GK Launch Services, ISL Team Up for Commercial SSO CubeSat Launch

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — GK Launch Services (“GK”) and Innovative Space Logistics (“ISL”) have teamed up for launching CubeSats on GK’s first commercial SSO mission from Q2 2020 that will fly from Baikonur Cosmodrome. 

The objective of this joint service is to address the need of the current CubeSat market for reliable launch solutions at a highly cost-effective pricepoint, supported by a team with unique experience.

(more…)

Launch of Japanese Cargo Ship Rescheduled for Wednesday

Canadarm2, the ISS’s robotic arm, grapples and berths unpiloted resupply ships, a manoeuvre known as a “cosmic catch.” (Credit: NASA)

TOKYO (MHI PR) — Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (MHI) has revised the launch schedule of the H-IIB Launch Vehicle No. 8 (H-IIB F8) which carries aboard the H-II Transfer Vehicle “KOUNOTORI8” (HTV8), the cargo transporter to the International Space Station (ISS) from the JAXA Tanegashima Space Center.

Launch Date: Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2019 at 1:05 am JST (Tuesday, Sept. 24 at 1605 UTC/12:05 pm EDT)*1
Launch Window: Sept. 26 through Oct. 31, 2019

The changes will be made based on the results of the latest orbit based analysis (※ 1) of the International Space Station and Soyuz spacecraft. It was revealed there’s a possibility that the 2nd stage of H-IIB rocket after separation from “KOUNOTORI8” may approach the Soyuz spacecraft.

MHI canceled the launch of the H-IIB F8 on September 11 due to a fire at the movable launch pad exit hole during the countdown operation.

As a result of the investigation, it was confirmed that there was a high possibility that the fire spread due to the static electricity generated by the oxygen dripping from the engine exhaust port during the propellant filling operation, which continued to blow on the heat-resistant material in the exit hole at the movable launch pad.

We have taken corrective measures and have confirmed normal functioning of the rocket and facility.

*1: Collision Avoidance Analysis to prevent collision between the rocket and debris from the rocket and manned space systems (Space Station, etc.) in orbit after launching the rocket. The launch was previously rescheduled for September 24, 2019.

The launch time is subject to change as the ISS orbit is updated.

Launch time and date during this period are pending, determined by the ISS operations and other status.

Soyuz Spacecraft with Skybot F-850 Robot Launched to ISS

Soyuz MS-14 spacecraft launched to the International Space Station. (Credit: Roscosmos)

BAIKONUR, Kazakhstan (Roscosmos PR) — On August 22, 2019 at 03:38:32 UTC, the Soyuz-2.1a carrier rocket with the Soyuz MS-14 spacecraft successfully lifted off from the launch pad No. 31 at the Baikonur Cosmodrome.

The spacecraft will deliver scientific equipment for the experiments, medication, containers with food supplies, packages for the crew, as well as the Skybot F-850 humanoid robot. The Russian cosmonauts will test the robot systems under the spaceflight conditions. The main purpose of the robot is to use it during the hazardous tasks onboard the spacecraft including spacewalks.

After the ship’s separation from the third stage of the carrier rocket the Chief Operating Control Group of the Russian segment of the ISS took over the flight control.

The Soyuz-2.1a carrier rocket inserted the spacecraft into the orbit with the following parameters:

  • the minimum height above the Earth surface — 200 km;
  • the maximum height above the Earth surface — 243 km;
  • the orbit period — 88.64 min;
  • the orbit inclination — 51.67 deg.

The Soyuz MS-14 spacecraft approach to the station and its berthing to the Poisk research module is planned to be performed automatically under control of the Chief Operating Control Group of the Russian segment of the ISS at the Mission Control Center and Roscosmos cosmonauts Alexey Ovchinin and Alexander Skvortsov. The docking is scheduled at 05:30 UTC on August 24, 2019.

NASA Television Coverage Set for Uncrewed Soyuz Mission to Space Station

Soyuz MS-11 spacecraft docking at the International Space Station. (Credit: NASA)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — An uncrewed Russian Soyuz spacecraft is set to launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Wednesday, Aug. 21, at 11:38 p.m. EDT (8:38 a.m. Aug. 22 Baikonur time) on a test flight to validate the spacecraft’s compatibility with a revamped Soyuz booster rocket. The booster will be used to transport crews to the International Space Station beginning in spring 2020.

(more…)

Satellite Software Contest on Space Station as Crew Tests Organ Printing

The International Space Station as it appears in 2018. Zarya is visible at the center of the complex, identifiable by its partially retracted solar arrays. (Credit: NASA)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — The International Space Station is the setting today for a student competition to control tiny, free-floating satellites aboard the orbiting lab. Meanwhile, the Expedition 60 crewmembers conducted a variety of research operations and continued configuring a pair of spacesuits.

