Roscosmos Plans Cooperation on Chinese Space Station, Prepares to Dump GPS in Russian Airliners and Ship New ICBMs

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

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Vowing that cooperation in space with the West will resume on Russia’s terms, Roscosmos Director General Dmitry Rogozin said the space corporation is eyeing cooperation on China’s space station and begun efforts to replace the American Global Positioning System (GPS) in airplanes with Russian GLONASS satellite navigation system that is also capable of receiving navigation signals from China’s Beidou satellite constellation.

Rogozin also said Roscosmos plans to begin shipments of silo-based hypersonic Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) in the fall amid continued tensions with the West over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The rocket was successfully test fired on Wednesday.

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Putin Celebrates Gagarin Flight Anniversary, Vows Russia will Remain a Leader in Space Amid Sanctions

Vladimir Putin receives a briefing from Roscosmos General Director Dmitry Rogozin before the COVID-19 pandemic. (Credit: Office of the Russian President)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

On Tuesday, Russia celebrated the 61st anniversary of the Soviet Union’s launch of the first human into space, Yuri Gagarin, with a presidential visit to a scandal-plagued spaceport, a pledge to stay the course in the face of international sanctions over the Ukraine invasion, and an initiative to fly a citizen of one of the nation’s closest allies into space.

“Everything that we’ve seen during our visit to Vostochny, all successes in space exploration achieved in recent years prove that our country retains its leadership in space industry, is one of the leaders in this area,” President Vladimir Putin said during a visit to the Vostochny Cosmodrome in Russia’s Far East.

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USAID Delivered 5,000 Starlink Terminals to Ukraine

Starlink Premium antenna. (Credit: SpaceX)

WASHINGTON (USAID PR) — The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has delivered 5,000 Starlink Terminals to the Government of Ukraine through a public-private partnership with the American aerospace manufacturer, SpaceX.

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Russia’s Decision Day on ISS Nears as Western Sanctions Remain

Vladimir Putin receives a briefing from Roscosmos General Director Dmitry Rogozin. (Credit: Office of the Russian President)

Russian participation in the International Space Station (ISS) is up in the air (sorry, bad pun) as partners in the orbiting facility show no sign of lifting sanctions over the invasion of Ukraine by a March 31 deadline. Earlier this month, TASS reported on a threat by Roscosmos Director General Dmitry Rogozin.

“We will wait until the end of March. The lack of response or a negative response would be a basis for our decision,” he said, without specifying what kind of decision it would be….

During an earlier meeting with Russian lawmakers, Rogozin said the work of the International Space Station was no longer effective amid the current geopolitical sitaution. He also said that ‘colossal funding’ will be required to continue ISS operations until 2030, otherwise “the station will fall into pieces.”

The United States, Canada and Japan have imposed sanctions on Russia over the invasion. The European Space Agency is abiding by sanctions imposed by its member states. There are no signs the sanctions will be lifted as brutal fighting continues in Ukraine.

Roscosmos is the state-owned company that owns nearly all of Russia’s space industry. A number of Roscosmos companies have been sanctioned over the Russian invasion of Ukaine. Rogozin has been personally under U.S. sanctions since Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimea region in 2014.

NASA officials have said it would be difficult, not to mention expensive, to keep the station operating if Russia pulls out of ISS. Roscosmos provides crew, supplies, fuel and orbital re-boost of the station. There is an entire Russian section of the facility.

Putin, Justinian and the Revival of Empire

Mosaic of Emperor Justinian I in the Basilica di San Vitale in Ravenna, Italy. (Credit: By Petar Milošević – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=40035957)

After decades of relative peace, a full-scale war has broken out in Europe with the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Angered by the former Soviet republic’s efforts to integrate with Europe, Russian President Vladimir Putin has rolled the dice and unleashed hell on his nation’s neighbor.

History doesn’t repeat itself, but there are patterns that echo down through time. Sixteen centuries ago, another European leader launched a similar invasion designed to restore past glories. He succeeded — to a point.

