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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Progress Supply Ship Arrives at International Space Station

Progress MS-12 approaches the International Space Station. Credit: Roscosmos)

BAIKONUR, Kazakhstan (Roscosmos PR) — On July 31, 2019, at 15:29 UTC the Progress MS-12 cargo vehicle successfully docked to the Pirs docking module of the International Space Station.

The total flight time from the start to the docking was 3 hours 19 minutes, making the spacecraft the fastest in the history of the flights to the ISS. The previous record was set by the previous Progress spacecraft, which got to the ISS in 3 hours 21 minutes.

Earlier today at 12:10 UTC the cargo vehicle lifted off as planned from the launching pad No. 31 at the Baikonur Cosmodrome. The autonomous flight was controlled by the Main Operative Group of the Russian segment of the ISS at the Korolyov-based Mission Control Center. Roscosmos cosmonauts ISS crew commander Alexey Ovchinin and flight engineer Alexander Skvortsov controlled the berthing process from ISS board.

The Progress MS-12 cargo vehicle delivered to the ISS 1.2 tons of dry cargo, over 1 ton of propellant in the refueling tanks, 420 kilograms of water in the Rodnik system tanks, as well as 50 kilograms of compressed gas in the tanks.

The cargo section also included scientific equipment, life support system components, as well as containers with food supplies, clothing, medication and personal hygiene items for the crew members.

The two-orbit approach scheme was developed by Energiya corporation specialists (part of Roscosmos State Corporation) and has already been used twice to launch cargo spacecraft: Progress MS-09 in July 2018 and Progress MS-11 in April 2019.

Soyuz Rocket Gets Hit by Lightning After Launch, Keeps on Soyuzing

Courtesy of Roscosmos General Director Dmitry Rogozin. The Twitter translation into English reads:

Congratulations to the command of space troops, the combat calculation of the cosmodrome Plesetsk, the collectives of the “Progress” (Samara), the NGO named after S. A. Lavachkina (Khimki) and the ISS named after Academician M. F. Reshetnev (Zheleznogorsk) with the successful launch of the SPACECRAFT GLONASS! Lightning you don’t hindrance

Twitter might want to work on its translation program.

The Soyuz booster successfully orbited a GLONASS-M navigation satellite from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in northern Russia.

The Saturn V taking the Apollo 12 to the moon in 1969 was also struck by lightning after launch. The rocket was fine; the guidance system was deep inside the rocket. However, the electronics in the spacecraft were knocked out. Flight controller John Aaron said to flip the SCE switch to AUX. When Alan Bean did so, the spacecraft came back online.

Mission Control fretted about whether to send the crew to the moon. Everything seemed fine aboard the spacecraft, but there was one crucial system they couldn’t check: the parachutes. Controllers realized that in the unlikely event the lightning strike had fried the parachute deployment system, the crew would die anyway. Might as well send them to the moon.











Progress & Cygnus Supply Ships Arrive at Space Station

Cygnus berthed at the International Space Station. (Credit: NASA)

HOUSTON (NASA & Roscomos PRs) — Traveling about 252 miles over Algeria, the unpiloted Russian Progress MS-10 cargo ship docked on Sunday at 2:28 p.m. EST to the aft port of the Zvezda Service Module on the Russian segment of the International Space Station.

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Soyuz-FG Rocket Launches Progress MS-10 Resupply Ship to ISS

A Soyuz-FG rocket lifts off with the Progress MS-10 spacecraft. (Credit: Roscosmos)

Editor’s Note: The successful launch of the Soyuz-FG booster — which malfunctioned in October — paves the way for a crew launch to the station on Dec. 3.

BAIKONUR, Kazahkstan (Roscosmos PR) — On November 16, 2018, at 21:14 Moscow time, from the Baikonur cosmodrome, the Soyuz-FG space launch vehicle was successfully launched under the International Space Station (ISS) program. The launch vehicle launched the Progress MS-10 transport cargo ship (TGK) into near-earth orbit.

After the separation of the spacecraft from the third stage of the carrier rocket, the TGK began to carry out the flight program for the ISS.

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NASA to Air Launch of Russian Progress Resupply Ship

Progress 60P on approach to ISS. (Ctedit: NASA TV)

Loaded with almost three tons of food, fuel and supplies, a Russian Progress cargo spacecraft is scheduled to launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 1:14 p.m. EST Friday, Nov. 16 (12:14 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 17, Baikonur time), to resupply the International Space Station.

The launch of the unpiloted Russian Progress 71 and docking to the space station will air live on NASA Television and the agency’s website beginning at 1 p.m.

The spacecraft is set to dock to the aft port of the Zvezda Service Module on the Russian segment at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 18. NASA TV coverage of rendezvous and docking will begin at 1:45 p.m.

Progress 71 will remain docked at the station for more than four months before departing in March for its deorbit into Earth’s atmosphere.











Recycling in Space: Waste Handling in a Microgravity Environment Challenge

NASA astronaut Don Pettit, Expedition 30 flight engineer, is pictured among stowage bags in the Harmony node of the International Space Station. The bags, containing trash and excessed equipment, will be transferred to the docked Progress 45 spacecraft for disposal. The unpiloted ISS Progress 45 supply vehicle is scheduled to undock from the space station on Jan. 24, 2011. (Credit: NASA)

By Leejay Lockhart
NASA’s John F. Kennedy Space Center

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — NASA, in partnership with NineSigma, is seeking new ideas to facilitate recycling in space, through a crowdsourcing challenge as part of the NASA Tournament Lab (NTL). The Recycling in Space Challenge is an opportunity for the public to submit proposals for components capable of storing and transferring trash to a thermal processing unit.