(more…)

Two Weeks of Science and Beyond

ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano performs a European experiment called GRIP that studies astronauts’ perception of of mass and movement and how they interface with the human body and change in microgravity. (Credit: ESA/NASA)

PARIS (ESA PR) — Over two weeks have flown by since ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano was launched to the International Space Station for his second six-month stay in orbit. His arrival, alongside NASA astronaut Andrew Morgan and Roscosmos Soyuz commander Alexander Skvortsov, boosted the Station’s population to six and the crew has been busy ever since – performing a wide range of science in space.

(more…)

Russia Launches Communications Satellite From Plesetsk

Soyuz booster at Plesetsk. (Credit: Roscosmos)

PLESETSK, Russia (Roscosmos PR) — Today, on July 30, 2019, at 05:56 UTC the Russian Aerospace Forces crew successfully launched the Soyuz-2.1a carrier rocket with the Russian communications satellite Meridian onboard.

The launch and injection into orbit went as planned. In three minutes after the launch the Titov Main Test and Space Systems Control Centre automated complex acquired the Soyuz 2.1a rocket track.

At the designated time, the Meridian spacecraft was injected into the final orbit and acquired by the ground control means of the Russian Aerospace Forces. The satellite maintains stable telemetry connection, all the onboard systems function as planned.

The Meridian satellite is meant to provide communication between the sea vessels, ice patrol aircraft in the Northern Sea Route district with the coastal and ground stations, as well as to develop the satellite communication station network in the Northern Siberia and the Far East in order to support Russia’s economic development.

Three Expedition 60 Crew Members Heading to Station on Apollo 50th

At the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, Expedition 60 crew members Drew Morgan of NASA, Alexander Skvortsov of the Russian space agency Roscosmos and Luca Parmitano of ESA (European Space Agency) pose for pictures July 5, 2019, in front of their Soyuz MS-13 spacecraft during prelaunch preparations. (Credits: Roscosmos/Andrey Shelepin)

Update: The crew arrived safely at the space station six hours after launch.

BAIKONUR, Kazakhstan (NASA PR) — Fifty years to the day that astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin stepped on the Moon in a giant leap for humanity, NASA astronaut Andrew Morgan and two fellow crew members arrived Saturday for their mission aboard the International Space Station, where humans have lived and worked continuously for more than 18 years.

The Soyuz MS-13 spacecraft carrying Morgan, Luca Parmitano of ESA (European Space Agency) and Alexander Skvortsov of the Russian space agency Roscosmos launched at 12:28 p.m. EDT July 20 (9:28 p.m. Kazakhstan time) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan and has safely reached orbit.  At the time of launch, the station was flying about 254 miles over southern Russia between Kazakhstan and Mongolia, 646 miles ahead of the Soyuz as it left the launch pad.

The crew has begun their six-hour trip to the orbital laboratory where they will live and work for their mission. Coverage of the Soyuz docking to the International Space Station will begin on NASA TV and the agency’s website at 6 p.m., with the spacecraft docking expected at 6:50 p.m.

Coverage of the hatch opening between the Soyuz and the space station will begin at 8 p.m.

For continued coverage and more information about the mission, visit: https://blogs.nasa.gov/spacestation/. Get space station news, images and features via social media on Instagram at: @iss, ISS on Facebook, and on Twitter @Space_Station and @ISS_Research.

NASA to Broadcast Launch, Arrival of Astronaut Andrew Morgan at Space Station

At the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, Expedition 60 crew members Drew Morgan of NASA, Alexander Skvortsov of the Russian space agency Roscosmos and Luca Parmitano of ESA (European Space Agency) pose for pictures July 5, 2019, in front of their Soyuz MS-13 spacecraft during prelaunch preparations. They will launch July 20, 2019 from Baikonur for their mission on the International Space Station. (Credits: Roscosmos/Andrey Shelepin)

BAIKONUR, Kazakhstan (NASA PR) — A multinational crew of space travelers, including NASA astronaut Andrew Morgan, is scheduled to arrive at the International Space Station on Saturday, July 20 – the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11’s historic landing on the Moon. NASA Television and the agency’s website will provide live coverage of the crew’s launch and arrival.

(more…)

Scottish Supercomputer Satellites Launched into Orbit

Pioneer satellites launch on board Soyuz. (Credit: Roscomos)

A pair of Glasgow-built satellites which could revolutionise how data is downloaded from space were successfully launched on July 5

SWINDON, UK (UKSA PR) — Satellites are essential to modern life due to their application in navigation, finance, telecoms and in monitoring weather, climate change and air pollution. However, the data they collect can be slow to download due to the volume of traffic, with users often having to download very large files they don’t need just to obtain specific elements.

