Crew of Russian Commercial Mission to ISS Answers Questions in Preflight News Conference

Soyuz ISS-66 crew members: actress Yulia Peresild, Roscosmos cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov and film director Klim Shipenko. (Credit: Roscosmos)

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — A pre-flight press conference of the main and backup crews of the ISS-66 Expedition took place at the Cosmonaut Training Center. Journalists, bloggers, social media users from all over the world sent many questions to them. The event was held online in cooperation with TASS, Roscosmos State Corporation, Channel One and the Yu.A. Gagarin.

Recall that the main crew of ISS-66: Hero of the Russian Federation, Roscosmos cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov, film director Klim Shipenko, and actress Yulia Peresild. Their understudies are Hero of the Russian Federation, Roscosmos cosmonaut Oleg Artemiev, cameraman Alexei Dudin, and actress Alena Mordovina.

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Two Flight Engineers’ Stay on ISS Extended; Biology, Maintenance Work Pick Up

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — Two International Space Station crew members have had their stay onboard the orbiting lab extended to nearly a year. Meanwhile, space biology and life support maintenance kept the Expedition 65 crew busy on Tuesday.

With the plans for Russian spaceflight participants to visit the space station as part of the Soyuz MS-19 crew in October 2021, NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei and Roscosmos cosmonaut Pyotr Dubrov will remain aboard the station until March 2022. Upon return to Earth, Vande Hei will hold the record for longest single spaceflight for an American. [Editor’s Note: The Russians are sending an actress and director to shoot a movied named “Challenge.”]

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NASA Sets Coverage for Two Russian Spacewalks Outside Space Station

Expedition 65 flight engineer and Roscosmos cosmonaut Pyotr Dubrov, pictured during a spacewalk to perform work on the Pirs docking compartment. (Credits: NASA)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — Two Russian cosmonauts will venture outside the International Space Station Friday, Sept. 3, and Thursday, Sept. 9, to conduct the first pair of up to 11 spacewalks to prepare the new Nauka multipurpose laboratory module for operations in space. NASA will provide live coverage for both spacewalks, or extravehicular activities (EVA), on NASA Television, the NASA app, and agency’s website.

Coverage Friday, Sept. 3, will begin at 10 a.m. EDT, with the spacewalk scheduled to begin at approximately 10:35 a.m., and coverage Thursday, Sept. 9, begins at 10:30 a.m. with the spacewalk expected to begin about 11 a.m. The first spacewalk, called Russian EVA 49, could last up to seven hours, while the second spacewalk, Russian EVA 50, is scheduled to last about five hours.

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Russia Postpones Luna-25 Mission by Six Months to May 2022

Luna 25 undergoes acoustics tests. (Credit: RSC Energia/Roscosmos)

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — The launch of the Luna-25 automatic interplanetary station from the Vostochny Cosmodrome has been reconfirmed and is scheduled for the second possible launch window (the period when the spacecraft launched from the Earth, taking into account its design features and power-to-weight ratio, will optimally reach its destination along a given trajectory) in May 2022. 

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Soyuz-2.1b Launch Vehicle with 34 OneWeb Satellites Installed on Launch Pad at Baikonur

Soyuz rocket with OneWeb satellites aboard. (Credit: Yuzhny/Roscosmos)

BAIKONUR, Kazakhstan (Roscosmos PR) — The Soyuz-2.1b launch vehicle with the Fregat upper stage and 34 OneWeb communications satellites was rolled out from the Assembly and Test Facility on Monday. The launch vehicle was installed on the launch pad of the Baikonur Сosmodrome, the launch is scheduled for Thursday, August 19, at 22:23 UTC.

Pre-launch activities are carried out under the contracts of Glavkosmos (a subsidiary of Roscosmos) with the European launch services provider Arianespace (the company operates launches of OneWeb spacecraft with the use of the Soyuz launch vehicle), and the company Starsem. The joint team of the foreign customers and the representatives of Roscosmos enterprises: Progress Space Rocket Center, Lavochkin Association, TsENKI and Glavkosmos, is carrying out these works.

Currently, the specialists at the spaceport are performing the technical operations. The pre-launch tests of the Soyuz-2.1b systems are being conducted, and the interfaces between the on-board instruments and ground equipment are being checked.

Now, the fleet of the OneWeb satellites in the low Earth orbit amounts to 254 spacecraft, and hundreds more are to be launched. The upcoming launch should bring the number of OneWeb spacecraft in orbit to 288. OneWeb low Earth orbit satellites are designed to provide consumers on the ground with high-speed Internet.

Tunisia to Send Female Cosmonaut to Space on Russian Soyuz Spacecraft

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — On Friday, August 13, 2021, in the city of Moscow, a working meeting was held between Dmitry Rogozin, Director General of the Roscosmos State Corporation, and Muhammad Friha, Director General of the Tunisian company Telnet Holding, with the participation of Tarak bin Salem, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Tunisian Republic to the Russian Federation.

