Russia Designed New Space Station, Continued Development of Vostochny in 2021

Russian Orbital Space Station will follow the International Space Station. (Credit: Roscosmos)

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — In 2021, a decision was made to start the preliminary design of the Russian space station. The creation of a Russian space station will allow the Russian Federation to maintain its presence in low Earth orbit and ensure the fulfillment of a wide range of tasks. Based on the results of the preliminary design of the station, decisions on its appearance and orbit will be made. It is not excluded that foreign partners will be allowed to participate in the project of the new orbital station.

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Progress M-UM Instrument and Assembly Compartment Undocked from the ISS

Progress M-UM cargo module departs the International Space Station. (Credit: Anton Shkaplerov)

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — Today, December 23, 2021, at 02:03 Moscow time, the instrument-assembly compartment of the Progress M-UM cargo module undocked from the Prichal module of the International Space Station in the normal mode. Thus, he freed the airlock for subsequent docking of Russian manned and cargo ships.

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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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Russian Progress Resupply Ship Docks with International Space Station

Progress MS-18 fires thrusters as it approaches the International Space Station. (Credit: Pyotr Dubrov)

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — In accordance with the Russian flight program of the International Space Station, on October 30, 2021, at 04:31:19 Moscow time, the Progress MS-18 transport cargo vehicle was docked. The operations of docking and docking to the Zvezda service module were carried out automatically under the control of specialists from the Mission Control Center of TsNIIMash, the Main Operational Control Group of the Energia Rocket and Space Corporation named after S.P. Korolev (part of the Roscosmos State Corporation) and the Russian crew members of the ISS-66, Roscosmos cosmonauts Anton Shkaplerov and Pyotr Dubrov.

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RCC Progress Completed Tests of Soyuz-5 First Stage

Soyuz 5 launch vehicle

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — The Progress Rocket and Space Center (Samara, part of the Roscosmos State Corporation) has completed a series of static tests of the fuel tanks of the first stage of the promising Soyuz-5 launch vehicle. During the tests of prototypes of the oxidizer tank, the declared strength and rigidity of the structural elements were confirmed.

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Soyuz Crew Prepares to Return Home

ISS crew (Credit: Roscosmos)

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — In accordance with the Russian flight program of the International Space Station, on October 17, 2021, it is planned to return the crew of the Yu.A. Gagarin “(Soyuz MS-18). Roscosmos cosmonaut Oleg Novitsky and space flight participants – director Klim Shipenko and actress Yulia Peresild will return to Earth.

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Nauka Science Module Docks with International Space Station

Nauka module docked at the International Space Station. (Credit: Roscosmos)

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — In accordance with the International Space Station flight program, today, July 29, 2021, at 16:29:06 Moscow time, the Nauka multipurpose laboratory module docked with the nadir docking port of the Zvezda service module of the ISS Russian segment. According to telemetry data and reports from the ISS crew, the on-board systems of the station and the “Nauka” module are functioning normally.

The multipurpose module “Nauka” was successfully launched into low-earth orbit on July 21, 2021 using a heavy launch vehicle “Proton-M”. After separating from the third stage, he was accepted for escort by the ground services of the TsNIIMash Mission Control Center near Moscow (part of the Roscosmos State Corporation), completed the construction of the required orientation, deployed solar panels and radio antennas, and then began an eight-day rendezvous program with the station.

At the autonomous rendezvous section, specialists from the Main Operational Control Group (LOCT, RSC Energia named after SP Korolev, part of Roscosmos) performed several firing of the module’s engines to raise and correct the orbit, as well as to enter the meeting area with the ISS at estimated time. The operations of flying around the station, hovering, docking and docking with the Zvezda service module were carried out under the supervision of LOCT specialists and Russian crew members of the long-term expedition ISS-65, Roscosmos cosmonauts Oleg Novitsky and Peter Dubrov. This docking was the first since 2010, when the small research module No. 1 “Rassvet” was docked to the station.

