Tag: Soyuz

A Look at the ISS Flight Manifest

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Credit: NASA

Credit: NASA

There was a lot of discussion on Sunday about the impact of the loss of SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft on the International Space Station. NASA officials said the ISS crew was in no danger from a supply standpoint, and they said they would stick to the existing schedule for crew rotation but might change the cargo manifest.

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Arianespace Snags OneWeb Contract for 21 Soyuz Launches

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EVRY, France (Arianespace PR) — OneWeb Ltd, the developer of a new global, high-speed, low latency satellite-based network designed to address the most demanding global connectivity challenges worldwide has signed a contract with Arianespace for twenty-one (21) Soyuz launches, plus options for five (5) additional Soyuz launches and three (3) Ariane 6 launches. These launches will ensure the timely deployment of the full constellation.

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One Web Announces $500 Million Funding Round, Launch Contracts for Soyuz, LauncherOne

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OneWeb constellation. (Credit: Airbus Defence & Space)

OneWeb constellation. (Credit: Airbus Defence & Space)

Highlights

  • OneWeb announces $500 million funding round for 900 satellite constellation
  • Backers include Airbus Group, Coca-Cola, Intelsat, Qualcomm, Hughes Network Systems and Virgin Galactic
  • Largest commercial rocket order ever includes 21 Soyuz launchers and 39 launches of Virgin Galactic’s LauncherOne

LONDON (OneWeb PR) — OneWeb, which is building a new global communications system to create affordable broadband services for all, today announces it has raised $500 million of funding from a group of leading international companies.

OneWeb has attracted investment from Airbus Group, Bharti Enterprises, Hughes Network Systems, (Hughes), a subsidiary of EchoStar Corp., Intelsat, Qualcomm Incorporated, The Coca-Cola Company, the Virgin Group, and Totalplay, a Grupo Salinas Company, owned by Ricardo B. Salinas.

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Sarah Brightman Replaced By Kazaknaut

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Dragon CRS-5 spacecraft berthed at International Space Station. (Credit: NASA)

Dragon CRS-5 spacecraft berthed at International Space Station. (Credit: NASA)

This is a bit of a letdown, going from international recording star Sarah Brightman singing on orbit to Kazakhstan’s third ever space traveler:

Kazakhstan’s third ever cosmonaut is set to replace would-be space tourist Sarah Brightman, a British singer who recently backed out of a $52 million seat aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft blasting off in September.

Russian federal space agency Roscosmos confirmed on its official Twitter account Monday that Kazakh cosmonaut candidate Aidyn Aimbetov would be the third man on the short 10-day flight to the International Space Station….

Aimbetov’s journey to space began in 2003, when the Kazakh government began grooming him and another homegrown hopeful for a mission to the ISS. In 2007, the two were sent to Russia for training under Roscosmos’ tutelage, but funding cuts at Kazcosmos grounded them in 2009.

Roscosmos Reaches Milestone in Soyuz Launch Complex Construction

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Soyuz launch complex at Vostochny. (Credit: Roscosmos)

Soyuz launch complex at Vostochny. (Credit: Roscosmos)

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — The experts of Roscosmos’s contractor organizations have finished the assembly of Soyuz-2 carrier rocket launch system at Vostochny cosmodrome one month ahead of the schedule and performed the first commissioning.

In particular, they have checked the operability of the electrohydraulic equipment and metal constructions, the sensors and the terminal switches have been set up. The supporting service towers of the top chord, holding the carrier rocket before the launch, have been brought together and folded back for the first time.

The object’s commissioning was performed by the launch system developer, FSUE TsENKI division NIISK, electric equipment developer FSUE TsENKI division TsENKI North-West, hydraulic equipment developer Sigal research institute (Kovrov city), TsENKI-North, representatives of the Tyazhmash launch system manufacturer, ST-1 assembly organization, and FSUE TsENKI division NIISK operation department. The tests were carried out successfully and without irregularities.

