Tag: Roscosmos

A Look at the ISS Flight Manifest

Credit: NASA

Credit: NASA

There was a lot of discussion on Sunday about the impact of the loss of SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft on the International Space Station. NASA officials said the ISS crew was in no danger from a supply standpoint, and they said they would stick to the existing schedule for crew rotation but might change the cargo manifest.

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Russian Space Program Looks to Mass Recruitment, Consolidating Engine Manufacturers



Dmitry Medvedev meets with Igor Komarov. (Credit: Government of Russian Federation)

Dmitry Medvedev meets with Igor Komarov. (Credit: Government of Russian Federation)

A couple of updates from Russia.

Recruitment Drive: Russia’s crumbling, accident prone space program needs to recruit more than 110,000 university graduates over the next 10 years to work in jobs that currently average 44,500 rubles ($820) per month. But not to worry, the Russian government has pledge to double that average wage to $1,640 per month by 2025.

Oh, good luck with that. I’m sure people will be rushing to take jobs where they can be prosecuted and jailed for screwing up and wonder whether their pay is being stolen by their bosses.

Industry Consolidation Continues:  Russia’s rocket production companies will be consolidated under one roof, Roscosmos head Igor Komarov said on Wednesday.

“Industry reform means the elimination of redundancies and the strengthening of enterprises’ horizontal connections. And today we have taken the first step toward this,” Komarov told the Rossiiskaya Gazeta newspaper. The consolidation will include NPO Energomash, which makes the RD-180 rocket engine used in United Launch Alliance’s Atlas V rocket.

Any sort of large consolidation is by nature a very messy process that causes a lot of confusion and layoffs while tanking morale until things settle down again. One wonders if this will cause more problems with reliability in the short and even long term.

Roscosmos Reaches Milestone in Soyuz Launch Complex Construction

Soyuz launch complex at Vostochny. (Credit: Roscosmos)

Soyuz launch complex at Vostochny. (Credit: Roscosmos)

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — The experts of Roscosmos’s contractor organizations have finished the assembly of Soyuz-2 carrier rocket launch system at Vostochny cosmodrome one month ahead of the schedule and performed the first commissioning.

In particular, they have checked the operability of the electrohydraulic equipment and metal constructions, the sensors and the terminal switches have been set up. The supporting service towers of the top chord, holding the carrier rocket before the launch, have been brought together and folded back for the first time.

The object’s commissioning was performed by the launch system developer, FSUE TsENKI division NIISK, electric equipment developer FSUE TsENKI division TsENKI North-West, hydraulic equipment developer Sigal research institute (Kovrov city), TsENKI-North, representatives of the Tyazhmash launch system manufacturer, ST-1 assembly organization, and FSUE TsENKI division NIISK operation department. The tests were carried out successfully and without irregularities.

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Russia Heavily Dependent on U.S. for Satellite Components

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

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

The problems in the Russian space industry run much deeper than launch vehicle quality control.

Much has been made of the fact that the US has become dependent on certain Russian rocket motors and Russian space vehicles to service the International Space Station, but Nikolay Testoyedov, a specialist on the Russian space program, says that the dependency is actually the other way around.

According to him, up to 75 percent of the electronic components for Russian satellites come from the US. Consequently, if it retaliates should Moscow refuse to sell RD-180 rocket motors to Washington – which Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin has threatened – Russia’s satellite program would be frozen for at least two years.

“The imported electronic components in our satellites represent 25 to 75 percent of the total in communications; in military ones, somewhat less; in commercial ones, more,” Testoyedov says. Of these imported components, approximately 83-87 percent come from the United States thus giving Washington the whip hand.

This issue has heated up in recent days given that the United States has suggested that it will intensify its sanctions regime against Russia because of Moscow’s actions in Ukraine. Testoyedov says he expects sanctions to be imposed on precisely this sector of production because of its national security implications.

Alleged Vostochny Embezzler Captured Driving Extremely Expensive Car

Construction at Vostochny. (Credit: Roscosmos)

Construction at Vostochny. (Credit: Roscosmos)

So much for keeping a low profile.

Balarus security forces captured a man accused of embezzling 4 million rubles ($75,000) from Russia’s Vostochny spaceport project as he was driving his diamond-encrusted Mercedes. Officials have not named the man, who is described as a 45-year old Georgian national.

Police in the Amur region put the shamed director on the international wanted list and he was located in Minsk, where he drove a luxury Mercedes car decorated with Swarovski diamonds. According to local media, it cost $300,000 (16 million roubles) to have the vehicle covered.

It was inside this car that he was detained by Belarus Special Forces on Monday, with the arrest recorded by officers and then distributed on the Internet.

In the recording it is clear that the director promises to give all the money back within a week. He will now be sent to Russia where police will continue their investigation.

