • Long-term plan to increase global market share through development of new automated and human spacecraft
  • Construction of a new spaceport in the Russian Far East.

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Medvedev Fires Roscosmos, Energia Officials Over Proton Failure

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev fired RSC Energia’s vice president Vyacheslav Filin and Roskosmos Deputy Head Victor Remishevsky over the Dec. 5 failure of a Proton rocket, which sent three expensive GLONASS navigation satellites to the bottom of the Pacific. The Russian leader also reprimanded Roscosmos Head Anatoly Perminov.

The failure resulted from the fourth stage transfer module being overloaded with fuel, causing the first three stages to under perform. The failure was deeply embarrassing to the Russian government because the three satellites would have completed the 24-satellite GLONASS constellation, allowing it to provide full global coverage for the first time. GLONASS is the Russian equivalent of the American Global Positioning System (GPS).

The Russian government has been eager to recover its Soviet-era space prowess and to prove that it can equal the technological achievements of the United States and other Western powers. Officials are making a major push to install receivers on buses, cars and other vehicles both domestically and aboard. The government is working with India and a number of countries that formed the former Soviet Union to install receivers there.

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Russia Makes Major Push to Better Use Space Assets

The Russian space agency Roscosmos is leading an effort to improve the use of satellite systems and data for natural resources management, navigation, emergency response, and economic development. The effort extends to effecting internal improvements within Russia and taking a leadership role in key areas as global navigation, climate monitoring, and disaster relief.

Data Infrastructure Improvements

The United Territory Distribution Space Remote Sensing System (UTDS) is a key element in Russia’s strategy. UTDS’ goal is to create a unified remote sensing system that has common standards. Interfax-AVN quoted Roscosmos official Valery Zaichko as saying that UTSA will help resolving the problems with distribution of remote sensing images in the country due to different technical standards,  storage formats and other differences.

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Proton Goes Kablooey, GLONASS-Ms Sleep With the Fishes

The Russian government has announced the formation of an investigative committee to review the weekend failure of a Proton rocket that destroyed three advanced navigational satellites:

Interagency Board has been established to investigate the failure which occurred on Dec. 5 during launch of Proton-M with three Glonass-M spacecraft. As a result of the failure, Glonass-M cluster was injected into non-targeted orbit. The Board comprises representatives of the Ministry of Defense, Russian Federal Space Agency, companies and organizations of the industry.

Media are reporting that the “non-targeted orbit” is actually the bottom of the Pacific Ocean. The failure is also reported to have cost about $500 million dollars, part of an overall $2 billion program.

GLONASS is the Russian equivalent of the American Global Positioning System (GPS). GLONASS begun during the Soviet era, and the successor Russian government has made it a high priority to complete and upgrade the system. Russia has 23 functioning GLONASS satellites in orbit. The three lost satellites were to provide a constellation of 24 satellites required for full global coverage plus two on-orbit spares.

Russians May Launch Ukrainian to ISS

International Space Station

Roscosmos PAO reports that Ukraine could be the next country to visit the International Space Station:

Russia and Ukraine have agreed that they may send a Ukrainian cosmonaut on a Russian spaceship to participate in long-term operations on the Russian segment of the International Space Station (ISS), Roscosmos Head Anatoly Perminov told news media.

According to him, it was Ukrainian proposal which implies training of national cosmonauts in Roscosmos’ Gagarin Training Center. However, the ‘costly’ initiative still has to be discussed with the ISS international partners, Perminov stated.

The Ukrainian National Space Agency will also work through all the aspects of the project, which haven’t been specified at the current stage.

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