Within 1.5 hours after the completion of the docking, the cosmonauts will check the tightness of the docking connections and technological communications. At 18:15 Moscow time, it is planned to open the hatch of the transition compartment of the Zvezda module and in a few minutes more – the hatch of the new Russian module, as well as the entry of the crew into the living area of ​​the instrument-sealed compartment. The program of today’s work is limited to the installation of instruments for the analysis and purification of the atmosphere on board the arrived “Science”.

Final Nauka Module Orbit Correction Conducted Before Docking with ISS

The Nauka Multipurpose Laboratory Module undergoes final processing at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan in preparation for its launch to the International Space Station on a Proton rocket. (Credits: Roscosmos)

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — On Wednesday, July 28, 2021, specialists of the Nauka Multipurpose Laboratory Module flight control group at the TsNIIMash Mission Control Center (part of Roscosmos) performed the final corrective maneuver of the module which had launched nominally from the Baikonur Cosmodrome a week ago.

The engines were fired at 13:43:07 UTC. According to telemetry information, the propulsion system of the module worked normally. No new orbit corrections are planned before the Nauka module docking with the Russian segment of the International Space Station, which is scheduled at 13:26 UTC on July 29, 2021. The live broadcast of the berthing and docking will begin on Roscosmos website and social media at 12:40 UTC.

Nauka is a multipurpose laboratory module for the Russian segment of the International Space Station. It was created by the cooperation of enterprises in order to implement the program of scientific experiments and expand the functionality of the Russian segment of the ISS. After its commissioning, the Russian segment will receive additional room for arranging workplaces and storing cargo, placing the water and oxygen regeneration equipment.

Controllers Make Another Orbital Correction for Nauka Module

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — On Tuesday, July 27, 2021, specialists of the flight control group of the multipurpose module “Nauka” at the Mission Control Center of TsNIIMash (part of the State Corporation “Roscosmos”) routinely carried out a corrective maneuver of the module launched last Wednesday to the International Space Station.

The next firing for further orbit alignment is scheduled for July 28th.

The day before, the Progress MS-16 cargo vehicle with the Pirs module of the ISS Russian segment undocked from the Zvezda module of the International Space Station. Last night, Flight Control Center specialists examined the docking station of the nadir port of the service module, where it is planned to dock the multipurpose laboratory module. As a result of the analysis, the absence of mechanical interference for the docking was stated. Thus, the readiness of the docking assemblies for the planned docking of Nauka has been confirmed, and an unscheduled spacewalk is not required.

Thanks to the cosmonauts of Roskosmos Oleg Novitsky and Peter Dubrov, we can see the undocking of the Pirs module from the International Space Station in 4K quality.

Roscosmos Pushes Back Pirs Module Undocking to Monday

The Nauka Multipurpose Laboratory Module undergoes final processing at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan in preparation for its launch to the International Space Station on a Proton rocket. (Credits: Roscosmos)

Editor’s Note: The undocking of the Pirs module from the International Space Station had been scheduled for Friday to make way for the new Nauka science module. The delaty is due to problems with Nauka’s engines and docking system after launch from Baikonur Cosmodrome last week. Those issues have apparently been resolved.

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — Based on the results of an operational meeting of the control group at the Flight Control Center of TsNIIMash (part of the Roscosmos State Corporation), specialists, based on the data obtained from telemetry and based on the need to build optimal orbit conditions, decided to adjust the plans for undocking the Pirs module. These operations are currently scheduled for Monday 26 July 2021.

On Saturday, Roscosmos cosmonauts Oleg Novitsky and Pyotr Dubrov closed the transfer hatches between the Pirs module and the Russian segment of the International Space Station, and checked them for leaks. The physical separation of the bundle from the Progress MS-16 cargo vehicle and the Pirs module from the ISS is tentatively scheduled at 13:56 Moscow time on July 26, and the fall of the fireproof structural elements of the module and the ship in the Pacific Ocean – at 17:51 Moscow time. the same day.

Now the Pirs docking module is docked to the nadir port of the Zvezda service module of the Russian segment of the station. It is planned that after undocking its place will be taken by the multipurpose laboratory module “Science”, which was launched on Wednesday from the Baikonur cosmodrome and is in autonomous flight.

