Russia Achieves Clean Launch Record for Second Year in Row

Soyuz-2 rocket lifts off from the Vostochny Cosmodrome with 36 OneWeb satellites. (Credit: Arianespace)

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — The outgoing year 2020 has become a difficult test for the entire world marked by the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Many world economic players have encountered objective difficulties in the implementation of previously outlined plans.

Unfortunately, Roscosmos also had to correct a number of plans, including those related to launch activities. Nevertheless, Roscosmos management put the quality of production and the safety of personnel working at the Russian rocket and space industry enterprises and cosmodromes at the forefront.

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Roscosmos, Gazprom Enhance Cooperation in Satellite Systems Creation and Usage

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — Roscosmos First Deputy Director General Yuri Urlichich and PJSC Gazprom Chairman of the Board held a meeting to discuss the spacecraft assembly production construction process in Moscow region currently lead by Gazprom, as well as the issue of Roscosmos entering LLC Gazprom SPKA share capital (project operator company).

The plant will manufacture civil spacecraft for Gazprom and other customers. These include Yamal communication satellites and SMOTR system Earth remote sensing optical satellites. Moreover, the plant will be capable of assembly and testing mass-produced smaller satellites to be used for the perspective Sfera program implemented by Roscosmos.

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RSC Progress Wins the Super-heavy Lift Rocket Development Contract

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — On December 15, 2020, a state contract was signed between Roscosmos and Progress Rocket Space Center (Samara, part of Roscosmos) to develop key elements and technologies for creating a super-heavy space rocket complex.

The contract provides for the development and release of a technical design for a space rocket complex with a super-heavy launch vehicle and an upper stage. Alexander Cherevan, Soyuz-5 launch vehicle Chief Designer at RSC Progress, has been appointed the head of works.

RSC Progress specialists completed a preliminary design determining the main technical characteristics of launch vehicle, working out options for assembling the rocket, including mobile assembly and maintenance complex at the universal launch complex. The technical design implies estimated weight of the launched payload from 125 to 147 tons for low-earth orbit and up to 27 tons for the moon orbit, depending on the version of the launch vehicle.

In accordance with the contract, the technical design for the super-heavy rocket complex must be developed and submitted for consideration to Roscosmos in 2021.

Dmitry Rogozin Wishes Everyone a Happy New Year, Looks Toward Busy 2021

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

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — Dmitry Rogozin, Roscosmos Director General, wishes a Happy New Year!

“We see off this year and welcome 2021 with high hopes. We hope that the Vostochny Cosmodrome will start operating at full capacity,” Rogozin said.

In 2021, Roscosmos expects to ensure the new Nauka orbital module launch to the International Space Station from the Baikonur Cosmodrome and send the Luna-25 automatic interplanetary station from the Vostochny Cosmodrome to Earth’s natural satellite.

According to the head of Roscosmos, 2020 was a difficult year for the Russian rocket and space industry due to the coronavirus pandemic restrictions in the world and Russia in particular.

“Nevertheless, Russia’s rocket and space industry worked uninterrupted. We ensured all our planned launches, including crewed launches from Baikonur,” Rogozin noted.

Next year, apart from Luna-25, Roscosmos plans to carry out about six launches of the British OneWeb communications satellites from Vostochny. In 2020, only one rocket launch took place from this cosmodrome – on December 18, 36 spacecraft of the OneWeb satellite company went into orbit.

In total, in 2020, Roscosmos conducted 17 launches of space rockets from the Baikonur, Plesetsk, Vostochny and Guiana spaceports.

What We Learned This Year from Space Station Science

NASA astronaut Anne McClain is pictured in the cupola holding biomedical gear for the Marrow experiment. The study measures fat changes in the bone marrow before and after exposure to microgravity. (Credits: NASA)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — Dozens of experiments are going on at any given time aboard the International Space Station. Research conducted in 2020 is advancing our understanding in areas of study from Parkinson’s disease to combustion.

