Felix & Paul Studios Launch Space Explorers: Taking Flight Virtual Reality Experience on Oculus Store

Academy-Award Winning Actress Brie Larson Narrates Latest Space Explorers VR Experience

MONTREAL — July 13, 2018 (Felix & Paul Studios PR) — Felix & Paul Studios, the EMMY® award-winning creator of immersive entertainment experiences, today premiered Episode Two of their groundbreaking virtual reality series, Space Explorers, on the Oculus Store.

This latest episode in the series was produced in conjunction with Facebook’s Oculus with participation from NASA, the Russian space agency, Roscosmos, and leading private space transportation companies. The first episode of this made-for-VR series, Space Explorers: A New Dawn, premiered at the 2018 Sundance New Frontier exhibition to wide critical acclaim. Academy Award-winning actress Brie Larson provided narration for both Episodes 1 and 2 of Space Explorers.

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Rogozin Lays Out 10 Principles to Guide Roscosmos

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

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — Today, June 28, 2018, Moscow hosted the scientific and practical conference “The main tasks and prospects for the development of Roscosmos”, at which the General Director of Roscosmos Dmitry Rogozin announced ten principles on which the State Corporation and enterprises of the industry will operate.

At the event, not only the heads of Roscosmos, but also all the enterprises of the industry gathered, there were altogether more than 250 people. The moderator of the conference was acting. Nikolay Sevastyanov, First Deputy General Director of Roscosmos State Corporation, who outlined the program of the meeting.

Opening speech delivered by Dmitry Rogozin, at the very beginning of which he cited Academician Andrei Sakharov: “Life is an expansion.” He also stressed that the Russian cosmos is the crown of self-identification of our people.

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RSC Energia Director General Steps Down, RCC Progress Gets Interim Director

Roscosmos head Dmitry Rogozin. (Credit: A. Savin)

Roscosmos’ new boss, Dmitry Rogozin, appears to be making some changes within his domain with new leadership at two of the nation’s leading space companies.

Tass reports that Vladimir Solntsev, the head of RSC Energia, will step down from his post on Aug. 3. The publication gave no reason for Solntsev’s departure from the corporation, which is a subsidiary of Roscosmos.

Tass reports he became RSC Energia’s president in September 2014 and its director general in June 2016. Energia manufactures the Soyuz crew vehicle and other Russian spacecraft.

Officials plan to selected a new director general at an emergency shareholders’ meeting on Aug. 21. Sergei Romanov, the company’s general designer for human space systems, will become acting director after Solntsev departs.

Rocket maker RCC Progress also has new leadership. On June 26, the corporation’s board of directors appointed Dmitry Aleksandrovich Baranov as acting general director to replace R.N. Akhmetov. An announcement was made on the company’s website.

Born in June 1970 in Kuibyshev. Baranov graduated from Samara State Aerospace University with a degree in rocket engineering in 1994. He began working at RCC Progress (then known as TsSKB Progress) the year before he graduated.

From 2005 to 2011, he served as director of the Soyuz rocket program at Europe’s Guiana Space Center in South America.

UAE Astronaut Search: And Then There Were 18

The National reports that the United Arab Emirates has a short list for its astronaut corps.

With 4,022 Emiratis originally applying, a shortlist of 95 men and women was whittled down to 39. Now now the remaining 18 candidates will proceed to the final interview stage.

Four of these will form the country’s first astronaut corps and travel into space. The first UAE astronaut will lift off next April as part of the agreement reached with Roscosmos, the Russian Space Agency.

As part of the crew on a Soyuz spaceship, they will spend 10 days conducting scientific research on the International Space Station (ISS) before returning to Earth.

The 39 went through a round of tests that included a range of activities to measure intelligence, aptitude, neurocognitive ability, personality, and working memory, according to the MBRSC.

New Crew Launches to ISS

The Soyuz MS-09 rocket is launched with Expedition 56 Soyuz Commander Sergey Prokopyev of Roscosmos, flight engineer Serena Auñón-Chancellor of NASA, and flight engineer Alexander Gerst of ESA (European Space Agency), Wednesday, June 6, 2018 at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Prokopyev, Auñón-Chancellor, and Gerst will spend the next six months living and working aboard the International Space Station. (Credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky)

BAIKONUR COSMODROME, Kazakhstan (NASA PR) — Three crew members are on their way to the International Space Station after launching from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 7:12 a.m. EDT Wednesday (5:12 p.m. Baikonur time).