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NASA TV to Broadcast ISS Crew Departure

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NASA astronaut Terry Virts (left) Commander of Expedition 43 on the International Space Station along with crewmates Russian cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov (center) and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti on May 6, 2015 perform a checkout of their Russian Soyuz spacesuits in preparation for the journey back to Earth. (Credit: NASA)

NASA astronaut Terry Virts (left) Commander of Expedition 43 on the International Space Station along with crewmates Russian cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov (center) and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti on May 6, 2015 perform a checkout of their Russian Soyuz spacesuits in preparation for the journey back to Earth. (Credit: NASA)

WASHINGTON, DC (NASA PR) — After more than six months of performing scientific research and technology demonstrations in space, three International Space Station crew members are scheduled to depart the orbiting laboratory Thursday, June 11. NASA Television will provide coverage of their station departure and return to Earth.

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Russia Identifies “Design Peculiarity” as Cause of Progress Launch Failure

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Progress_vehicle_freeflight
Roscosmos says it has identified the cause of the launch failure involving a Progress resupply ship last month:

The loss of a Russian Progress spacecraft that started spinning out of control shortly after its April 28 launch is being blamed on an unexpected interaction between the spacecraft and the upper stage of its Soyuz rocket, the Russian space agency Roscosmos said June 1.

In a statement, Rocosmos said a “design peculiarity” between the Progress M-27M spacecraft and the upper stage of its Soyuz-2.1a rocket led to the accident. The statement did not discuss in detail how that design issue caused the accident other than citing the “frequency-dynamic characteristics of the linkage” between the spacecraft and upper stage.

The launch of the Progress started off normally, with the spacecraft appearing to separate into its planned orbit and on a trajectory to dock with the International Space Station six hours later. However, shortly after reaching orbit, the spacecraft went into a slow roll. Roscosmos deferred the docking to April 30, then canceled it entirely.

Years of Failures Haunt Russian Space Program

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Holy shi'ski! The rocket...it go KABOOMSKI! (Credit: Tsenki TV)

Proton rocket falls to Earth at Baikonur in July 2013. (Credit: Tsenki TV)

Sixteen botched launches in six years.

That’s the Russian space program’s sad record since May 2009. The failure of a Proton rocket earlier today with the loss of a Mexican communications satellite was yet another sign of the prolonged crisis affecting Russia’s once powerful space program.

The crash came less than three weeks after a botched launch left a Progress supply freighter spinning end over end like an extra point before it burned up in Earth atmosphere. There was also news today that another Progress cargo ship attached to the International Space Station failed to fire its engine as planned to boost the station’s orbit.

The list of Russian launch accidents over the last six years includes:

  • 13 complete failures resulting in the loss of all payloads;
  • 3 partial failures that left spacecraft in the wrong orbits;
  • complete loss of 20 spacecraft;
  • 6 Russian GLONASS navigation satellites destroyed; and,
  • an ambitious Mars mission left stranded in Earth orbit.

The table below shows the full extent of the damage.

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America’s Impenetrable Congress Does It Again

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2001_monolith_astros_moon
There’s a great scene in “2010: The Year We Make Contact,” in which Dmitri Moiseyevich (Dana Elcar) asks Heywood Floyd (Roy Scheider) what scientists had learned about the monolith brought back from the moon.

“Nothing,” Floyd replies. “It’s impenetrable. We’ve tried lasers, nuclear detonators. Nothing worked.”

I reached that same conclusion about Congress this week. The institution seems impermeable to facts, reasoned arguments, and even potential threats to the lives of America’s brave astronauts.

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Sarah Brightman Drops Out of Space Tourism Flight to ISS

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Satoshi_Takamatsu and Sarah Brightman (far right) meet the media. (Credit: Roscosmos)

Satoshi_Takamatsu and Sarah Brightman (far right) meet the media. (Credit: Roscosmos)

British soprano Sarah Brightman has dropped out of a planned trip this fall to the International Space Station citing ” for personal family reasons.” A post on the singer’s website did not elaborate on those reasons.

The announcement comes only weeks after press reports said Brightman would be replaced by her backup, Japanese businessman Satoshi Takamatsu, because she would not be ready in time for the flight. Those reports were denied at the time.

Brightman’s announcement describes the decision as a postponement, indicating that she could fly at a future time aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft. Because the Soyuz is the only transport system serving the six-person station, there will probably not be another opportunity until 2017 or 2018 when U.S. commercial providers Boeing and SpaceX begin transporting astronauts to ISS.

A Soyuz seat is open this year because a U.S. astronaut and Russian cosmonaut are spending almost one year aboard the station instead of returning to Earth after five to six months. Each three-seat Soyuz spacecraft must be rotated off the ISS every six months.