The President of the Republic of Tunisia, Kais Said, also took part in the meeting in a remote format, praising the Russian-Tunisian cooperation in the field of space and noting that Russia and Tunisia have great opportunities for the implementation of mutually beneficial joint projects.

During the meeting, the parties discussed the prospects for Russian-Tunisian cooperation in the field of manned space flights, in particular, the intentions of the Tunisian side to train and launch a woman cosmonaut into space.

The meeting resulted in the signing of a joint Memorandum of Understanding on bilateral cooperation in the field of manned space flights.

NASA Denies Accusation that Astronaut Suffered Mental Breakdown, Drilled Hole in Soyuz

Astronaut Serena Auñón-Chancellor loading experiment modules into an MVP. (Credit: NASA)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

NASA has denied a claim in a Russian publication that one of its astronauts, Serena Maria Auñón-Chancellor, might have suffered a mental breakdown while aboard the International Space Station (ISS) and drilled a hole in a Soyuz spacecraft in order to get back to Earth earlier than planned.

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A Video Look Inside the New Nauka Module on the Space Station

Video Caption: Roscosmos cosmonaut Oleg Novitsky, who is now aboard the International Space Station, published a video tour of the Nauka multipurpose laboratory module, which on July 29 docked to the ISS in normal mode. The footage shows how he, together with Peter Dubrov, opens the hatches into the new Russian module, after which they move into it. Then a small excursion through the “Science” itself begins.

Nauka Science Module Docks with International Space Station

Nauka module docked at the International Space Station. (Credit: Roscosmos)

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — In accordance with the International Space Station flight program, today, July 29, 2021, at 16:29:06 Moscow time, the Nauka multipurpose laboratory module docked with the nadir docking port of the Zvezda service module of the ISS Russian segment. According to telemetry data and reports from the ISS crew, the on-board systems of the station and the “Nauka” module are functioning normally.

The multipurpose module “Nauka” was successfully launched into low-earth orbit on July 21, 2021 using a heavy launch vehicle “Proton-M”. After separating from the third stage, he was accepted for escort by the ground services of the TsNIIMash Mission Control Center near Moscow (part of the Roscosmos State Corporation), completed the construction of the required orientation, deployed solar panels and radio antennas, and then began an eight-day rendezvous program with the station.

At the autonomous rendezvous section, specialists from the Main Operational Control Group (LOCT, RSC Energia named after SP Korolev, part of Roscosmos) performed several firing of the module’s engines to raise and correct the orbit, as well as to enter the meeting area with the ISS at estimated time. The operations of flying around the station, hovering, docking and docking with the Zvezda service module were carried out under the supervision of LOCT specialists and Russian crew members of the long-term expedition ISS-65, Roscosmos cosmonauts Oleg Novitsky and Peter Dubrov. This docking was the first since 2010, when the small research module No. 1 “Rassvet” was docked to the station.

Within 1.5 hours after the completion of the docking, the cosmonauts will check the tightness of the docking connections and technological communications. At 18:15 Moscow time, it is planned to open the hatch of the transition compartment of the Zvezda module and in a few minutes more – the hatch of the new Russian module, as well as the entry of the crew into the living area of ​​the instrument-sealed compartment. The program of today’s work is limited to the installation of instruments for the analysis and purification of the atmosphere on board the arrived “Science”.

Controllers Make Another Orbital Correction for Nauka Module

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — On Tuesday, July 27, 2021, specialists of the flight control group of the multipurpose module “Nauka” at the Mission Control Center of TsNIIMash (part of the State Corporation “Roscosmos”) routinely carried out a corrective maneuver of the module launched last Wednesday to the International Space Station.

The next firing for further orbit alignment is scheduled for July 28th.

The day before, the Progress MS-16 cargo vehicle with the Pirs module of the ISS Russian segment undocked from the Zvezda module of the International Space Station. Last night, Flight Control Center specialists examined the docking station of the nadir port of the service module, where it is planned to dock the multipurpose laboratory module. As a result of the analysis, the absence of mechanical interference for the docking was stated. Thus, the readiness of the docking assemblies for the planned docking of Nauka has been confirmed, and an unscheduled spacewalk is not required.

Thanks to the cosmonauts of Roskosmos Oleg Novitsky and Peter Dubrov, we can see the undocking of the Pirs module from the International Space Station in 4K quality.

Progress MS-16 and Pirs Undocked from International Space Station

Progress MS-16 and the Pirs module after undocking from the International Space Station. (Credit: Roscosmos)

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — In accordance with the flight program of the Russian segment of the International Space Station, today, on July 26, 2021, the Progress MS-16 transport cargo vehicle with the Pirs docking module undocked from the ISS.

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Roscosmos Pushes Back Pirs Module Undocking to Monday

The Nauka Multipurpose Laboratory Module undergoes final processing at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan in preparation for its launch to the International Space Station on a Proton rocket. (Credits: Roscosmos)

Editor’s Note: The undocking of the Pirs module from the International Space Station had been scheduled for Friday to make way for the new Nauka science module. The delaty is due to problems with Nauka’s engines and docking system after launch from Baikonur Cosmodrome last week. Those issues have apparently been resolved.