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Putin Appoints Mr. Trampoline Man to Head Roscosmos

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

Well, it’s official.

Dmitry Rogozin, who presided over a sharp decline in Russia’s space program for seven years as deputy prime minister, has been named as head state corporation Roscomos.

Putin said Rogozin knows the industry and would strengthen the space company’s leadership. The Russian president also said the new Roscosmos head would have the opportunity to implement a number of good ideas and reforms.

Others, however, see potential trouble ahead.

“Everything he says is silly from a technical point of view,” independent space expert Vadim Lukashevich told AFP.

Lukashevich said Rogozin, 54, was an outsider and lacked the necessary education and expertise to head the space agency.

“He is the head of the industry’s burial party.”

Another independent space expert, Vitaly Yegorov, said he was concerned about the prospects for international cooperation.

Space exploration is one of the few areas where cooperation between Russia and the United States has not been wrecked by tensions over Ukraine, Syria and elsewhere.

Putin appointed Rogozin to oversee the space program in 2011 amid a series of launch failures. (He also oversaw the defense sector.) The failures continued throughout his tenure as the number of Russian launches declined in the face of competition from SpaceX.

In 2014, the United States placed Rogozin under sanctions as a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and annexation of Crimea. In response, he suggested American astronauts reach the International Space Station using a trampoline instead of Soyuz Russian spacecraft.

Cruz, Nelson Criticize Plan to End Direct ISS Funding in 2025

International Space Station (Credit: NASA)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Sharply conflicting opinions about the future of the International Space Station (ISS) and America’s path forward in space were on view last week in a Senate hearing room turned boxing ring.

In one corner was NASA Associate Administrator Bill Gerstenamier, representing a Trump Administration that wants to end direct federal funding for ISS in 2025 in order to pursue an aggressive campaign of sending astronauts back to the moon. NASA would maintain a presence in Earth orbit, becoming one of multiple users aboard a privatized ISS or privately-owned stations.

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Report: Rogozin to Become New Head of Roscosmos

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

It appears as those celebrating the dumping of Dmitry Rogozin as overseer of the Russian space program may have been doing their vodka Jell-O shots too soon.

According to the Google Translate version of this article, the bombastic Rogozin — who had been overseeing the space and defense sectors as deputy prime minister — has been offered the opportunity to take over Roscosmos, the government corporation that runs the nation’s space program.

The offer came after he was dumped from the Cabinet for Vladimir Putin’s fourth term as president.

Rogozin would replace Igor Komarov, a former auto industry executive who was brought in as deputy head of Roscosmos in 2013 and placed in charge of consolidating the space industry. Komarov became head of Roscosmos in January 2015.

Rogozin was among a number of high-level government officials placed under sanctions by the United States following the invasion of Ukraine and annexation of Crimea. In response, he tweeted that NASA should send it astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) using trampolines instead of flying aboard Russian Soyuz spacecraft. Rogozin didn’t follow through on the implied threat.

The Roscosmos gig appears to be a pretty lucrative one. The website Crime Russia reports that Komarov’s income totaled almost 109 million rubles ($1.76 million), including 71.5 million rubles ($1.15 million) from his job at Roscosmos. His income from other sources was not disclosed.

“The official owns five plots of land with the total area of almost 12 sq m, a house of 2.5 thousand sq m, an apartment (118 sq m), a gas pipeline section, and non-residential premises,” the website reported. “The Roscosmos head’s car fleet includes LADA Largus and Mercedes-Benz Viano.”

ESA Tests Largest Mars Parachute

KIRUNA, Sweden (ESA PR) — The largest parachute ever to fly on a Mars mission has been deployed in the first of a series of tests to prepare for the upcoming ExoMars mission that will deliver a rover and a surface science platform to the Red Planet.

The spacecraft that will carry them is due for launch in July 2020, with arrival at Mars in March 2021. The rover will be the first of its kind to drill below the surface and determine if evidence of life is buried underground, protected from the destructive radiation that impinges the surface today.

