Tag: Roscosmos

Roscosmos Linked Bank Placed in Bankruptcy

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Vladimir Putin

While the body count of prominent critics of Leader-for-Life Vladimir Putin rose again last week, the re-nationalization of Russia’s space industry continued to gather steam with a financial move that shows the benefits of being a friend of the Russian president.

The move involved FundServisBank, which was placed in administration (bankruptcy) under the Deposit Insurance Agency. The move was portrayed as an urgent response to a banking crisis caused by western sanctions over Russia’s aggression in Ukraine and the fall in value of the ruble.

Or was it?

“From a purely economic point of view the bank has no problems … you start to wonder who is behind this,” spokesman Grigory Belkin told The Moscow Times.

Yes, who indeed might be behind it? And why?

Continue reading ‘Roscosmos Linked Bank Placed in Bankruptcy’

Russia Looks to Extend ISS Operations to 2024 Before Splitting Off

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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)

The Russian space agency Roscosmos is looking to continue operations of the International Space Station (ISS) until 2024, giving a boost to NASA’s effort to extend the life of the facility from the current 2020 deadline.

However, Roscosmos’ Scientific and Technical Council (STC) said the space agency plans to remove the Russian elements of ISS in 2024 in order to form the basis of a separate space station. That decision would end NASA’s hope of extending station operations to 2028.

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Russia Severing Ties With Ukraine on Dnepr, Zenit Launch Programs

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Dnepr launch vehicle. (Credit: ISC Kosmotras)

Dnepr launch vehicle. (Credit: ISC Kosmotras)

Roscosmos officials made announcements this week that they would be suspending a joint program with Ukraine to launch Dnepr rockets and were no longer interested in buying Ukrainian Zenit boosters, deepening problems for that embattled nation’s space program and its struggling Yuzhmash factory.

Dneprs are converted SS-18 ballistic missiles that are converted into satellite launchers by Ukraine’s Yuzhmash launch vehicle manufacturer. The boosters are launched by the Moscow-based Moscow-based Kosmotras International Space Company, which is Russian-Ukrainian joint venture.

Russian media report three Dnepr launches scheduled this year will be carried out. However, The Moscow Times reports the future of the venture remains cloudy. It is possible the program will end, or Russia will convert the missiles to satellite launchers without Ukrainian participation.

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Is Russian Space Industry Consolidation Creating a Black Hole?

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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)

A couple of stories in The Moscow Times provide some insight into the re-nationalization of Russia’s space industry.  One story claims the changes will create a giant black hole that will suck in billions of rubles while producing little of value. The other spotlights the firing of a prominent space analyst who dared oppose the changes.

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Roscosmos Merged With United Rocket & Space Corporation

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

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

The  Russian space agency Roscosmos is being merged with the United Rocket and Space Corporation, the government-owned company that is consolidating all of the nation’s space assets under its control. Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin Tweeted:

The Government expects Roscosmos to put forward a draft law on creating a state corporation in the coming days http://t.co/U0RHdqg6Yg Putin supported Medvedev’s proposal to create a state corporation on the basis of Roscosmos and United Rocket and Space Corporation

He is, of course, referring to President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.

The Russian government has Tweeted a picture of Medvedev meeting with URSC Director General Igor Komarov, who is apparently now the head of Roscosmos. That means Oleg Ostapenko is out as Roscosmos chief.

The appears appears to be modeled on the Rosatom State Nuclear Energy Corporation, which consolidated Russia’s nuclear industry. It’s an interesting move given that the United States and Europe are looking to the private sector to be innovative and carry more of the burden in space.

Video Look at Upcoming Year-Long Mission on ISS

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Video Caption: The launch of Soyuz TMA-16M will return three veteran space fliers to the International Space Station, with two of them embarking on the first ever yearlong mission to this vehicle.

Roscosmos Deputy Throws Cold Water on New Space Station, Chinese Visit to ISS

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The Shenzhou 10 crew prior to launch. (Credit: CNSA)

The Shenzhou 10 crew prior to launch. (Credit: CNSA)

Roscosmos deputy head Sergey Savelyev said Russia has no current plans to build a successor to the International Space Station before 2025. He also characterized the possibility of the Chinese Shenzhou crewed spacecraft docking at ISS as highly improbable, the Russian news agency TASS reports.

“A possibility of creating a new Russian space station does exist in principle. Such project may be implemented in international cooperation, with China for example. But neither the current, nor the draft of a future federal space program have such provisions. Such project can be linked with the lifecycle of the International Space Station,” he said.

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Year in Review: Launch Industry Disrupted in 2014

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SpaceX Founder Elon Musk has long talked about disrupting the launch industry with low prices and technological innovations. In 2014, the impacts of those efforts were felt far and wide as competitors responded to the threat the California company posed to their livelihoods.

ULA Pivots. With SpaceX reeling off one successful launch after another, ULA pivoted on several fronts. One was to announce efforts to significantly reduce costs on its highly reliable but pricey Atlas V and Delta IV boosters. But, even that proved to be insufficient as SpaceX threatened ULA on several fronts.

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Russian Mulls Independent Space Station

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Roscosmos_logoAnatoly Zak has an interesting piece on the possibility of Russian building its own space station to replace the International Space Station. Here’s a summary of what Russia is considering:

  • the station would be known as the High-Latitude Orbital Station, which would fly over more than 90 percent of Russia;
  • either permanently inhabited or human-tended with periodic crew visits;
  • could serve as the foundation of Russia’s human exploration of the moon;
  • would be based around the Multi-purpose Laboratory Module, a module currently planned to be attached to ISS in 2017;
  • would include additional modules planned for ISS, including the Node Module, the Science and Power Module, the OKA-T laboratory, and an inflatable habitat.

Read the full story.

Bold Russian Space Plans Endangered by Plunging Ruble

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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)

Russia’s growing economic problems — the result of falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine — are beginning to threaten the nation’s efforts to resurrect its decayed space program:

Russia’s federal space exploration agency Roscosmos could be forced to close down or indefinitely delay whole projects due to the worsening economic situation in the country. The plummeting Russian rouble has rendered the agency incapable of planning their spending ahead of time, national daily newspaper Izvestia reported on Monday.

According to Izvestia, Russia’s Gonets satellite system, launched by the Ministry of Defence and intended to restore Russia’s status as a major aerospace power, may not meet its upcoming deadline for government funding from 2016 to 2025.

“Due to the complete unpredictability of prices in November the scientific engineering council was not able to reconcile anything concerning the orbital system of communication Gonets,” the anonymous source from the central strategic planning of Roscosmos told Izvestia.

Roscosmos’s dependence on EU imports for its satellites and other aerospace projects has made it very sensitive to the exchange rate of roubles to the euro.

Read the full story.