Roscosmos Explores Making Angara Booster Reusable

Inaugural Angara A5 launch (Credit: Khrunichev)

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — Roscosmos continues working to create Angara carrier rocket modifications for the Vostochny Cosmodrome.

On June 30, 2020, amendments to the Amur design and development work state contract were introduced. The amendments include the works to modernize and further develop Angara family (Angara-A5M being a modernized version of the Angara-A5 rocket), as well as higher load capacity Angara-A5V rocket draft project (with hydrogen-oxygen powered third stage). Given that, the Angara-A5VM variant will be reviewed with reusable stages.

A number of design improvements will be implemented by 2024 when flight tests due to begin. Among them there are cutting the rocket structure weight, rocket engine and control system modernization, as well as employing modern production and testing technologies.

Working Remotely at the German Space Operations Center – New Plasma Crystal Experiments on ISS

PK-4 – a neon tube as an experimental reactor (Credit: MPE)
  • Important milestone – successful completion of the 10th measurement campaign with the PK-4 plasma crystal laboratory on the ISS.
  • For the first time, the German Space Operations Center has taken over the scientific support of the PK experiments.
  • COVID-19 protection measures – DLR scientists from Oberpfaffenhofen maintain contact with the PK-4 Control Centre in Toulouse and the ISS.
  • Unique insights using PK-4 – plasma crystals can form in microgravity. The plasma particles behave like atoms and can be observed individually with the naked eye.

OBERFAFFENHOFEN, Germany (DLR PR) — Under normal circumstances, the researchers would have gone to Toulouse, as only from there can they control the PK-4 plasma crystal laboratory, which has been on board the International Space Station (ISS) since 2015. However, the Coronavirus pandemic has made travelling from Oberpfaffenhofen to the CADMOS Control Centre in France impossible. The experiments under microgravity conditions, which had taken months of preparation, were at risk of being cancelled.

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Russia Advocates for a Resolution to Prevent Arms Race in Outer Space

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — Russian Federation advocates a resolution to prevent arms race in outer space.

‘We consistently speak on all the possible and available negotiation sites such as the Conference on Disarmament for adopting the resolution to prevent arms race in outer space. With extreme cautiousness we perceive claims that Russia plans to place arms in space aiming at the USA,’ says Roscosmos Deputy Director General Sergey Saveliev.

Russia is ready to develop comprehensive partnership between Moscow and Washington concerning a widest range of questions in space exploration, but not just supplying RD-180/181 rocket engines to the American companies and delivering US astronauts to the International Space Station, Sergey Saveliev added.

‘Naturally, in these cases we rely on the principles of mutuality and equality. Militarization of space with our American partners eventually taking the leading roles might disturb already fragile relations between the two countries in the sphere,’ Saveliev noted.

The Defense Space Strategy defines the way the US Department of Defense will promote space potential to ensure the capability of the Pentagon to compete, deter, and win in a complex security environment characterized by ‘great power competition’. This strategy views space as a special military potential area, which among others is the base for joint and coordinated full spectrum operations to strengthen national security.

This strategy implies the most serious reform in the history of the national safety program in space with a phased approach to the following areas: build a comprehensive military advantage in space; integrate space into national, joint, and combined operations; shape the strategic environment; and cooperate with allies, partners, industry, and other US Government departments and agencies. The document also contains accusations that Russia and China have militarized space.

Crew Dragon Duo Increases Science Tempo on Space Station

The Expedition 63 crew has expanded to five members with the arrival of the SpaceX Crew Dragon. (From left) Anatoly Ivanishin, Ivan Vagner, Chris Cassidy, Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley. (Credit: NASA TV)

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (NASA PR) — The saying “more hands make light work” is rarely more apt than when those hands are 250 miles up on the International Space Station, overseeing research to extend humanity’s reach into the solar system and offer new scientific breakthroughs on Earth.

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Station Buzzing With Science in Middle of Spacewalk Preps

The Expedition 63 crew welcomes Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to the International Space Station. (Credits: NASA / Bill Stafford)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — The International Space Station is buzzing today with a broad array of research to improve life for humans on and off the Earth. The five-person Expedition 63 crew has also been preparing for a set of spacewalks as the pace of space science ramps up.

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Roscosmos Moves Forward with Cosmonaut Selection

The crew of Soyuz MS-16: Russian cosmonauts Ivan Vagner and Anatoly Ivanishin and with NASA astronaut Christopher Cassidy. (Credit: Roscosmos)

Translated from Russian using Google Translate

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — Roscosmos State Corporation has finished accepting applications for participation in an open competition for the selection of candidates for the cosmonaut corps of the Russian Federation, which was announced on June 3, 2019. 

Under the restrictions caused by the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, it was decided that applicants who submitted an incomplete set of documents for the competition until June 1, 2020 inclusive, will be able to participate in it by submitting the missing documents by the end of the current month.

Within the framework of the competition, from the moment of its beginning to May 31, 2020 inclusively, the competition commission accepted 1,404 applications.  Moreover, 156 applicants provided a full package of necessary documents, including 123 men and 33 women. 

