Tag: Soyuz

Roscosmos Not Keen on Space Adventures’ Moon Flight

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Space Adventures vehicle for circumlunar flights. (Credit: Space Adventures)

Space Adventures vehicle for circumlunar flights. (Credit: Space Adventures)

Roscosmos is not amused by a plan by RSC Energia and Space Adventures to spent two tourists on a trip around the moon in a modified Soyuz spacecraft:

Russia’s space agency, Roscosmos, will not be involved in a plan to send two space tourists on a flight around the Moon and was not consulted about the project, the federal space agency said.

The mission, hatched by U.S.-based space tourism firm Space Adventures and a major Russian spacecraft manufacturer, Energia Rocket and Space Corporation, would see two space tourists travel to the Moon aboard a modified Russian Soyuz spacecraft by 2017. However, Roscosmos was kept out of the loop on the plan.

The organizers “could have consulted with us before making such loud announcements,” said Denis Lyskov, Roscosmos’s deputy chief in charge of piloted flights, Izvestia reported Monday.

“We are not participating in the moon project, we are not planning to modernize the Soyuz,” Lyskov was quoted as saying.

Despite the government owning a 38-percent stake in Energia, the company has a history of asserting its independence from the space agency, which purchases its hardware from the company for use in the government’s space agenda.

The fate of the flight could hinge on how long Energia remains an independent company. Igor Komarov, who heads up the newly created United Rocket and Space Company (URSC), has said the government plans to obtain a 51 percent share in Energia. The state-owned USRC is consolidating much of the Russian space industry under its control.

It’s not clear when the Russian government will obtain a majority share of Energia. It’s also uncertain whether Energia would continue to honor any commitments it made to Space Adventures prior to such a move.

After Sarah Brightman, Will Sergey Brin Fly to the International Space Station?

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Sergey Brin

Sergey Brin

Google co-founder Sergey Brin could be the next space tourist to journey to the International Space Station.

Space Adventures President Tom Shelley told Reuters that Brin, whose net worth is $30.2 billion, has put down a deposit on a seat aboard a future Soyuz flight to the orbiting laboratory.

“He paid us a deposit and whenever we have a seat available, he has the right of first refusal,” Shelley said.

Shelley said the company could have an open seat in 2017.

Brin and co-founder Larry Page have a deep interest in space. Their company has sponsored the $30 million Google Lunar X Prize for the first private company to land a rover on the surface of the moon. This week, Google announced the purchase of Skybox Imaging, which provides images of the Earth from space. The company also is reportedly developing a satellite network to provide high-speed broadband services on a global basis.

Before Brin flies, British soprano Sarah Brightman, will pay $52 million for a 10-day trip to the space station in September 2015. She will be the ninth person to visit ISS as a tourist since Space Adventures sent Dennis Tito there in 2002.  Brightman plans to sing during her orbital trip.

Brightman is in a race with Lady Gaga to be the first professional singer to perform in space. For more on that story, click here.

 

Lady Gaga vs. Sarah Brightman: Who Will be First (Professional) Musician to Sing in Space?

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sarah_brightmanThe battle of singing space divas is on!

In this corner, British soprano Sarah Brightman, who is paying $52 million to fly to the International Space Station in September 2015.

And in the other corner, the always interesting and frequently controversial Lady Gaga, scheduled to blast into space aboard Richard Branson’s SpaceShipTwo as part of the Zero G Colony music festival in early 2015.

Wait? What? How could Brightman get there first if Gaga is flying earlier?

Good question.

Continue reading ‘Lady Gaga vs. Sarah Brightman: Who Will be First (Professional) Musician to Sing in Space?’

Video of Elon Musk’s Q&A at Dragon V2 Unveiling

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Video Caption: SpaceX CEO Elon Musk answers questions following the Dragon V2 spacecraft public reveal in Hawthorne California May 29th 2014.

Space Companies Update Plans for Doing Space Things

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Space Adventures vehicle for circumlunar flights. (Credit: Space Adventures)

Space Adventures vehicle for circumlunar flights. (Credit: Space Adventures)

Michael Belfiore has a piece in the MIT Technology Review about a May 1 event at the Explorers Club in New York where 13 commercial space companies showed off their plans. Several key players had updated schedules which anyone paying the slightest bit of attention will know to take with 1.7 metric tons of salt:

  • Virgin Galactic’s head of Astronaut Relations Lauren De Niro Pipher predicted that Richard Branson and his children would fly to space aboard SpaceShipTwo in November or December. Note, this was prior to the announcement of a change in the ship’s engine, which officials insist won’t have a major impact on the schedule.
  • XCOR hopes to fly the Lynx Mark I before the end of the year. The ship is now being assembled in Mojave, Calif.
  • Blue Origin said it would begin test flights of its first full-scale spacecraft within a year.
  • Space Adventures says it has signed up two unidentified customers willing to spend $150 million to fly a modified Soyuz spacecraft around the moon. The flight is set to launch in 2017 or 2018.
  • Penn State Lunar Lion plans to send a coffee-table sized spacecraft to land on the moon in an effort to win the Google Lunar X Prize.
  • Planetary Resources discussed plans to launch its first Arkyd spacecraft from the International Space Station by the end of this year.
  • World View Enterprises said the company would launch a small test vehicle of its high-altitude manned capsule in about a month, which would be right about now.