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NASA’s Trash Talk: Managing Garbage in Space

A potential trash management system for future, long-duration space missions, the current version of the Heat Melt Compactor, seen here in its ground configuration, has been tested extensively at NASA’s Ames Research Center. (Credits: NASA/Ames Research Center/Dominic Hart)

MOFFETT FIELD, Calif. (NASA PR) — Dealing with trash is a challenge wherever people work and live, and space is no exception. Astronauts produce a couple of pounds of trash per crew member per day. To better manage this, NASA is developing a new trash processing system to demonstrate on the International Space Station. This work is critical for potential future missions traveling farther from Earth, to the Moon and Mars, and for longer periods of time.

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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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Mid-Year Global Launch Report: China & USA Continue to Battle for Lead

A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta IV rocket carrying the NROL-47 mission lifts off from Vandenberg Air Force Base. (Credit: ULA)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

The world’s launch providers were extremely busy in the first half of 2018, with China and the United States battling for the lead.

There with 55 orbital launches through the end of June, which amounted to a launch every 3.29 days or 79 hours. The total is more than half the 90 launches attempted in 2017. With approximately 42 missions scheduled for the last six months of the year, the total could reach 97. (more…)











Three Launches Scheduled Over Two Days Next Week

ISS with Soyuz and Progress spacecraft docked to it. (Credit: NASA)

There are a dozen orbital launches planned around the world through the end of June.

China will lead off on Sunday as it launches its Chang’e-4 lunar relay satellite from Xichang. A lunar lander and rover targeted for the far side of the moon is scheduled for launch at the end of the year.

Orbital ATK will follow with the launch of a Cygnus resupply ship bound for the International Space Station (ISS) on Monday from Wallops Island. On Tuesday, SpaceX is scheduled to launch 5 Iridium Next satellites and a pair of scientific spacecraft for NASA.

Other notable missions scheduled through June include a Soyuz crew mission and a SpaceX Dragon resupply flight. Rocket Lab is probably going to launch the first commercial flight of its Electron booster from New Zealand. However, the company has not published a launch window for the flight.

The current global schedule is below. Be sure to check Space Flight Now’s launch schedule for updates.

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First Quarter 2018 Launch Report: China & USA Battle for Lead

A SpaceX Falcon Heavy begins its first flight. (Credit: NASA)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

The world’s launch providers have been extremely busy in the first quarter of 2018, with 31 orbital launches thus far. This is more than one third of the 90 launches conducted last year.

China leads the pack with 10 successful launches. The United States is close behind with a total of nine launches with one failure. The tenth American launch is scheduled for Monday afternoon from Florida.

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Progress 69P Arrives at Space Station

The Progress 69 resupply ship is pictured just moments from docking to the space station. (Credit: NASA)

Traveling about 250 miles over the east of the Philippines, the Progress 69 Russian cargo spacecraft docked to the aft end of the service module of the International Space Station at 5:38 a.m. EST.

For more information about the space station and its crew, visit: https://www.nasa.gov/station.











Russia Launches Progress Resupply Ship to Space Station

A Soyuz rocket with Progress 69P lifts off. (Credit: Roscosmos)

BAIKONUR COSMODROME, Kazakhstan (NASA PR) — Carrying more than three tons of food, fuel and supplies for the International Space Station Expedition 54 crew, the Progress 69 cargo spacecraft launched at 3:13 a.m. EST (2:13 p.m. local time) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

At the time of launch, the International Space Station was flying over the south Atlantic north of the Falkland Islands at an altitude of 252 miles. Less than 10 minutes after launch, the resupply ship reached preliminary orbit and deployed its solar arrays and navigational antennas as planned.

The Progress 69 cargo vehicle will dock automatically to the aft port of the Zvezda service module of the station at 5:43 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 15. Watch live coverage beginning at 5 a.m. on NASA Television and the agency’s website: www.nasa.gov/live

The new Progress spacecraft will remain at the orbiting laboratory until late August.

To join the online conversation about the International Space Station and Progress 69, follow @Space_Station. To learn more about the space station and its crew, visit https://www.nasa.gov/station.











NASA to Air Russian Space Station Cargo Ship Launch, Docking

Progress 60P on approach to ISS. (Ctedit: NASA TV)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — Loaded with three tons of food, fuel and supplies, a Russian Progress cargo spacecraft is scheduled to launch at 3:58 a.m. EST (2:58 p.m. Baikonur time) Sunday, Feb. 11, to resupply the International Space Station.

The launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan and docking to the space station will be carried live on NASA Television the agency’s website beginning at 3:30 a.m.

NASA TV coverage will resume at 6:30 a.m., when the Progress 69 cargo vehicle, planned for a fast-track to the world’s only orbital laboratory, will dock at 7:24 a.m. The three-and-a-half hour trip will demonstrate an expedited capability for potential use on future Russian cargo and crew launches to the complex.

If any technical issues are identified by Russian flight controllers in the early stage of the flight, the spacecraft will be capable of defaulting to a standard two-day rendezvous profile. The new Progress spacecraft will remain at the international outpost until late August.