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — Based on the results of an operational meeting of the control group at the Flight Control Center of TsNIIMash (part of the Roscosmos State Corporation), specialists, based on the data obtained from telemetry and based on the need to build optimal orbit conditions, decided to adjust the plans for undocking the Pirs module. These operations are currently scheduled for Monday 26 July 2021.

On Saturday, Roscosmos cosmonauts Oleg Novitsky and Pyotr Dubrov closed the transfer hatches between the Pirs module and the Russian segment of the International Space Station, and checked them for leaks. The physical separation of the bundle from the Progress MS-16 cargo vehicle and the Pirs module from the ISS is tentatively scheduled at 13:56 Moscow time on July 26, and the fall of the fireproof structural elements of the module and the ship in the Pacific Ocean – at 17:51 Moscow time. the same day.

Now the Pirs docking module is docked to the nadir port of the Zvezda service module of the Russian segment of the station. It is planned that after undocking its place will be taken by the multipurpose laboratory module “Science”, which was launched on Wednesday from the Baikonur cosmodrome and is in autonomous flight.

On the eve of this event, the Aist-2D small Earth remote sensing spacecraft, developed at the Progress Rocket and Space Center (Samara, part of the Roscosmos State Corporation), photographed the International Space Station. RCC “Progress” is the operator of the satellite “Aist-2D”, providing control, reception, processing and distribution of the received information of remote sensing of the Earth.

Russians Fire Nauka’s Engines to Adjust Module’s Orbit

The Nauka Multipurpose Laboratory Module undergoes final processing at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan in preparation for its launch to the International Space Station on a Proton rocket. (Credits: Roscosmos)

Editor’s Note: Engineers appear to have worked out problems with the engine on the new Nauka science module heading for a docking with the International Space Station next week.

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — On Thursday, July 22, 2021, specialists of the flight control group of the multipurpose module Nauka in the Moscow Region Mission Control Center conducted two corrective maneuvers of the module launched the day before to the International Space Station.

The first maneuver took place at 18:07 Moscow time, when the engines of the module were turned on for 17.23 seconds. The impulse value was 1 m / s. The second switching on of the engines took place at 20:19 Moscow time and lasted 250.04 seconds. The impulse was 14.59 m / s.

Orbital parameters after two impulses:

  • Orbital period : 90.17 min;
  • Orbit inclination : 51.64 degrees;
  • Minimum orbital altitude : 230.43 km;
  • Maximum orbital altitude : 364.86 km.

Thus, the telemetry data confirmed the operability of the module’s propulsion system. The next pulses for further orbit building are scheduled for tomorrow, July 23rd. Undocking and flooding of the Pirs module is scheduled for Saturday 24 July.

Russian Space Station Module Runs into Trouble in Orbit

Russia’s new ISS science module Nauka ran into trouble after launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome on Wednesday. A number of anomalies have popped up; the most serious issue at the moment appears to be with the Nauka‘s engine, which is needed to maneuver the module for a docking with the International Space Station.

Roscosmos has been of no help in sorting out the reports. The Russian corporation in charge of the country’s space program has issued no updates since reporting a successful launch aboard a Proton booster.

Nauka is designed to replace the Pirs module, which the ISS crew planned to jettison. Below is a list of Nauka‘s functions.

  • Provision of docking of Progress MS transport cargo ships, Soyuz MS manned transport spacecraft and the Prichal nodal module;
  • roll control of the International Space Station;
  • receiving fuel from the Progress MS cargo spacecraft, storing it and transferring it to the tanks of the Zvezda module for performing dynamic operations – correcting the orbit, attitude and stabilization of the ISS;
  • storage of cargo delivered in the interests of the Russian segment of the ISS;
  • ensuring the functioning of the European manipulator ERA;
  • functioning of a complex of target loads for the implementation of the program of scientific and applied research in conditions of increased comfort of the crew;
  • oxygen production to meet the needs of a crew of up to six people;
  • the functioning of the airlock to work with target loads, including the use of the European Robotic Arm robotic arm;
  • functioning of the on-board workshop and a cabin for the third crew member of the Russian segment of the ISS, as well as ensuring the operation of a sewage and sanitary device with a system for regenerating water from urine.

Russia Launches Nauka Space Station Module into Orbit

BAIKONUR COSMODROME, Kazakhstan (Roscosmos PR) — On July 21, 2021 at 17: 58: 24.938  Moscow time, the launch vehicle “Proton-M” with the multipurpose laboratory module “Nauka” was launched from the launcher No. 39 of the launch pad No. 200 of the Baikonur cosmodrome. According to the received telemetric information, all stages of the launch vehicle flight (separation of stages and dumping of the nose fairing flaps) passed in the normal mode.

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