On the eve of this event, the Aist-2D small Earth remote sensing spacecraft, developed at the Progress Rocket and Space Center (Samara, part of the Roscosmos State Corporation), photographed the International Space Station. RCC “Progress” is the operator of the satellite “Aist-2D”, providing control, reception, processing and distribution of the received information of remote sensing of the Earth.

Rogozin Furious Over U.S. Sanctions on TsNIIMash, RSC Progress

Roscosmos head Dmitry Rogozin. (Credit: A. Savin)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Roscosmos General Director Dmitry Rogozin is protesting the inclusion of Russian Mission Control operator TsNIIMash and Soyuz rocket manufacturer RSC Progress on a list of 103 Russian, Chinese and Venezuelan companies sanctioned by the U.S. government due to their connections to the defense sectors of their home nations.

“The [Military End User] List informs exporters, reexporters, and transferors that a license will be required to export, reexport, or transfer (in-country) designated items to listed entities,” the Commerce Department said in a press release.

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Russia to Launch Progress Cargo Ship on Friday

Progress MS-12 approaches the International Space Station. Credit: Roscosmos)

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — TsNIIMash Mission Control Center has completed the planned activities to prepare for the Progress MS-13 cargo vehicle flight. The Soyuz-2.1a carrier rocket is scheduled to launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome on December 6, 2019, at 09:34:11 UTC [4:34:11 a.m. EST].

The Chief Operating Control Group of the Russian segment of the International Space Station at the Mission Control Center will take over the flight control after its separation from the third stage of the carrier rocket. The estimated orbit insertion time is 09:42:59 UTC [4:42:59 a.m. EST].

Progress MS-13 spacecraft approach to the ISS and berthing to the Pirs docking 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 the Russian ISS crewmembers.

The Progress MS-13 spacecraft is to deliver about 2.5 tons of various cargo including fuel, air, equipment to support the station workability, packages and life support means for the crewmembers. The cosmonauts will also get the new belt for the BD-2 running machine meant to keep the crew’s physical fitness under the zero-g conditions.

The launch broadcast will be available in the Live Broadcast section starting from 08:45 UTC [3:45 a.m. EST] on December 6.

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.

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Russian Rocket Mishap: The Gang That Can’t Launch Straight?

Soyuz rocket blasts off from Vostochny on Nov. 28, 2017. (Credit: Roscosmos)

Anatoly Zak has some intel on what investigators think might have caused the failure of a Soyuz launch on Tuesday. And it is just unfraking believable if it’s true.

Although the information is still preliminary, it is increasingly clear that all the hardware aboard the Fregat upper stage performed as planned. But, almost unbelievably, the flight control system on the Fregat did not have the correct settings for the mission originating from the new launch site in Vostochny, as apposed to routine launches from Baikonur and Plesetsk.

As a result, as soon as Fregat and its cargo separated from the third stage of the launch vehicle, its flight control system began commanding a change of orientation of the stack to compensate for what the computer had perceived as a deviation from the correct attitude, which was considerable. As a result, when the Fregat began its first preprogrammed main engine firing, the vehicle was apparently still changing its attitude, which led to a maneuvering in a wrong direction.

Again, it must be stressed: it’s still early in the investigation, so there might be a less unbelievable explanation for this accident, which destroyed a Russian weather satellite and 18 smaller secondary payloads.

In the string of Russian launch failures dating back to 2009, there have been some real forehead slapping mistakes made. Like the time the Proton rocket arched back toward the spaceport immediately after launch because orientation sensors had been installed upside down. And when an upper stage was filled with too much fuel, resulting in three satellites being launched into the Pacific instead of Earth orbit. This one, if true, might be even worse than those two mistakes.

Roscosmos has appointed a commission to investigate the accident headed by Oleg Skorobogatov, deputy general director of FSUE TsNIIMash. The deputy head of the commission is Alexander Medvedev, who is deputy general director of FSUE TsNIIMash. The commission plans to wrap up its work by Dec. 15.

Russia has four more launches set for the rest of the year, two of which use the Fregat upper stage. It’s not clear how the failure will affect the schedule.