Tag: Roscosmos

Russia Could Agree to ISS Extension

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The International Space Station, backdropped by the blackness of space and the thin line of Earth's atmosphere. (Credit: NASA)

The International Space Station, backdropped by the blackness of space and the thin line of Earth’s atmosphere. (Credit: NASA)

Izvestia reports that Russia could continue to use the International Space Station after 2020 despite earlier threats would pull out of the program because of frayed relations over the Ukraine crisis.

“The issue of Russia’s participation at the ISS after 2020 remains open, but there is a 90-percent chance that the state’s leadership will agree to participate in the project further,” the paper wrote citing a source at Russia’s Federal Space Agency Roscosmos.

Russian space enterprises continue to make new modules for the space station according to the schedule, the paper said.

Meanwhile, Interfax reports that the Russian space agency Roscosmos plans continued expansion of the space station.

A proposed federal space plan for 2016-2025 envisions an expansion of the existing Russian segment of ISS in 2017, Interfax reported, citing a copy of the document. That year, Russia would launch its long-delayed Multipurpose Laboratory Module, as well as a new hub module and docking module — allowing five ships to dock with the station.

The overall cost of Russia’s ISS extension will be almost 4 billion rubles ($110 million).

The Multipurpose Laboratory Module was to have been launched by now. However, Khrunichev suffered delays in finishing it, and Energia then sent the module back to Khrunichev after it discovered multiple problems with it.

Initially, Russia had been enthusiastic about NASA’s proposal to extend operations of the station from 2020 until at least 2024. However, relations between the two nations have frayed due to Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula and support for a rebellion in the eastern part of that nation.

Following the U.S. decision to impose sanctions over Russia’s actions in Ukraine, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said his nation would not extend ISS operations beyond 2020. Rogozin, who oversees Russia’s space and defense sectors, also accelerated cooperation with China’s space program.

Since that time, Russia’s attitude toward the proposed ISS extension have softened, with indications that four more years of operations are possible.

In the past, Russian space officials have talked about taking their elements of ISS and using them as a basis for a new orbiting facility. It is not clear how far that idea has advanced, or whether officials are seriously considering it.

 

Heads Continue to Roll in Russian Space Industry

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Roscosmos_logoChanges at the top of the Russian space industry have continued as Roscosmos announces a new director for the military projects it oversees, and the acting head of the organization that runs the nation’s spaceport is replaced, according to Russian media reports.

The Moscow Times reports:

Roscosmos deputy head Anatoly Shilov, the man responsible for managing some of the agency’s most sensitive projects — such as military space launches and the development of military and intelligence satellites — will leave the post he has held since 2009, Kommersant reported Wednesday, citing senior space officials.

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Russia Eyes Technologies for Destroying Asteroids, Cleaning Up Space Debris

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Bruce Willis in Armageddon.

Bruce Willis in Armageddon.

It won’t quite be Armageddon, but the Russian space agency wants to develop the capability to destroy incoming asteroids that could wreak havoc on Earth.

The proposed Federal Space Program 2016-2025, which is being considered by the government, envisions the creation of a “means of ensuring the delivery and impact with objects approaching on a collision course with Earth in order to change their orbits to avoid collision with the planet,” Interfax cited the document as saying.

The 23 billion ruble ($634 million) proposal is not limited to asteroid defense, however. It also calls for the creation of orbital garbage trucks — spacecraft that would comb the trash-ridden void of low Earth orbit for fragments of old rockets, dead satellites, and other potentially harmful space junk.

The programs are part of Roscosmos’s proposed 10-year spending plan covering 2016-25 that government officials are now reviewing.

Russian officials have been particularly concerned about rogue asteroids since a meteor exploded over  Chelyabinsk last year. The blast shattered windows and injured 1,500 people.

Read the full story.

Long-Term Russian Space Plans Target Moon

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moon_rise_half
A draft 10-year plan for the Russian space program lays out an ambitious agenda that will see Russian cosmonauts occupying a lunar base in the early 2030′s.

According to Russian media reports, the 2016-25 plan includes funding for:

  • a new super heavy booster to support human deep space exploration;
  • a Soyuz replacement capable of carrying cosmonauts to the moon and other destinations;
  • an extensive program of robotic exploration of the moon that would precede human exploration; and,
  • development of technologies required to build a lunar base in the early 2030′s.