During the extramural selection stage, which will last until June 30, 2020 inclusive, following the results of six meetings, the Competition Commission considered more than 90% of the applicants. 

At the time of publication of this message, 28 candidates (among them three women) have already received an invitation to the in-person selection stage.

Follow the news of selection in the cosmonaut corps of the Russian Federation.

Crew Dragon Astronauts Enter Space Station

The Expedition 63 crew has expanded to five members with the arrival of the SpaceX Crew Dragon. (From left) Anatoly Ivanishin, Ivan Vagner, Chris Cassidy, Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley. (Credit: NASA TV)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and  Douglas Hurley aboard the SpaceX Dragon Endeavour have arrived at the International Space Station to join Expedition 63 Commander and NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy and cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner of the Russian space agency Roscosmos.

The crew members first opened the hatch between the space station and Dragon Endeavour at 1:02 p.m. EDT, allowing Hurley and Behnken to enter their new home in space as members of Expedition 63.

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Soyuz Booster Launches Defense Satellite from Plesetsk

PLESETSK, Russia (Roscosmos PR) — Today, on May 22, 2020 at 07:31 UTC the Russian Aerospace Forces operational crew successfully launched the Soyuz-2.1b carrier rocket with a Ministry of Defense spacecraft onboard.

The launch and injection into orbit went as planned. In two minutes after the launch the Titov Main Test and Space Systems Control Centre automated complex acquired the Soyuz 2.1b rocket track.

At the designated time, the spacecraft was injected into the final orbit and acquired by the ground control means of the Russian Aerospace Forces. The satellite maintains stable telemetry connection, all the onboard systems function as planned.

This is the third Soyuz-2 carrier rocket launch from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in 2020. The Soyuz-2 space rocket complex flight tests at the Plesetsk Cosmodrome began on November 8, 2004. For the last 16 years 45 launches Soyuz-2 carrier rockets of various types have been performed from the site.

ExoMars Rover Upgrades and Parachute Tests

The Rosalind Franklin ExoMars rover after completing environmental and vacuum testing in Toulouse, France. The rover was tested in a clean room to withstand conditions similar to those on Mars. (Credit: Airbus Space)

TOULOUSE, France (ESA PR) — The second ExoMars mission, scheduled for launch to the Red Planet in 2022, is taking advantage of the extra time to upgrade some of the rover’s instruments and get ready for the next parachute high-altitude drop tests.

The new launch date on the horizon is allowing more margin for replacements and repairs to the ExoMars  Rosalind Franklin rover.

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Roscosmos Official: U.S.-Russian Space Cooperation Deteriorating

Roscosmos boss Dmitry Rogozin meets with Russia’s boss of bosses, President Vladimir Putin. (Credit: Russian President’s Office)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Although Russian President Vladimir Putin is apparently U.S. President Donald Trump’s favorite autocratic ruler, cooperation between the two nations on future space projects are breaking down, a high-ranking Roscosmos official said.

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NASA Completes Negotiations for Extra Soyuz Seat

Luca Parmitano during Soyuz redocking (Credit: ESA/NASA)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — To ensure the agency keeps its commitment for safe operations via a continuous U.S. presence aboard the International Space Station until commercial crew capabilities are routinely available, NASA has completed negotiations with the State Space Corporation Roscosmos to purchase one additional Soyuz seat for a launch this fall.

The agency received no responses from U.S. suppliers to a synopsis issued in the fall of 2019 for crew transportation in 2020. Boeing and SpaceX are in the final stages of development and testing of new human space transportation systems that will launch astronauts from American soil, including NASA’s SpaceX Demo-2 mission scheduled for launch no earlier than May 27.

In case you missed it, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine shared why the Demo-2 mission is essential.

Editor’s Note: SpaceNews reports the price is $90.25 million.

NPO Energomash Accelerator Identifies 10 Projects for Development

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — Experts from NPO Energomash (part of Roscosmos State Corporation) and integrated enterprises completed the first stage of the corporate accelerator, selecting the top 10 projects in three areas: IT technologies, civilian products, and rocket propulsion. In total, 167 applications were submitted for the competition.

During the formal examination, 96 projects were initially selected, of which 29 were allowed for in-person evaluation. However, due to the difficult epidemiological situation, the leadership of NPO Energomash together with the Skolkovo Foundation decided to transfer the in-person selection to the remote mode. 

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Head of Russian Human Spaceflight Yevgeny Mikrin Passes Away from COVID-19

Yevgeny Mikrin (Credit: Roscosmos)

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — With great sadness, Roscosmos announces the passing of Yevgeny Mikrin, Rocket and Space Corporation Energia Designer General – First Deputy Director General, Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Professor, Doctor of Technical Sciences, Soviet and Russian scientist in mechanics and control processes. Yevgeny Mikrin was 65.

His passing is an irreparable loss for Russia’s rocket and space industry, as well as the country’s science.

Yevgeny Mikrin was an outstanding scientist, designer and organizer who immensely contributed into developing the crewed and cargo spacecraft control system development, multimodule space complexes, automatic spacecraft of various purposes. Since 1981 he has worked for Energia.

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