Russian Nodal Module for Space Station Completes Vacuum Chamber Test

Prichal nodal module (Credit: RSC Energia/Roscosmos)

BAIKONUR COSMODROME, Kazakhstan (Roscosomos PR) — At the Baikonur Cosmodrome, tightness tests of the Prichal nodal module in the vacuum chamber of the assembly and testing building of site No. 254 have been completed.

In accordance with the work schedule, specialists of the Energia Rocket and Space Corporation and the Yuzhny Space Center (a branch of the Center for Operation of Ground-Based Space Infrastructure Facilities) performed a cycle of pneumatic vacuum tests of the Prichal module, which lasted from September 21, 2021. The module is currently installed in its workplace and connected to ground test equipment to continue prelaunch preparation.

The Prichal universal nodal module designed and manufactured by RSC Energia named after S.P. Korolev is designed to expand the technical and operational capabilities of the Russian segment of the ISS. The launch of the Prichal into a near-earth orbit and its docking with the nadir node of the Nauka multipurpose laboratory module are planned for November 2021.

Russia Schedules Launch of New Space Station Module for July 21

Fitting a radiator for the cooling system and installation of devices. (Credit: Yuzhny Space Center/Roscosmos)

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — In accordance with the State Commission decision, the Proton-M carrier rocket with the new Nauka laboratory module is scheduled to launch from Site 200 of the Baikonur Cosmodrome on July 21, 2021 at 14:58:21 UTC. Reserve dates: July 22 and 23. Its flight to the International Space Station will take 8 days, and docking to the nadir port of the Zvezda service module is scheduled for July 29, expected at 13:26 UTC.

(more…)

Russia’s Changing Story on ISS and its New Space Station

The International Space Station, photographed by ESA astronaut Paolo Nespoli following the undocking of his Soyuz-TMA on 23 May 2011. (Credit: ESA/NASA)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Well, this is interesting. And by interest, I mean what cynics had been predicting all along.

In the space of a couple of weeks, Russia’s plan for the future of the International Space Station (ISS) shifted from full withdrawal in 2025, to gradual withdrawal and the launch of a new Russian-only station beginning in 2025, to we’re fine with extending ISS to 2028 and we’ll start launching our new station then.

(more…)

Rogozin: Russia to Gradually Withdraw from International Space Station Starting in 2025

The International Space Station, photographed by ESA astronaut Paolo Nespoli following the undocking of his Soyuz-TMA on 23 May 2011. (Credit: ESA/NASA)

Roscomos General Director Dmitry Rogozin said Russia’s withdrawal from the International Space Station (ISS) will be a gradual one. TASS reports:

“Work is already underway on the first basic module for the new Russian orbital service station. The Energia Space Rocket Corporation has been set the task of ensuring its readiness for the launch into the designated orbit in 2025,” Rogozin wrote in his Telegram channel.

The Roscosmos chief also posted a video of the first module under construction: this will be a research and power unit that was previously intended for its launch to the International Space Station in 2024….

“There is no talk about dumping the ISS in 2025. We are talking about our gradual exit from this project and creating a new national orbital service station,” the Roscosmos chief wrote on his Facebook, responding to a user’s comment.

(more…)

Russia’s Angara Rocket Prepares for Mass Production

The central core of an Angara launcher. (Credit: Roscosmos)

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — The new production facilities of the Khrunichev Center (part of the Roscosmos State Corporation) will make it possible to produce up to ten missiles of the Angara family per year. In two cities of Russia, large-scale preparations are underway for the start of the serial production of missiles of this family. More details about the strategy and principles of organizing production, delimiting areas of responsibility between sites, the near and medium-term prospects of the heavy and light version of Angara.

(more…)

Russian Cosmonauts Patch Cracks in Space Station’s Zvezda Module

The International Space Station, photographed by ESA astronaut Paolo Nespoli following the undocking of his Soyuz-TMA on 23 May 2011. (Credit: ESA/NASA)

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — Russian ISS-64 long-term expedition crewmembers have completed the repair works in the Zvezda service module of the Russian segment of the International Space Station.

According to RSC Energia press service, “the International Space Station crew has completed the repair works of the Zvezda module hull. In the coming days Roscosmos cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov will close the Zvezda module hatches to perform pressure level checks.”

All the works are conducted under the supervision of the ISS Russian Segment Chief Operation Control Group and RSC Energia specialists.

Currently, the 64th long-term expedition crew is working on board the International Space Station. The crew consists of Roscosmos cosmonauts Ryzhikov and Kud-Sverchkov, as well as NASA astronauts Kathleen Rubins, Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, Shannon Walker and JAXA astronaut Soichi Noguchi.

Russia’s Luna-25 Moon Lander Undergoes Acoustic Tests

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

KOROLYOV, Russia (Roscosmos PR) — In the Rocket and Space Corporation Energia named after S.P. Korolev (part of the State Corporation “Roscosmos”), acoustic tests of the lander of the automatic interplanetary station “Luna-25”, created within the framework of the “Luna-Glob” project, were carried out for the study and practical use of the natural satellite of the Earth and the lunar space. The tests were carried out by order of the S.A. Lavochkin (part of Roscosmos), the developer of this spacecraft.

(more…)

Private Space Missions Multiplying Like Rabbits

Crew Dragon docked at the International Space Station. (Credit: NASA webcast)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

With the spate of announcements about private space missions over the past year, it’s easy to lose track of the who, what, where, when, why and how of the flights.

As a public service, Parabolic Arc has collected information about all five of the announced missions.

(more…)

Baikonur Continues to Prepare New ISS Module for Launch

BAIKONUR COSMODROME, Kazakhstan (Roscosmos PR) — At the Baikonur Cosmodrome, the next stage of preparation of the “Science” module for launch to the International Space Station has begun.  Preparations for factory proof tests are ongoing. 