Dmitry Rogozin Tweets Photo of NASA Trampoline

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Russia’s lovable neo-Stalinist deputy prime minister has suggested that NASA use a trampoline to send astronauts to the International Space Station instead of riding on the Soyuz spacecraft.

Nine Launches Set for May

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Proton rocket

Proton rocket

Nine launches are scheduled worldwide for the month of May. The manifest includes three launches by American providers, three by Russia, one joint Russian-Ukrainian flight, and one launch each by Japan and Europe.

The U.S. launches include six Orbcomm OG2 communications satellites by SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket, and a pair of military satellites to be launched by ULA’s Atlas V and Delta V rockets.

The Russian launches include a new crew to the International Space Station, two communications satellites (1 with Ukraine), and a reconnaissance satellite. Arianespace will launch a pair of communications satellites with Ariane 5, while the Japanese H-2A will launch the ALOS 2 Earth observing spacecraft.

There have been 24 orbital launches through April, all successful. That number will rise to 33 if all scheduled launches are completed in May.

MAY 2014 — SCHEDULED LAUNCHES
Date Launch Vehicle Payload(s) Launch Site Nation
05/06/14 Soyuz Kobalt reconnaissance satellite Plesetsk Russia
05/10/14 Falcon 9 Orbcomm OG2 commsats (6) CCAFS USA
05/15/14 Proton Express AM4R commsat Baikonur Russia
05/15/14 Delta 4 GPS 2F-6 navigation satellite CCAFS USA
05/22/14 Atlas V NROL-33 reconnaissance satellite CCAFS USA
05/23/14 H-2A ALOS 2 Earth observing satellite Tanegashima Japan
05/26/14 Zenit 3SL Eutelsat 3B commsat Odyssey Platform,
Pacific Ocean
Russia/Ukraine
05/28/14 Soyuz ISS 39S crew Baikonur Russia
05/28/14 Ariane 5 Measat 3b & Optus 10 commsats Kourou Europe

Launch Provider Panel at Space Tech Expo

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Inaugural Vega flight. (Credits: ESA - S. Corvaja, 2012)

Inaugural Vega flight. (Credits: ESA – S. Corvaja, 2012)

At the Space Tech Expo last week in Long Beach, Calif., representatives from Arianespace, Orbital Sciences Corporation, SpaceX and United Launch Alliance (ULA) discussed the fierce competition in the industry and their plans for the future.

PANELISTS

Carissa Christensen
Managing Partner
The Tauri Group
(Moderator)

Gwynne Shotwell
President & Chief Operating Officer
SpaceX

Daniel J Collins
Chief Operating Officer
United Launch Alliance

Clay Mowry
President
Arianespace

Frank Culbertson
Executive Vice President
Orbital Sciences Corporation

Continue reading ‘Launch Provider Panel at Space Tech Expo’

Atlas V, Falcon 9 Launches Rescheduled

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The United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket with NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN (MAVEN) spacecraft launches from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Space Launch Complex 41, Monday, Nov. 18, 2013, Cape Canaveral, Florida. NASA’s Mars-bound spacecraft, the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN, or MAVEN, is the first spacecraft devoted to exploring and understanding the Martian upper atmosphere. (Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls)

The United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket with NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN (MAVEN) spacecraft launches from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Space Launch Complex 41, Monday, Nov. 18, 2013, Cape Canaveral, Florida. NASA’s Mars-bound spacecraft, the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN, or MAVEN, is the first spacecraft devoted to exploring and understanding the Martian upper atmosphere. (Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls)

The Atlas V and Falcon 9 launches delayed by a problem on the Eastern Range have been rescheduled for April 10 and 14, respectively.

ULA’s Atlas V will launch NROL-67 — a National Reconnaissance Office payload — from Cape Canaveral on Thursday at 1:45 p.m. EDT. The launch window extends to 2:26 p.m. EDT. The company usually streams launched at www.ulalaunch.com.

SpaceX’s Falcon 9 will launch a Dragon freighter to the International Space Station. Liftoff is scheduled for 4:58 p.m. EDT. The company typically streams its launches at www.spacex.com.

The launches were delayed because of a fire that knocked out a crucial radar unit the U.S. Air Force uses to track launches. Florida Today has a story about the problems on the Eastern Range, which include aging technology and budget cutbacks.

Below is a list of upcoming launches worldwide.

Date Launch Vehicle Payload(s) Launch Site Nation
04/09/14 Soyuz Progress 55P Baikonur Russia
04/10/14 Atlas V NROL-67 CCAFS USA
04/14/14 Falcon 9 CRS 3 CCAFS USA
04/16/14 Soyuz EgyptSat 2 Baikonur Russia
04/27/14 Proton Luch 5V & Kazsat 3 Baikonur Russia
04/28/14 Vega DZZ-HR Kourou Europe

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Busy Launch Week Features Two Missions to ISS

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NASA astronaut Steve Swanson (left) and Russian cosmonauts Alexander Skvortsov (center) and Oleg Artemyev of Expedition 39. (Credit:  NASA/Victor Zelentsov)

NASA astronaut Steve Swanson (left) and Russian cosmonauts Alexander Skvortsov (center) and Oleg Artemyev of Expedition 39. (Credit: NASA/Victor Zelentsov)

Russia will send a new new three-man crew to the International Space Station on Tuesday in one of five launches scheduled worldwide this week. SpaceX will follow up the crew launch on Sunday, March 30 by sending a Dragon freighter to the orbital outpost.

Continue reading ‘Busy Launch Week Features Two Missions to ISS’