The Annual Compendium of Commercial Space Transportation: 2017 Federal Aviation Administration Office of Commercial Space Transportation (FAA AST)
2016 Launch Events
Space launch activity worldwide is carried out by the civil, military, and commercial sectors. This section summarizes U.S. and international orbital launch activities for calendar year 2016, including launches licensed by the Federal Aviation Administration’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation (FAA AST). Countries and jurisdictions worldwide that possess functional and operating indigenous launch industries are the United States, Russia, China, European Union, India, Japan, Israel, Iran, North Korea, and South Korea. Several other countries, including Argentina, Brazil, and Indonesia, are developing launch vehicle technologies.
HOUSTON (NASA PR) — The unpiloted Russian Progress 66 launched at 12:58 a.m. Wednesday (11:58 a.m. Baikonur time) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. It is now orbiting the planet on course for the International Space Station
The vehicle will deliver almost three tons of food, fuel and supplies to the Expedition 50 crew.
The spacecraft is set to dock to the Pirs docking compartment at 3:34 a.m. Friday, Feb. 24. NASA TV coverage of rendezvous and docking will begin at 2:45 a.m. Progress 66 will remain docked at the station for almost four months before departing in June for its deorbit into Earth’s atmosphere.
This was the first launch of a Progress cargo ship from Baikonur since the Progress 65 supply craft was lost Dec. 1, 2016.
The Expedition 50 crew is gearing up for three different spaceships in two months to resupply the International Space Station. The crew also worked today on a variety of research hardware and practiced an emergency drill.
Rocket and Space Corporation (RSC) Energia (a part of Roscosmos) has plans to involve the leading Russian scientific centers and universities into a project to launch small Cubesat satellites using cargo transportation spacecraft Progress MS.
The project calls for installation of special containers for insertion of small spacecraft into their target orbit on the outer surface of a cargo spacecraft. These might be commercial, educational or applied satellites with the size of up to 6U. Cargo spacecraft Progress MS are launched on a regular basis three times a year within the framework of logistics support for the International Space Station (ISS).
A report by Anatoly Zak of RussianSpaceWeb.com says problems that have grounded Russia’s grounded workhorse Proton and Soyuz boosters have a common origin: “egregious quality control problems” at engine manufacturer Voronezh Mechanical Plant (VMZ).
The Kommersant newspaper reported that a recent firing test had revealed technical problems with RD-0210 and RD-0212 engines, which propel the second and third stage of the Proton rocket respectively. The failure of the engine was reportedly traced to illegal replacement of precious heat-resistant alloys within the engine’s components with less expensive but failure-prone materials. The report in the Kommersant echoed the results of the investigation into the 2015 Proton failure, which found that low-quality material in the turbo-pump shaft of the engine had led to the accident.
MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) –Roscosmos emergency committee have reviewed investigation results of the contingency with Soyuz-U and cargo Progress MS-04 December launch from the Baikonur Space Center.
The cause of the accident was off-nominal mechanical separation of the launch vehicle’s third stage and the cargo spacecraft. The members of the emergency committee established the following:
The most likely cause of the contigency was the third stage liquid oxygen tank opening as a result of exposure of 11D55 engine destruction elements that occurred in result of fire and further destruction of the oxidizer compound pump.
The cause of the oxidizer compound pump’s fire could be possible in case of foreign particles entry into the pump cavity or possible violation 11D55 engine assembly technology.
The plan of priority actions to ensure the next Progress MS-05 secure launch will be submitted in the near future.
In another four days, the Russians would have gone a full year without losing a spacecraft in a launch mishap. That’s something that hasn’t happened since 2009-10. In another 30 days, they would have gone an entire calendar year without a launch failure.
The loss of the Progress 65 cargo ship during its launch aboard a Soyuz-U rocket today marks the latest in a string of failures stretching back more than seven years. Since May 2009, Russia has suffered 13 launch failures and four partial failures involving its stable of satellite boosters. (See table below)
Mission Update From NASA Dec. 1, 2016 — 11:29 a.m. EST
Launch of the ISS Progress 65 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan occurred at 9:51 a.m. EST (8:51 p.m. Baikonur time). An anomaly occurred sometime during the third stage operation. As we get updates from Roscosmos, we will provide them.
Our astronauts and the Russian cosmonauts are safe aboard the station. Consumables aboard the station are at good levels.
An H-II Transfer Vehicle (HTV)-6 from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) is scheduled to launch to the space station on Friday, Dec. 9.
To join the online conversation about the International Space Station and Progress 65 on Twitter, follow @Space_Station. To learn more about all the ways to connect and collaborate with NASA, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/connect.
Editor’s Note, 9:32 a.m. PST: Reliable Twitter reports say Mission Control in Houston has informed International Space Station Commander Shane Kimbrough that the launch of the Progress supply ship has failed. The Russians have sent their Progress team home for the day and are forming a state commission to investigate the failure.
Editor’s Note, 9:11 a.m. PST: It appears the third stage may have cut out early, which would have put Progress in lower than planned orbit. There are unconfirmed social media reports from Russia of a large explosion in the sky, a large bang and falling debris, so Progress may have reentered the atmosphere. Let me stress these are unconfirmed reports at this time.
MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — After reviewing the documents on operations that were carried out to repair the technical malfunction of the Soyuz MS-02 manned transport vehicle (MTV) the State Commission resolved that the space ship may be launched to the International Space Station (ISS).
MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — RSC Energia plans by the end of 2016 to complete the preliminary design of the cargo spacecraft with increased lifting capacity (TGC GHG) for the transport and logistics of the International Space Station (ISS).
The new ships will be delivered in a single flight to the station more cargo than the Progress MS, which are able to take on board not more than 2,600 kg.
HOUSTON (NASA PR) — The SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft was bolted into place on the Harmony module of the International Space Station at 10:03 a.m. EDT on Wednesday as the station flew about 252 statute miles over the California and Oregon border.
The spacecraft is delivering nearly 5,000 pounds of science, hardware and supplies, including instruments to perform the first-ever DNA sequencing in space, and the first of two identical international docking adapters (IDA). The IDAs will provide a means for commercial spacecraft to dock to the station in the near future as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.
Dragon is the second cargo spacecraft to arrive on station this week. On Monday, July 18, a Russian ISS Progress 64 cargo craft docked to the Pirs docking compartment of the space station at 8:22 p.m., where it will remain for about six months.
The Progress spacecraft has more than three tons of food, fuel and supplies for the Expedition 48 crew.
Dragon is scheduled to depart the space station Aug. 29 when it will return critical science research back to Earth.
BAIKONUR COSMODROME, Kazakhstan (NASA PR) — Carrying more than three tons of food, fuel, and supplies for the International Space Station crew, the unpiloted ISS Progress 64 cargo craft launched at 5:41 p.m. EDT (3:41 a.m. Baikonur time July 17) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.