The Second Life of the Gagarin Start Launch Complex

Gagarin Start launch complex at Baikonur Cosmodrome. (Credit: Roscosmos)

Translated from Russian by Google Translate

BAIKONUR COSMODROME, Kazakhstan (Roscosmos PR) — The place where modern cosmonautics was born is known for sure: it is the legendary “Gagarin Launch”, site No. 1 of the Baikonur cosmodrome. It was here that the launch of the first satellite opened the Space Age of mankind. It was from here that Yuri Gagarin ascended into orbit on April 12, 1961.

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NASA’s 2021 Achievements Included Mars Landing, First Flight, Artemis, More

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — In 2021, NASA completed its busiest year of development yet in low-Earth orbit, made history on Mars, continued to make progress on its Artemis plans for the Moon, tested new technologies for a supersonic aircraft, finalized launch preparations for the next-generation space telescope, and much more – all while safely operating during a pandemic and welcoming new leadership under the Biden-Harris Administration.

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Roscosmos Looks Back at Successful Launch Year

Soyuz rocket launches 36 OneWeb satellites from Baikonur Cosmodrome on Dec. 27, 2021. (Credit: Arianespace)

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — For the third year in a row, Roscosmos ensured trouble-free launches of spacecraft from the Baikonur, Plesetsk and Vostochny cosmodromes. Russia has achieved the best indicators of accident-free launches in 5 years (about 97 percent) among the leading space powers (Russia, USA, China).

As of the end of 2021, 25 launches of space rockets were carried out, including 14 launches from the Baikonur cosmodrome, 5 launches from Vostochny, 5 from Plesetsk and 1 from the Guiana Space Center.

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Flight ST37, the 15th Operated by Arianespace in 2021, Successfully Placed 36 More OneWeb Satellites into Orbit

Soyuz rocket launches 36 OneWeb satellites from Baikonur Cosmodrome on Dec. 27, 2021. (Credit: Arianespace)
  • Thanks to ST37, 60% of OneWeb’s constellation is now in orbit, bringing the constellation to 394 satellites launched.
  • Thanks to ST37, Arianespace have conducted 15 launches in 2021, including eight missions for the benefit of OneWeb and a total of nine Soyuz flights, from three different spaceports.
  • This launch also marks a new milestone in Arianespace history: since its creation in 1980, the company has officially deployed 1,101 satellites.

BAIKONUR COSMODROME, Kazakhstan, December 27, 2021 (Arianespace PR) — On Monday, December 27, at precisely 06:10 p.m. local time at Russia’s Baikonur Cosmodrome (01:10 p.m. UTC), Soyuz flight ST37 lifted-off with 36 OneWeb satellites bringing, after this successful deployment, the size of the fleet in orbit to 394. Flight ST37 was the 63rd Soyuz mission carried out by Arianespace, the 37th with its Starsem affiliate, and the 12th mission for OneWeb.

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Two New Satellites Mark Further Enlargement of Galileo

Soyuz rocket lifts off with the Galileo 27 and 28 satellites. (Credit: Arianespace webcast)

KOUROU, French Guiana (ESA PR) — Europe’s largest satellite constellation has grown even bigger, following the launch of two more Galileo navigation satellites by Soyuz launcher from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana on 5 December. Galileo satellites 27-28 add to an existing 26-satellite constellation in orbit, providing the world’s most precise satnav positioning to more than 2.3 billion users around the globe.

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Arianespace Postpones Launch of Two Galileo Navigation Satellites Due to Weather

Launch of VS01, first Soyuz ST-B flight from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana, on 21 October 2011, carrying the first two satellites of Europe’s Galileo navigation system. (Credit: ESA/CNES/Arianespace)

KOUROU, French Guiana (Arianespace PR) — Due to adverse weather conditions (lightning), launch operations have been interrupted at H-10 minutes.

The Soyuz launch vehicle and Spacecraft are in stable and safe conditions.

The new earliest targeted launch date is December 4, 2021 at exactly:

> 07:19 p.m. Washington, D.C. time,
> 09:19 p.m. Kourou time,
> 00:19 a.m. Universal time (UTC), on December 5,
> 01:19 a.m. Paris time, on December 5,
> 03:10 a.m. Moscow time, on December 5.

Watch Ariane 5 Launch Galileo Satellites on Night of 3-4 December

A Soyuz-2 launches the CSO-2 defense satellite on Dec. 29, 2020. (Credit: Arianespace)

KOUROU, French Guiana (ESA PR) — Europe’s latest Galileo satellites will be launched on the night of 3-4 December. Arianespace has taken the decision to begin fuelling their three-stage Soyuz launcher.