Space station research results published this year came from experiments performed and data collected during the past 20 years of continuous human habitation aboard the orbiting laboratory. Between October 1, 2019, and October 1, 2020, the station’s Program Research Office identified more than 300 scientific publications based on space station research.

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Rogozin Furious Over U.S. Sanctions on TsNIIMash, RSC Progress

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

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Roscosmos General Director Dmitry Rogozin is protesting the inclusion of Russian Mission Control operator TsNIIMash and Soyuz rocket manufacturer RSC Progress on a list of 103 Russian, Chinese and Venezuelan companies sanctioned by the U.S. government due to their connections to the defense sectors of their home nations.

“The [Military End User] List informs exporters, reexporters, and transferors that a license will be required to export, reexport, or transfer (in-country) designated items to listed entities,” the Commerce Department said in a press release.

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Fourth Flight for OneWeb will be First Arianespace Mission from Vostochny Cosmodrome

OneWeb satellites being prepared for launch aboard a Soyuz-2.1b booster from the Vostochny Cosmodrome. (Credit: Roscosmos)

VOSTOCHNY COSMODROME, Russia (Arianespace PR) — OneWeb – the global satellite communications company based in the UK – resumes flights.

This 53rd Soyuz mission conducted by Arianespace and its Starsem affiliate will be operated from Vostochny Cosmodrome and represents OneWeb’s fourth launch overall and the third for this year.

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Russia Launches Angara-A5 Rocket on Second Flight Test

Angara-A5 rocket launched on a flight test from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome on Dec. 14, 2020. (Credit: Roscosmos)

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — Today, December 14, 2020, at 05:50 UTC, the Angara-A5 heavy-class carrier rocket was successfully launched from Russia’s Ministry of Defence State Test Space Center (Plesetsk cosmodrome) as part of flight design tests of the Angara rocket space complex. The launch vehicle was acquired by ground means of the VKS Titov Main Test Space Center.

Prelaunch preparation and launch of the carrier rocket were conducted by combat crews of the Space Forces of the Aerospace Forces and enterprises of Roscosmos. At the estimated time, 12 minutes 28 seconds after the liftoff, the Angara-A5.2L space rocket orbital block including the Briz-M upper stage and a spacecraft weight mockup separated from the third stage of the launch vehicle. Further injection of the orbital block into the target orbit is carried out with the help of the Briz-M propulsion system.

Universal rocket modules URM-1 and URM-2 serve as the basis for the Angara family carrier rocket development. Various class Angara launch vehicles are built using several universal rocket modules. One URM-1 is used as part of the Angara-1.2 light-class launch vehicles. The maximum number of URM-1 can be a three-stage heavy-class Angara-A5 launch vehicle.

Angara rockets do not use aggressive and toxic propellants significantly increasing environmental safety both in the areas adjacent to the launch complex and in the drop zones. Russia’s Ministry of Defense and Roscosmos are the government customers of the Angara space rocket complex, with Khrunichev Center being the lead developer and manufacturer.

Russia Graduates New Class of Cosmonauts

Cosmonaut class of 2020.. (Credit: Roscosmos)

MOSCOW (Roscomos PR) — Today, December 2, 2020, at the Yu.A. Gagarin, a meeting of the Interdepartmental Qualification Commission (ICQC) took place. By the decision of the commission, the qualification of a test cosmonaut was awarded to Konstantin Borisov, Alexander Gorbunov, Alexander Grebenkin, Alexei Zubritsky, Sergei Mikayev, Kirill Peskov and Oleg Platonov. They completed a two-year general space training course and successfully passed the State exam.

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Russian Space Facilities Director Fired in Continued Shakeup Related to Vostochny

Ruslan Mukhamedzhanov (Credit: Roscomsos)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

The previously reprimanded head of the Russian company that oversees Russia’s ground-based space infrastructure has been fired in a continuing shakeup related to schedule delays and alleged corruption at the Vostochny Cosmodrome.