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Russia Looks to Cut Back on Funding for Baikonur

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Zarya, the first component of the International Space Station, launches flawlessly at 1:40 a.m. EST on November 20, 1998, from Kazahkstan (Credit: NASA)

Zarya, the first component of the International Space Station, launches flawlessly at 1:40 a.m. EST on November 20, 1998, from Kazahkstan (Credit: NASA)

Russian funding for the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan is likely to be cut significantly in the years ahead as Roscosmos shifts its focus toward the new Vostochny spaceport in the Russian Far East:

“In the earlier versions of the Draft Budget 2016, subsidies for Baikonur maintenance were at around $70.4 million,” CEO of the Center for Operation of Space Ground-Based Infrastructure Sergey Lazarev said, “These funds were supposed to be spent on salaries and maintenance of the cosmodrome’s facilities. We asked for more. But when our representative in the Ministry of Finance was shown the final draft, the subsidies made zero. In fact, this could mean that Baikonur will be left without any funding whatsoever.”

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Ukraine Conflict Could Cost Russia Nearly $1 Billion

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Russian President Vladimir Putin looks over plans for Vostochny. (Credit: Roscosmos)

Russian President Vladimir Putin looks over plans for Vostochny. (Credit: Roscosmos)

Russia’s annexation of Crimea and support for the military conflict in eastern Ukraine are having a ripple effect on the nation’s military-industrial complex, which remains heavily dependent on imports of components from abroad.

Faced with impending EU sanctions on Russia’s defense industry, President Vladimir Putin on Monday urged the Defense Ministry to redouble its efforts to wean the defense sector off foreign suppliers, Interfax reported.

Russian firms currently make their own versions of just 58 of the 206 types of defense products that the country imports, but state development programs should add another 40 to their repertoire by 2020, said Alexander Shilov, deputy head of the Federal Space Agency, or Roscosmos.

The defense industry has already been waylaid by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko’s June decision to prohibit military-industrial cooperation with Russia amid the escalating crisis in Ukraine, blocking Russia from importing the Ukrainian equipment that its defense industry sorely needs.

Roscosmos, which operates several spacecraft that rely on Ukrainian components, last week estimated that Russia needs to spend about $940 million through 2018 to offset losses from the cutting of Ukrainian ties, with most of the cash to be drawn from federal investment programs in the space and defense industries.

President Putin is urging defense and space officials to wean themselves off foreign suppliers as soon as possible regardless of cost.

Read the full story.

Putin’s Economic Vision: Centralize and Control Everything

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Vladimir Putin inside of a full-size mockup of Russia's six-passenger "Rus" spacecraft. (Credit: RSC Energia)

Vladimir Putin inside of a full-size mockup of Russia’s six-passenger “Rus” spacecraft. (Credit: RSC Energia)

Bloomberg has an interesting report on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s economic strategy, which is characterized by the type of centralized government control that we’re now seeing imposed upon the space industry.

For all his vows to modernize and diversify the economy, though, Russia remains a nuclear-armed petrostate and Putin’s remedy for growth now is more, not less, government control.

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Maiden Angara Launch Postponed Indefinitely

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Angara-1.2 launch vehicle on pad at Plesetsk. (Credit: Khrunichev)

Angara-1.2 launch vehicle on pad at Plesetsk. (Credit: Khrunichev)

It looks like it will be week before the Russians can try to launch their Angara 1.2 rocket again after a last-minute scrub on Friday:

A defect in the drainage valve of the liquid oxygen tank detected during pre-launch tests led to cancellation of the first test launch of the light-class Angara carrier rocket 19 seconds prior to the engine refueling, experts told Interfax-AVN after probing an emergency during Angara’s launch on Monday.

“One needs to understand what Angara means. It is new engines, a new control system. In other words, trials are needed in order to fine-tune everything. There is no room for any frenzy. We should not take any risks. It has taken us quite long to build this rocket. It will certainly fly into space, but more tests should be conducted first. Its launch has been cancelled because a malfunction was detected. The malfunction was assessed by its own system,” Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin told reporters in Uglegorsk on Tuesday….

