Tag: Roscosmos

Head of RSC Energia Targeted in Criminal Investigation

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Energia_logoThe Russian Investigative Committee, that nation’s equivalent of the FBI, has opened a criminal probe into the conduct of RSC Energia President Vitaly Lopota for alleged abuse of office, according to media reports.

Detectives found that “in 2010, Lopota who performed managerial functions at RSC Energia gave instructions to the leadership of its subsidiary, an experimental machine-building plant of RSC Energia, to grant loans to two companies participating in commercial space project Sea Launch.”

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Angara Launch Vehicle Undergoes Tests at Plesetsk

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angara_payload_fairing1
PLESETSK, Russia (ILS PR) — System-level tests of the Angara Launch System continue at Plesetsk Cosmodrome in Russia.

The engineering mock-up of the light-lift Angara launch vehicle was rolled out of the Integration-and-Test Facility (ITF) and installed at the Launch Complex on Monday, February 17, in full accordance with the schedule.

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Russian Head of Baikonur Resigns

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Proton rocket

Proton rocket

The Russian head of the Baikonur Cosmodrome has resigned.

Yevgeny Anisimov, who headed the space center since 2010, was recently summoned to Moscow and pressured to sign a letter of resignation. RIA Novosti reports that Anisimov, who had worked at Baikonur for almost 30 years, “will likely be reappointed to a position at Russia’s space launch coordination body.”

Russia’s Kommersant newspaper reported that Anisimov had reportedly clashed with his superiors at Roscosmos. The Russian space agency was recently placed under new management after an embarrassing and costly series of launch failures.

Rogozin Threatens Satellite Producers With Heavy Fines as Creation of New Space Corporation Advances

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

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

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin is on the warpath again, threatening to levy heavier penalties against space companies that failed to meet satellite production deadlines.

“We certainly need a completely different level of discipline and responsibility in this area,” he said after a government meeting on reform of the space industry, chaired by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.

Rogozin said the government would introduce stronger penalties for companies that did not manufacture and deliver spacecraft on schedule. He did not specify what the penalties would be.

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Congressional Cuts Force NASA to Send More Money to Russia

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Soyuz TMA-22 crew in space. (Credit: NASA TV)

Soyuz TMA-22 crew in space. (Credit: NASA TV)

NASA’s bill for crew transportation services to the International Space Station is expected to rise to more than $2 billion with the space agency’s latest decision to extend an agreement with the Russian space agency Roscosmos through the spring of 2018.

NASA plans to purchase six additional seats aboard Russian Soyuz transports for 2017 plus emergency crew rescue services through the spring of 2018. A similar deal the space agency signed last May for 2016 and 2017 cost $424 million, or roughly $70 million per seat. How much the new agreement will cost is unknown, but costs have risen sharply over the past several years.

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White House Approves 4-Year ISS Extension, NASA Plans Press Conference

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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)

Reliable reports this morning indicate the Obama Administration has approved a four-year extension for the International Space Station from 2020 to 2024. That effort, of course, will depend on whether the international partners — Canada, Europe, Japan and Russia — agree to extend the program.

The decision has been announced as the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA) prepares to host the two-day Space Exploration Conference and Heads of Agencies Summit on Exploration beginning on Thursday.  The heads of the space agencies will certainly be asked about the extension during their meeting.
In the meantime, NASA will host a teleconference at 12:30 p.m. EST today, Jan. 8, to update media on plans for the International Space Station.

The teleconference participants are:

– William Gerstenmaier, associate administrator for NASA’s Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate
– Sam Scimemi, director of NASA’s International Space Station Program.

The teleconference will be streamed live online at:

http://www.nasa.gov/newsaudio

Russia 2013 Space Year in Review

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Expedition 37 takes off for the International Space Station. (Credit: NASA)

Expedition 37 takes off for the International Space Station. (Credit: NASA)

By Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Russia once again led the world in orbital launches in 2013, keeping the International Space Station supplied with a study stream of crew members and cargo while earning hard currency with commercial satellite launches.

Although the vast majority of Russia’s launches were successful, the spectacular failure in July of a Proton rocket — which nosedived into the ground shortly after liftoff — accelerated efforts to reform the nation’s failure-prone space program. By the end of the year, the Russian space agency Roscosmos had a new leader and a major effort was underway to consolidate a large part of the bloated and inefficient space sector under a single government-owned company.

During 2013, Russia introduced a new variant of its venerable Soyuz rocket while also making progress on constructing a new spaceport in the Far East and developing a larger human spacecraft to replace the Soyuz transport and a heavy-lift booster to facilitate deep space exploration.

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Putin Signs Decree Creating United Rocket and Space Corporation

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Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin tours RSC Energia in July. (Credit: Russian Federation Government)

Russian President Vladimir Putin tours RSC Energia. (Credit: Russian Federation Government)

Last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree to establish the United Rocket and Space Corporation, an entity designed to consolidate much of the nation’s space industry under one entity while reducing inefficiencies and redundancies.

The move comes after three years of embarrassing and costly launch failures overseen by the Russian space agency Roscomos, which will have its role shifted to contracting, coordination and policy implementation.

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With NASA Not Interested, Will Tito Approach Russia, China?

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Credit: Inspiration Mars

Credit: Inspiration Mars

Dennis Tito’s trail balloon for NASA to devote about $700 million to help his foundation, Inspiration Mars, send two astronauts around Mars in 2018 has landed with a thud. An official response from NASA’s Public Affairs Office included this curt dismissal:

Inspiration Mars’ proposed schedule is a significant challenge due to life support systems, space radiation response, habitats, and the human psychology of being in a small spacecraft for over 500 days. The agency is willing to share technical and programmatic expertise with Inspiration Mars, but is unable to commit to sharing expenses with them.

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ISS Science Highlights for Week of Nov. 4

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From left, Expedition 38 Flight Engineer Koichi Wakata of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, Soyuz Commander Mikhail Tyurin of Roscosmos, and Flight Engineer Rick Mastracchio of NASA, smile and wave as they hold an Olympic torch that will be flown with them to the International Space Station. (Credit: NASA/Bill Ingals)

From left, Expedition 38 Flight Engineer Koichi Wakata of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, Soyuz Commander Mikhail Tyurin of Roscosmos, and Flight Engineer Rick Mastracchio of NASA, smile and wave as they hold an Olympic torch that will be flown with them to the International Space Station. (Credit: NASA/Bill Ingals)

ISS Science Highlights: Week of Nov. 4, 2013
By John Love, Lead Increment Scientist
Expedition 37/38

Three Expedition 38 crew members — NASA astronaut Rick Mastracchio, Soyuz Commander Mikhail Tyurin and JAXA astronaut Koichi Wakata — launched to the International Space Station on Nov. 6 for a five-and-a-half-month mission. The crew took with them the Olympic torch that will be used to light the Olympic flame at Fisht Stadium in Sochi, Russia, to mark the start of the 2014 Winter Games.

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