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Russian Launch Failures Aren’t a Bug, They’re a Feature

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

by Douglas Messier
Managing Edior

Over the past few years, I’ve been keeping track of Russia’s annual launch failures. For reasons I can’t quite recall, the table I’ve used only went back to 2009.

Recently, I saw a graphic on a Russian website about launch failures, and I realized I hadn’t gone back far enough. So, I dug into the records of the last 30 years from 1988 through 2017, which covers Russia and the last four years of the Soviet Union.

And holy crap! There were a helluva lot of them. Launch failures are not a bug in the system, they’re a feature.

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New Crew Heads for International Space Station

The Soyuz MS-08 rocket is launched with Expedition 55 Soyuz Commander Oleg Artemyev of Roscosmos and flight engineers Ricky Arnold and Drew Feustel of NASA, Wednesday, March 21, 2018 at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Artemyev, Arnold, and Feustel will spend the next five months living and working aboard the International Space Station. (Credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky)

BAIKONUR COSMODROME, Kazakhstan (NASA PR) — Three crew members, including NASA astronauts Drew Feustel and Ricky Arnold, are on their way to the International Space Station after launching from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 1:44 p.m. EDT Wednesday (11:44 p.m. Baikonur time).

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Updated Global Launch Schedule Through April

Expedition 55 crew members Ricky Arnold, Drew Feustel and cosmonaut Oleg Artemyev. (Credit: NASA)

Below is the updated launch schedule through the end of April. The 17 scheduled launches include:

  • 7 USA (6 Falcon 9, 1 Atlas V)
  • 4 Russia (1 Soyuz, 1 Soyuz-2.1, 1 Proton, 1 Rockot)
  • 3 India (2 GSLV Mk.2, 1 PSLV)
  • 2 China (2 Long March 3B)
  • 1 Europe (1 Ariane 5).

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NASA Television Coverage Set for Space Station Crew Launch, Docking

Expedition 55 crew members Ricky Arnold, Drew Feustel and cosmonaut Oleg Artemyev. (Credit: NASA)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — Two American astronauts and a Russian cosmonaut are ready for their journey to the International Space Station that begins on Wednesday, March 21. Live coverage will air on NASA Television and the agency’s website.

At the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, NASA astronauts Drew Feustel and Ricky Arnold, and cosmonaut Oleg Artemyev of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, are set to launch in the Soyuz MS-08 spacecraft at 1:44 p.m. EDT (11:44 p.m. Kazakhstan time) March 21.

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Russia, China Sign Lunar Cooperation Agreement

TOKYO (ROSCOSMOS PR) — On March 3, 2018, the Roscosmos State Corporation and the Chinese National Space Administration, in the framework of the International Space Development Forum (ISEF) in Tokyo, signed an agreement on intentions for cooperation in the field of exploration of the Moon and deep space, and the creation of a Data Center on lunar projects.

The sides expressed their readiness to consider the possibility of cooperation in the implementation of the Russian mission to launch the orbital spacecraft Luna-Resurs-1 (Luna-26) in 2022, as well as the planned Chinese mission for landing in the region of the south pole of the Moon in 2023. The document was signed by the general director of Roskosmos state corporation Igor Komarov and the deputy head of the Chinese national space administration Y. Yanhua.

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Russians Lose Contact With Newly Launched Satellite

UPDATE: TASS reports that controllers have re-established contact with the spacecraft and are receiving telemetry. The report offers no further details at this time.

Russian officials say they have lost contact with the Angosat-1 communications satellite, which was launched from the Baikonur  Cosmodrome on Tuesday aboard a Zenit 2SB booster.

“Contact has temporarily been lost,” the source told AFP, adding specialists were now looking into the matter.

The source said officials had stopped receiving “telemetry data” but called it a “rather common situation” and expressed the hope that contact would be re-established.

The reason for the loss of contact was not immediately clear.

The Russian space agency Roscosmos said the Zenit booster performed as planned, deploying Angola’s first communications satellite into its intended orbit. Contact was lost after the spacecraft separated from the booster’s upper stage.

The spacecraft is a joint $280 million project between Angola and Russia that was funded with credit from Russian banks. The spacecraft was built by Russia’s RSC Energia. Fifty Angolans were trained to operate and maintain Angosat-1 from a control center outside Luanda.