After the module arrived at the assembly and testing building of site No. 254 of the Baikonur Cosmodrome, work was carried out to prepare Nauka for reloading and installation at the workplace.

(more…)

Former RSC Energia CEO Arrested for Alleged Misappropriation of Funds

Former RSC Energia CEO Vladimir Solntsev has been arrested on charges of misappropriating more than 1 billion rubles ($13 million) by inflating prices on the procurement of electronic components for an International Space Station science module. Tass reports:

Solntsev’s guilt is proven by the memos, signed by the former official, as well as by witnesses’ testimonies, the investigators say. According to one case actor, a former Energia manager, who testified against Solntsev, the former CEO is a head of a crime group. Solntsev denies guilt and says the criminal case is “Roscosmos’s crackdown on the old team.” Currently, Solntsev works as an advisor to the United Aircraft Corporation CEO.

Three more suspects, including Solntsev’s deputy, have absconded and are wanted, the court said. “Suspects Ignatkin [Solntsev’s deputy], Morozov and Stapovich have absconded; an arrest warrant was issued against them,” the judge said.

According to the case materials, Solntsev and his accomplices used a chain of affiliated companies for misappropriation. Besides Solntsev, Istok Science and Production Corporation (a Rostec subsidiary) CEO Alexander Borisov and former Energia managers Stepan and Alexander Prokhorov were apprehended earlier over suspicion of fraud.

A source in the law enforcement told TASS earlier that searches were conducted at a number of premises belonging to former Energia managers and an Istok senior official over a case of a major misappropriation during shipments.

Russian Science Module Arrives at Baikonur for Tests

The Nauka module arrives at the Baikonur Cosmodrome. (Credit: Roscosmos)

BAIKONUR, Kazakhstan (Roscosmos PR) — Today, August 19, 2020, the Nauka module, which is scheduled to launch to the International Space Station in the spring of 2021, arrived at the Baikonur Cosmodrome. It took less than 10 days to transport the module to the cosmodrome; it took 14 cars to transport it and the necessary equipment.

At Baikonur, specialists from subsidiaries of the State Corporation Roscosmos – Rocket and Space Corporation Energia (the lead developer of the module) and the Center. Khrunichev (manufacturer) – will carry out factory control and measurement tests of the new module. They are the final stage in the manufacture of the product.

Tests should confirm the quality of the installation and assembly work carried out, the operability of the systems and the quality of the product as a whole. Usually this stage takes place at the manufacturing plant, but this time, according to the terms of the state contract and in accordance with the terms of reference, it will take place at the cosmodrome.

In the near future, Russian specialists at Baikonur will have to carry out a large amount of work related to electrical tests of the product (a total of 754 checks in accordance with the instructions), fitting of fasteners for large-sized objects, etc.

Roscosmos Plans to Fly One Cosmonaut & Two Tourists on Soyuz Flights

Surrounded by medical personnel, seated from left to right are spaceflight participant Guy Laliberte, Expedition 20 Commander Gennady Padalka and Expedition 20 Flight Engineer Michael Barratt.They had landed minutes before at 12:32 a.m. EDT aboard the Soyuz capsule near the town of Arkalyk, Kazakhstan, on Sunday, Oct. 11, 2009.

Editor’s Note: With the success of the SpaceX Crew Dragon mission, Russia will soon no longer be able to charge the United States more than $90 million per seat to fly NASA astronauts to the International Space Station.

To make up for the lost revenues, Roscosmos will resume flying tourists to ISS, a program that was suspended on 2009. Instead of flying two professionals and one tourist as it did during the 2000’s, Roscosmos wants to fly one cosmonaut and two tourists. The press release below, translated from Russian, describes the efforts to fly the missions safely.

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — In special classes with the participation of cosmonauts from Roscosmos, instructors of the Yu.A. Gagarin and representatives of the Rocket and Space Corporation Energia named after S.P. Korolev (part of the Roscosmos State Corporation), studies were carried out to identify the features that are possible during the implementation of the training program for the control of a manned spacecraft “Soyuz” by one cosmonaut. Subsequently, based on all comments and suggestions, a conclusion will be drawn up to organize the process of this preparation.

(more…)

Energia, Space Adventures Sign Contract for Orbital Space Tourist Flight, Space Walk

VIENNA, Va., June 25, 2020 (Space Adventures PR) – S.P. Korolev Rocket and Space Corporation “Energia” and Space Adventures, Inc. signed a contract for a short duration spaceflight of two spaceflight participants on board the same “Soyuz” spacecraft to the Russian segment of the International Space Station (ISS).

One of the mission participants will have an opportunity to conduct a spacewalk outside the space station, becoming the first private citizen in history to experience open space. Accepted and secured candidates will be required to complete specialized training and additional simulations in preparation for the spacewalk attempt.

“A private citizen completing a spacewalk would be another huge step forward in private spaceflight. We appreciate the chance to celebrate two decades of orbital space tourism with our Russian partners by opening up another first-ever experience. We applaud our colleagues at Energia for working with us to create amazing new adventures in space,” said Eric Anderson, Chairman and CEO of Space Adventures, Inc.

About Space Adventures

Space Adventures, the company that organized the flights for the world’s first private space explorers, is headquartered in the Washington, D.C. metro area. It offers a variety of programs available today, including spaceflight missions to the International Space Station, around the Moon, record-breaking orbital missions, and various training and spaceflight qualification programs. The company’s orbital spaceflight clients include Dennis Tito, Mark Shuttleworth, Greg Olsen, Anousheh Ansari, Charles Simonyi, Richard Garriott, and Guy Laliberté.

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.

(more…)