The Board of Directors of the Center for Operation of Ground-Based Space Infrastructure Facilities (TsENKI) voted to relieve General Director Andrei Okhlopkov from his post beginning on Nov. 27. A month earlier, Roscosmos head Dmitry Rogozin had reprimanded him during a visit to Vostochmy.

Okhlopkov had been the head of TsENKI since June 2018. The board replaced him with Ruslan Mukhamedzhanov, a 20-year TsENKI employee who most recently headed up the company’s Barmin Research Institute of Launch Complexes.

TsENKI is responsible for the creation of ground space infrastructure and manages Russian cosmodromes. The company, which is part of Roscosmos, employs more than 12,000 people.

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Russian Space Systems Developing Advanced Technology for Managing Large Satellite Constellations

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — The Russian Space Systems Holding (RKS, part of the Roscosmos State Corporation) is developing a self-regulating technology for controlling multi-satellite orbital constellations with elements of artificial intelligence and minimal human participation. It will allow in the future to automate the control of satellite constellations of thousands of spacecraft.

A feature of the new technology will be the transition from the point control of individual spacecraft used today to the control of the systemic effect of the entire orbital constellation. In their development, DCS specialists propose to use the methods of coordinated self-organization – or homeostasis, which will effectively manage the orbital structure, its number, system resources, data transmission network and orbital computing network.

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Rules Published for Competing for Lead Role on ISS Feature Film

Credit: Roscosmos

Unclear if this is casting for or competition to Tom Cruise’s feature film to be shot next year.

Dmitry goes to Hollywood(ski) as Roscosmos boss snags himself a producer credit.

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — The competition has started, the winner of which will receive the main role in the first feature film shot in space. The motion picture with the tentative title “Challenge” is a joint project of the State Corporation Roscosmos, Channel One and the studio Yellow, Black and White. Filming will take place at the International Space Station in the fall of 2021.

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Celebrating 20 years of Human Research on the International Space Station

Expedition 1 crew in December 2000 about to eat oranges in the Zvezda module of the International Space Station. From left cosmonaut Yuri Gidzenko NASA astronaut William Shepherd and cosmonaut Sergei Krikalev. Expedition 1 was the first crew to live on the International Space Station. (Credit: NASA)

PARIS (ESA PR) — As the world celebrates two decades of humans in orbit around Earth on the International Space Station, this month’s science summary will look back not at four weeks of European research in space, but 20 years – with a focus on human research, naturally.

In November 2000 the first human entered the two-module International Space Station and ESA ran its first experiment just three months later.

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First Feature Film to Shoot Aboard ISS in Fall 2021

International Space Station (Credit: NASA/Roscosmos)

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — The leading role in the first feature film to be filmed in space will be played by a woman. The decision was made by the producers of the picture in the interests of the plot. 

Previously, the creators of the project planned to hold a competition among both men and women, having two scenarios, but in the process of further work and discussion, they came to the conclusion that the female image is certainly more advantageous for the picture.

The space drama with the tentative title “Challenge” is a joint project of the State Corporation Roscosmos, Channel One and the studio Yellow, Black and White.  Filming will take place at the International Space Station in the fall of 2021.

In the near future, Channel One will announce the start of an All-Russian open competition, following which the leading performer and her understudy will be selected.

It Took Teamwork to Make It to 20 Years

NASA astronauts (left to right) Christina Koch and Jessica Meir harvested Mizuna mustard greens on Thanksgiving day in 2019 inside the ESA (European Space Agency) laboratory module’s VEGGIE facility. (Credits: NASA)

By Danielle Sempsrott
NASA’s Kennedy Space Center

Building the Team

For 20 consecutive years, NASA has been sending humans to low-Earth orbit to live and work aboard the International Space Station, a unique microgravity laboratory that’s making new discoveries to this day. The technology used for LASIK eye surgery, air purifiers, and robotic arms that assist in medical surgeries are just a few of the things we benefit from here on Earth thanks to science performed on the orbiting laboratory. However, getting the space station into orbit and maintaining it is one of humanity’s biggest challenges – one that required people from all over the world working together to make it possible.

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