While Russia retired its Soyuz-U rocket with one final flight on Wednesday after 44 years and 787 launches, a couple of other programs — Sea Launch and tourists trips around the moon — have resurfaced.
Rocket and Space Corporation (RSC) Energia (a part of Roscosmos) has plans to involve the leading Russian scientific centers and universities into a project to launch small Cubesat satellites using cargo transportation spacecraft Progress MS.
The project calls for installation of special containers for insertion of small spacecraft into their target orbit on the outer surface of a cargo spacecraft. These might be commercial, educational or applied satellites with the size of up to 6U. Cargo spacecraft Progress MS are launched on a regular basis three times a year within the framework of logistics support for the International Space Station (ISS).
Bloomberg Government reports that delays in fielding replacements for the retired space shuttle has forced NASA to send billions of dollars to Russia over the past six years.
NASA has spent $897 million with state-controlled Roscosmos since fiscal 2015 and $2.1 billion since the U.S. retired its space shuttle fleet in 2011, Bloomberg Government data show….
NASA must rely on Russia to transport astronauts and equipment for at least two more years. Roscosmos will receive another $950 million in 2017 and 2018 for 12 more round trips on Soyuz ISS flights, according a September report by NASA’s Office of Inspector General.
Congressional budget cuts to NASA’s Commercial Crew Program forced the agency to extend its contract with Roscosmos to keep sending American astronauts to the ISS, according to NASA Administrator Charles Bolden’s August 2015 letter to Congress.
Putin consolidated the Russian space industry into Roscosmos in 2015, placing several close advisers in senior positions, according to Senator John McCain. Among them are Chairman Dmitry Rogozin and board member Sergei Chemezov, who are listed as Specially Designated Nationals on the U.S. Department of the Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control SDN Sanctions List. Their names were added to the list following President Obama’s March 2014 emergency Executive Order 13660, issued in response to Russia’s annexation of Crimea.
Treasury denies that sanctions on Russia apply to the space industry. So while NASA isn’t in violation, it’s in an awkward position of paying billions of agency dollars directly to Russian government coffers to maintain a presence on the ISS.
The figures do not include the cost of additional Soyuz seats that NASA might end up buying for 2019 if commercial crew efforts by SpaceX and Boeing are delayed beyond 2018. NASA could purchase up to three seats through Boeing, which received them as part of a legal settlement of a lawsuit against Soyuz manufacturer RSC Energia.
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After months of saying it had no plans to purchase any additional Russian Soyuz seats to take U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station, NASA is looking to do exactly that.
Only there’s a twist: NASA won’t be purchasing the seats directly from the Russians. They will be buying them from Boeing, which has obtained
already purchased five seats from Soyuz manufacturer RSC Energia.
MOSCOW (RSC Energia PR) — The first launch of the Increased Capacity Cargo Transportation Spacecraft (ICCTS) for logistic support of the International Space Station (ISS) is possible after 2020.
Preliminary design work on the ICCTS is to be completed in December 2016, there are no plans to develop a cargo-return version of the spacecraft.
It looks as if the moribound Sea Launch company could have a new lease on life.
Majority owner Energia has scheduled a press conference with the S7 Group on Tuesday during the International Astronautical Conference in Guadalajara, Mexico. The invitation promises a major announcement about the future of the long troubled venture.
Like the elusive Loch Ness Monster, a plan to send a cosmonaut and two tourists looping around the moon in a modified Soyuz transport has once again surfaced in the Russian media.
MOSCOW — On May 12, 2016, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree, “On measures for the establishment of the State Corporation for Space Activities Roskosmos”, according to which part of the state corporation will include 46 joint-stock companies and 16 of the Federal State Unitary Enterprise.
MOSCOW (RSC Energia PR) — Rocket and Space Corporation Energia took out a patent for a composite thermal control coating Thermalox, which will become a part of thermal protection package for the reentry vehicle of the new-generation crew transportation spacecraft Federation.
Developers’ analyses show that this unique coating will make it possible to maintain the specified thermal balance and provide electrostatic protection to the spacecraft. Thermal spraying will be used to apply the thermal protection coating to the external surface of the spacecraft.
MOSCOW (RSC Energia PR) — The RSC Energia specialists conducted the first tests of the man-machine interface elements on a unique stand for ergonomic testing the Federation manned transport spacecraft of a new generation.
The tests of different information-control formats are made in the scope of these tests for the Federation crew; after the analysis of the test results the decisions on expediency of using one or another of the interface elements in the new spacecraft will be accepted.
The news that Roscosmos has found a buyer for Sea Launch has sparked more litigation over the troubled launch provider.
Boeing has filed suit to block the sale until it can collect a court judgment of $298 million from its Russian and Ukrainian partners. Boeing won a court case in September that involves payments that RSC Energia and Yuzhnoye owe from previous business dealings.
It looks as if Russia has found someone to take Sea Launch off its hands.
Russia’s space agency Roscosmos has found a buyer for a troubled commercial space project known as Sea Launch, the agency’s director Igor Komarov was cited by the TASS news agency as saying on Wednesday.
“I cannot tell you who the investor is, or the value of the contract, due to certain obligations. I hope that we will have something to say about it by the end of April,” Komarov said. He did, however, say that investors from the U.S., Australia, China and Europe have expressed interest in the project.
The troubled company, which uses a floating platform to launch communications satellite aboard Zenit boosters from the equator, has been on the market for several years. It is majority owned by RSC Energia.
Sea Launch’s last launch was in May 2014. The company has been troubled by launch failures and an inability to secure a significant percentage of the global launch market.
MOSCOW (RSC Energia PR) — On Tuesday, March 1, 2016, JSC RSC Energia, JSC Russian Space Systems (RSS), included into State Corporation ROSCOSMOS, and Airbus DS, the largest European aerospace corporation, agreed on expanding their cooperation in development of state-of-the-art commercial satellites, as well as in manufacturing and delivery of reliable space equipment in the interests of Russian civilian space programs.
The International Monetary Fund estimates the Ukrainian space industry lost up to 80 percent of its revenues following the Russian invasion of the eastern part of the country.
MOSCOW (RSC Energia PR) — On Tuesday, January 26, 2016, RSC Energia will be visited by a delegation from the State Scientific Center of the Russian Federation “Institute for Biomedical Problems” (IBMP) of the Russian Academy of Sciences. During the visit the President of RSC Energia Vladimir Solntsev and IBMP Director Oleg Orlov are to sign a strategic partnership agreement.