Galileo satellites 27 – 28 are now scheduled to be launched by Soyuz launcher VS26 from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana on 4 December at 01:23 CET (3 December at 21:23 local Kourou time). Follow the launch live on ESA Web TV Two from 01:00 CET.

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Russia Threatens to Destroy U.S. GPS Satellite Constellation

Global Positioning System (Credit: DOT&E)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Well, this was a rather frightening thing to wake up to this morning. GPS World reports:

The Kremlin warned it could blow up 32 GPS satellites with its new anti-satellite technology, ASAT, which it tested Nov. 15 on a retired Soviet Tselina-D satellite, according to numerous news reports.

On the state-run Channel One, host Dmitry Kiselyov warned that Russia’s anti-satellite missiles would leave the United States and NATO blind if the multi-national defense alliance “crosses our red line.”

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Arianespace Postpones Launch of 2 Galileo Navigation Satellites

Launch of VS01, first Soyuz ST-B flight from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana, on 21 October 2011, carrying the first two satellites of Europe’s Galileo navigation system. (Credit: ESA/CNES/Arianespace)

KOUROU, French Guiana (Arianespace PR) — Due to adverse weather conditions at the Guiana Space Center (CSG), the flight VS26 –initially scheduled for December 1– is being postponed.

The Soyuz launch vehicle and spacecraft are in stable and safe conditions.

The new earliest targeted launch date is December 2, 2021 at exactly:

> 07:27 p.m. Washington, D.C. time,
> 09:27 p.m. Kourou time,
> 00:27 a.m. Universal time (UTC), on December 3,
> 01:27 a.m. Paris time, on December 3,
> 03:27 a.m. Moscow time, on December 3.

NASA Postpones Today’s Spacewalk Due to Debris Warning

Spacewalkers Victor Glover and Kate Rubins are pictured at the mast canister, installing bracket support struts to the base of the solar array on Feb, 28th 2021. (Credit: NASA)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — The evening of Monday, Nov. 29, NASA received a debris notification for the International Space Station. Due to the lack of opportunity to properly assess the risk it could pose to the astronauts, teams have decided to delay the spacewalk planned for Tuesday, Nov. 30 until more information is available. The space station schedule and operations are able to easily accommodate the delay of the spacewalk. The latest information and future spacewalk dates will be shared on  https://blogs.nasa.gov/spacestation.


Learn more about station activities by following the space station blog@space_station  and  @ISS_Research on Twitter, as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

Get weekly video highlights at: http://jscfeatures.jsc.nasa.gov/videoupdate/

Editor’s Note: Although the NASA announcement doesn’t say so specifically, the debris is likely from a recent Russian anti-satellite test that destroyed a derelict Soviet military satellite. The resulting debris forced the seven occupants of the station to take shelter in their Soyuz and Crew Dragon return vehicles.

Upcoming Launches Include Space Tourism Flight

Spaceflight participant Yozo Hiro, Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin and spaceflight participant Yusaku Maezawa. (Credit: Roscosmos)

Dates and times subject to change without notice. And remember: no wagering.

December 1

Launch Vehicle: Falcon 9
Payloads: 53 Starlink broadband satellites
Location: Cape Canaveral Space Force Station
Time: 6:20 p.m. EST (2320 GMT)
Webcast: www.spacex.com

December 1/2

Launch Vehicle: Soyuz ST-B/Fregat-MT
Payloads: Galileo 27 & 28 navigation satellites
Location: Guiana Space Center
Time: 7:31 p.m. EST (0031 GMT on Dec. 2)
Webcast: https://www.youtube.com/c/arianespace

December 5

Launch Vehicle: Atlas V
Payloads: U.S. Space Force LDPE-1 space tug; STPSat-6 technology demonstrator with NASA Laser Communications Relay Demonstration payload
Location: Cape Canaveral Space Force Station
Time: 4:04-6:04 a.m. EST (0904-1104 GMT)
Webcast: http://www.ulalaunch.com

December 8

Launch Vehicle: Soyuz-2.1a
Payload: Soyuz MS-20 crewed vehicle
Location: Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazahkstan
Time: 2:38 a.m. EST (07:38 GMT)
Webcast: www.roscosmos.ru

Cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin and space tourists Yusaku Maezawa and Yozo Hirano will lift off on a 12-day mission to the International Space Station.