Spire Global operates a network of small satellites, known as nanosatellites, which collect and transmit a range of valuable data. The two new additions, supported by the UK Space Agency, will be able to process and cherry-pick data from other satellites in orbit before transmitting it to Earth, optimising and freeing up bandwidth for other tasks and users.

(more…)

New ISS Crew Prepares to Launch on 50th Anniversary of Apollo 11 Moon Landing

Expedition 60 crewmembers NASA’s Andrew Morgan of NASA, Roscosmos’Alexander Skvortsov and ESA’s Luca Parmitano of the European Space Agency pose on 5 July in front of a mural bearing the insignia of the 1975 Apollo-Soyuz mission. (Credit: GCTC–Andrey Shelepin)

BAIKONUR, Kazakhstan (ESA PR) — The next astronauts to join the International Space Station are on their marks for their launch to Earth’s orbit on 20 July, a date that also commemorates the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing.

ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano, Roscomos’ Alexander Skvortsov and NASA’s Andrew Morgan arrived last week at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan for an intense schedule of pre-launch activities.

(more…)











ESA Pioneer Satellites Launched

Pioneer satellites launch on board Soyuz. (Credit: Roscomos)

VOSTOCHNY COSMODROME, Russia (ESA PR) — The latest ESA Partnership Projects mission has launched two tiny supercomputing nanosatellites aboard a Soyuz rocket from Vostochny in Russia.

The parallel supercomputing scalable devices, aboard the lightweight, shoebox-sized nanosatellites, can be programmed to both receive and process data while in orbit. This enables them to select high-quality data and immediately transfer it to Earth.

(more…)











Roscosmos Moves Toward Reusable Boosters, Aims for the Moon

Roscosmos boss Dmitry Rogozin meets with Russia’s boss of bosses, President Vladimir Putin. (Credit: Russian President’s Office)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

It’s been a while since we’ve checked in with Dmitry Rogozin and his team over at Roscosmos. This has been partly due to all the awesome things that are happening elsewhere that keep me busy. And partly due to the fact that Russia’s plans seem to be continuing evolving due to budget cuts to the point to where I’m never quite sure what exactly to take seriously.

The question usually is: yeah, that sounds great, but is there any money for this? I’m lacking in good sources there. And Russian media usually don’t provide enough insights into the program to allow for informed judgments.

With that caveat in mind. TASS has provided another one of its periodic bursts of updates about what Rogozin and company have been up to lately. They are making progress on reusable launch vehicles, a super-heavy booster, a spacecraft that will replace Soyuz, and plans sending cosmonauts and robots to the moon.

(more…)











Soyuz Launches New Weather Satellite, 32 Secondary Payloads

VOSTOCHNY COSMODROME, Russia (Roscosmos PR) — Today, on July, 5 2019 at 08:41:46 Moscow time Soyuz 2.1b carrier rocket with Fregat booster was successfully launched from Vostochny Cosmodrome. The rocket carried Meteor-M Russian meteorological spacecraft No. 2-2 as well as 32 spacecraft as secondary payload. The injection into orbit took place during 4.5 hours after the launch.

The launch vehicle including Soyuz 2.1 (built by Progress Russian Space Center), Fregat booster (built by NPO Lavochkin) operated as expected. According to the flight program the booster put the main and secondary spacecraft into three different orbits. After the completion of the program the booster will be sunk in a non-navigable district of the Pacific ocean.

Meteor-M spacecraft No. 2-2 was built by VNIIEM Corporation and falls into the category of Earth remote sensing satellites. The spacecraft is capable of providing images of clouds, Earth surface, ice and snow cover in visible, infrared and microwave bands. It is also capable of receiving data about the sea surface temperature and ozone layer condition, as well as measuring humidity level. This data will help to improve weather forecast accuracy in Russia.

29 satellites were launched for Germany, France, USA, Israel, UK, Sweden, Finland, Thailand, Ecuador, Czech Republic and Estonia. Three Russian academic CubeSats were launched as well.











Exolaunch Integrates 28 Smallsats for July Soyuz Launch

Soyuz launch from Vostochny Cosmodrome on Dec. 27, 2018. (Credit: Roscosmos)

BERLIN, June 28th, 2019 (Exolaunch PR) — Exolaunch, Europe’s premium launch services and separation system provider for small satellites, today confirmed successful payload integration for an upcoming Soyuz launch from the Vostochny launch site. In total, Exolaunch has contracted and integrated for launch 28 commercial and educational satellites from Germany, France, the USA, Israel, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Finland, Thailand, Ecuador, the Czech Republic and Estonia. The complete list of smallsats follows.

(more…)