Read all about it here.

Roscosmos Wants to Speed Up Transition From Proton to Angara

FAILI! A Proton takes a nose dive at Baikonur. (Credit: Tsenki TV)

FAILI! A Proton takes a nose dive at Baikonur. (Credit: Tsenki TV)

The head of the Russian space agency, Igor Komarov, wants to speed up the replacement of the trouble-plagued Proton launch vehicle with new Angara rockets, TASS reports.

‘It is necessary to expedite the transition of launches from Protons to the Angara rocket,” he said at a meeting held by Vice-Premier Dmitry Rogozin in the Siberian city of Omsk.

Vice-Premier Rogozin said last week Russia should switch to digital designing in the space rocket industry, gradually giving up Proton boosters and opting for other models, like the Angara rocket.

“Generally, our conclusion is also related to the need to switch exclusively to digital designing and modelling of this sort of situations and, of course, it is necessary to expedite the transition to modern carrier rockets like the Angara, gradually giving up the Protons,” Rogozin said.

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Russia Identifies “Design Peculiarity” as Cause of Progress Launch Failure


Roscosmos says it has identified the cause of the launch failure involving a Progress resupply ship last month:

The loss of a Russian Progress spacecraft that started spinning out of control shortly after its April 28 launch is being blamed on an unexpected interaction between the spacecraft and the upper stage of its Soyuz rocket, the Russian space agency Roscosmos said June 1.

In a statement, Rocosmos said a “design peculiarity” between the Progress M-27M spacecraft and the upper stage of its Soyuz-2.1a rocket led to the accident. The statement did not discuss in detail how that design issue caused the accident other than citing the “frequency-dynamic characteristics of the linkage” between the spacecraft and upper stage.

The launch of the Progress started off normally, with the spacecraft appearing to separate into its planned orbit and on a trajectory to dock with the International Space Station six hours later. However, shortly after reaching orbit, the spacecraft went into a slow roll. Roscosmos deferred the docking to April 30, then canceled it entirely.

Roscosmos: Design Flaw Caused Proton Crash

Proton rocket

Proton rocket

Russian officials have identified a design flaw in the Proton M rocket that failed on May 16, destroying the MexSat-1 satellite:

The Proton-M failure this month was caused by a newly-found design flaw in the rotor of the rocket’s 3rd stage steering engine, rather than a manufacturing fault, the Russian Space Agency has announced, noting it will be easy to fix in future production.

The head of the Russian Space agency Roscosmos Igor Komarov said that the problem that caused the rocket to fail and eventually burn up in the atmosphere, was a fault in the operation of the steering engine rotor due to excessive vibrations, RIA-Novosti reported on Friday.

Komarov cited the conclusion of the commission he headed, saying that the vibration and failure of the engine was caused by “increased imbalance in operation of a rotor of a pump unit, due to the degradation of material properties in high temperature conditions and imperfection of the balance system.”

Read the full story.

Russian Audit Committee Finds Mind Boggling Financial Violations at Roscosmos

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

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

More bad news for Russia’s struggling space program:

Russia’s Audit Chamber has discovered $1.8 billion of financial violations in the Roscosmos space agency. According to Chamber head Tatyana Golikova, this included accounting violations, misuse of budget funds and inefficient spending on construction.

“At first I didn’t believe the inspectors,” Golikova said, Interfax reported.

The Audit Chamber has observed a sharp rise in violations at Roscosmos since last year, she said. “It was an absolute surprise for me. I conducted a budget inspection last year, and now in 2014, the number of violations has grown sharply.”

Earlier, Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin blamed corruption in the space industry for the recent high accident rate of Russian spacecraft. Speaking in the State Duma on Tuesday, he said Roscosmos’ partner, the state company producing Proton rockets, is facing eight criminal cases.

One of the projects apparently seething with violations is the new Vostochny (Eastern) Cosmodrome. According to Golikova, its construction saw an overspending of about 13 billion rubles ($260 million). She says this resulted from overpricing and use of fraud schemes. The numbers are being looked into by the Russian Investigative Committee.

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Putin, Skolkovo and the Fate of Russia’s Space Program


I recent found a couple of interesting analytical pieces about the state of Russia’s struggling high tech sector and space program. Together, they paint a rather dismal picture of the prospects that Russia will be able to revive its once-proud space effort and break free of its economic reliance upon oil, gas, minerals and heavy metals.

In “The Short Life and Speedy Death of Russia’s Silicon Valley,” James Appell looks at the declining fortunes of Skolkovo, the Russian government’s $4 billion incubator outside Moscow that was designed to be the nation’s answer to America’s famous tech center. Then-President Dmitry Medvedev launched the ambitious effort in 2009 after visiting California as a way to diversify the Russian economy.

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