Rogozin said that he doesn’t know when the next launch will take place. “I think it will take us weeks to return the Angara launch vehicle to its launch pad,” he said, Interfax reports.

The Angara is a modular family of launch vehicles designed to replace a number of existing rockets. It has been under development fror nearly 20 years.

Putin Demands Answers as First Angara Launch Scrubbed

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Angara-1.2 launch vehicle on pad at Plesetsk. (Credit: Khrunichev)

Angara-1.2 launch vehicle on pad at Plesetsk. (Credit: Khrunichev)

The first launch of the Angara 1.2 rocket was scrubbed at the last minute:

The would-be historic launch was automatically terminated just few minutes before the countdown, the Defense Ministry declared. “Technical issues” are blamed for the incident, said sources in the Russian space agency Roscosmos.

According to the commander of Russia’s aerospace defense troops, Aleksandr Golovko, the launch has been rescheduled for Saturday, 3:15pm Moscow time (11:15 GMT).

“During the launch preparation an automated system has given a red light for carrying out the launch. The launch has been postponed to the reserve date of June 28,” Golovko said.

Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu reported the failure launch to Putin and requested one hour to establish the facts in the situation.

“Do not rush the work. Carefully analyze everything and report to me after an hour,” Putin told Shoigu.

Angara is a modular series of launch vehicles designed to replace a number of existing rockets. On its first flight, the Angara 1.2 will crash an upper stage and a dummy payload into an impact site on the Kamchatka Peninsula.

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Roscosmos Selects Six New Cosmonauts

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New Russian cosmonauts (Credit: Roscosmos)

New Russian cosmonauts (Credit: Roscosmos)

On Monday, Russian space officials named six new cosmonauts out of a group of eight candidates selected for training in the fall of 2012.

The new cosmonaut trainees are Oleg Blinov, Nicholai Chubu, Peter Dubrov, Andrey Fedyaev, Sergey Korsakov and Dmitry Petelin.

Two candidates selected in 2012 — Ignat Ignatov and Anna Y. Kikin — were not on the list of those selected. The original eight candidates were chosen from 304 applications in Roscosmos’ first open call for cosmonauts.

The six men will now go through formal training for spaceflights and be assigned to crews.

New Roscosmos Cosmonauts

Oleg Blinov

Born in 1978 in the village of Kirov-Chepetsk Tatars region Kirov region.

In 1998, he graduated from the Kirov Military Aviation Technical School on “Technical maintenance of aircraft and engines.” Graduated with honors. In 2001 he graduated from the Vyatka State Agricultural Academy, specialty – mechanical engineer.

Previous job: FGBU “Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Institute.” Chief engineer for operations for EVA. Experience in the aerospace industry for over 10 years.

Nikolai Chub

Born in 1984 in Novocherkassk, Rostov region.

In 2006 he graduated from the South-Russian State Technical University, specialty – engineer (“Management and Informatics in Technical Systems”). SRSTU graduate student.

Previous job: OOO “Space Tu.”

Has more than 150 parachute jumps, including flights to suit wingsuit (costume-wing). Russian and European record holder in 2011 in the class of large wingsuit-formations.

Peter V. Dubrov

Born in 1978 in the city of Khabarovsk.

In 1999 he graduated from the Khabarovsk State University.

Software Engineer, specialty “Software computers and automated systems.”

Previous job: OOO “CBOSS International Development.”

Andrey Fedyaev

Born in 1981 in Serov, Sverdlovsk region.

In 2004 he graduated from the Krasnodar Military Aviation Institute “Operation of air transport and air traffic control.

“Military pilot 2nd class.

Sergey Korsakov

Born in 1984 in Frunze (Bishkek NV) Kirghizia.

A graduate of Bauman. Bauman (2006), with honors, an engineer by profession “Rocket Engines.”

Previous job: OOO “Info Capital Group.”

Dmitry Petelin

Born in 1983 in Kustanai Kazakhstan.

In 2006, he graduated from South Ural State University. An engineer, “Aircraft and Helicopter.”

Previous job: Ltd. “NEC”.

Development engineer third category of department “aircraft design.” Experience in the aviation industry for over six years.