December 9

Launch Vehicle: Falcon 9
Payload: Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer
Location: Kennedy Space Center
Time: 1:00-2:30 a.m. EST (0600-0730 GMT)
Webcast: www.spacex.com

Galileo Navigation Satellites in Place for Dec. 2 Launch From French Guiana

Galileo satellites 27 – 28 being lowered onto their Fregat upper stage ahead of their launch on 2 December 2021. (Credit: ESA-CNES-Arianespace Optique Video du CSG – P Baudon)

KOUROU, French Guiana (ESA PR) — Europe’s next two Galileo satellites have been attached to the dispenser on which they will ride to orbit, and the launcher fairing that will protect them during the first part of the ascent to orbit has been closed around the pair.

Galileo satellites 27 – 28 are scheduled to be launched by Soyuz launcher from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana on 2 December at 01:31 CET (1 December at 21:31:27 local Kourou time).

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Prichal Node Module Launched to International Space Station

BAIKONUR COSMODROME, Kazakhstan (Roscosmos PR) — On Wednesday, November 24, 2021, at 13:06:35 UTC, the Soyuz-2.1b launch vehicle with the Prichal Node Module within the Progress M-UM cargo spacecraft-module was successfully launched from Site 31 of the Baikonur Cosmodrome. 563 seconds into the flight, it separated from the third stage of the carrier and deployed its solar panels and antennas.

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Crew Operations Aboard Space Station Return to Normal

This image shows the planned configuration of six iROSA solar arrays intended to augment power on the International Space Station. The roll-up arrays arrive on the SpaceX-22 resupply mission. (Credits: NASA/Johnson Space Center/Boeing)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — NASA and U.S. Space Command continue to monitor the debris cloud created by a recent Russian anti-satellite test. The International Space Station and crew members are safe and have resumed normal operations. The largest risk from the debris was in the first 24 hours and telemetry from the space station indicates no issues during that time. About 1:20 a.m. EST today, radial hatches extending from the space station’s center, including Kibo, Columbus, the Permanent Multipurpose Module, Bigelow Expandable Activity Module, and Quest Joint Airlock, were reopened.

Following the incident, crew members were awoken, notified of the debris and asked to close specific hatches based on the space station’s safe haven procedures. Hatches between the U.S. and Russian segments also were closed initially, but were later opened when the higher risk period passed. Crew members’ daily tasks were adjusted during this time to accommodate the hatch closure. After closing the hatches, the crew then entered their Soyuz and Crew Dragon spacecraft for approximately two hours, from 2 a.m. – 4 a.m. EST. No debris avoidance maneuver was performed.

Space debris is tracked by Space Command and conjunction analysis is performed by NASA, with mitigations available for debris clouds and individual conjunction threats (such as debris avoidance maneuvers). If orbital debris were to strike the station and cause an air leak, the crew would close hatches to the affected module. If crew members do not have time to close the affected module, they would enter their respective spacecraft and, if necessary, undock from the space station to return to Earth.

This debris cloud that was just created has increased the risk to the station. The cataloging of the total number of identifiable pieces of debris is ongoing. Once the debris cloud is dispersed and items are tracked and catalogued, NASA will receive notifications of potential conjunction threats to the station and perform maneuvers as necessary. In addition, NASA will continue to perform visual inspections and review telemetry data to ensure vehicle health.

Teams are assessing the risk levels to conduct various mission activities. Any changes to launches, spacewalks, and other events will be updated as needed.

Letter of Intent to Modernize Gagarin Launch Complex Signed in Dubai

DUBAI, UAE (Roscosmos PR) — On the second day of the Dubai Airshow 2021 Roscosmos, the UAE Space Agency and the Ministry of Digital Development, Innovation and Aerospace Industry of the Republic of Kazakhstan signed a joint Letter of Intent confirming the interest of the parties to implement space projects in trilateral format.

In particular, the document states the mutual intention to shortly start a detailed analysis of the tripartite project to modernize the historical Site 1 of the Baikonur Cosmodrome, from which the first human spaceflight took place.

Currently, this launch complex is not used due to the decommissioning of the Soyuz-FG carrier rocket in 2019, with the last rocket of the type launched in late September 2019.

If successfully implemented, the Gagarin’s Start project will revive the complex, allowing it to accept modern modifications of the Soyuz-2 launch vehicles. The parties plan to involve private investors into the project and to continue further joint commercial operation of the complex. According to experts, the project will enable the parties to present competitive offers on the international space launches market.