All this has Happened Before

In late June 533, an expeditionary force under the command of Gen. Flavius Balisarius set sail from the Eastern Roman Empire capital of Constantinople. After a voyage of several months along the coasts of Greece and Italy, the force landed at Caputvada on the North Africa coast in early September.

The expeditionary force’s target was the Vandal Kingdom, centered in the former Roman capital of North Africa, Carthage. Emperor Justinian I had dispatched the expedition with two objectives in mind, one short term and limited, the other expansive and long term.

The Vandals had been part of a wave of barbarian tribes that, pushed out of their homelands by marauding Huns, had overrun the Western Roman Empire in the early fifth century. (The empire had split into east and west in 395, with separate capitals at Ravenna and Constantinople.) Vandals and other barbarians had crossed the Rhine, pillaged their way across Gaul (modern day France and Belgium), and seized control of Iberia (present-day Spain and Portugal). For a period, life was good as the invaders soaked up the Mediterranean sun and lives off the tax revenues that used to go to the Western Roman Empire.

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Russian Cosmonauts Enter Space Station Wearing Flight Suits with Colors Similar to Ukraine Flag

Soyuz MS-21 crew members aboard the International Space Station. (Credit: Roscosmos webcast)

A three man crew of Russian cosmonauts entered the International Space station today wearing bright yellow flight suits with blue trim — colors very similar to those used on the flag of Ukraine, which Russia invaded last month.

Oleg Artemyev, Denis Matveev, and Sergey Korsakov arrived at the station on the Soyuz MS-21 spacecraft at 3:12 p.m. EDT. They were launched aboard a Soyuz rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

It’s possible they are protesting Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to attack Ukraine. In which case, they are extremely brave. Or it might just be a giant coincidence. They might have chosen these colors — which have been used on the station before — months earlier.

The cosmonauts joined Expedition 66 Commander Anton Shkaplerov and cosmonaut Pyotr Dubrov of Roscosmos, NASA astronauts Mark Vande Hei, Raja Chari, Tom Marshburn, and Kayla Barron, and European Space Agency astronaut Matthias Maurer.

On March 30, a Soyuz spacecraft will return as scheduled carrying hkaplerov, Dubrov and Vande Hei back to Earth. Upon their return, Vande Hei will hold the American record for the longest single human spaceflight mission of 355 days.

Sanctions Threaten to Derail Russian Satellite Industry

Proton rocket lifts off on July 31, 2020. (Credit: Roscosmos)

The economic sanctions imposed on Russia by Europe over the invasion of Ukraine could be a second serious blow to the Russian satellite manufacturing industry, Anatoly Zak writes at Russianspaceweb.com.

The first blow occurred after the United States imposed a ban on the export of satellite technology following the Russian annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea region in 2014. Russian manufacturers, who were heavily reliant on Western technology, took a two-pronged approach: increase cooperation with Europe, and attempt to build up a domestic capability for the components they previously bought from the West.

Domestic efforts have been slow, however, and now imports from Europe have dried up due to sanctions. Zak writes:

But in 2022, the Russian communications satellite projects had hit a real wall, along with the rest of the Russian economy, after Putin’s new invasion of Ukraine. The overwhelmingly wide sanctions against the Kremlin left practically no chance for Russia to complete any of its communications satellites in the development pipeline at the time due to their dependency on Western payloads.

Conceivably, Russia could turn to China for necessary components or/and Moscow could try again developing necessary competencies inside the country, but given little signs of progress on both of those fronts in the past, it could probably take years if not decades before all the technological gaps could be closed and it would be even more difficult to do under much harsher economic conditions and export controls. It is also a question whether China would be interested in boosting strategically important industries in Russia with potential military implications or whether it would want to challenge the Western sanctions regime by putting at risk its far more important trade relations with the United States.

China’s decision on how much to help Vladimir Putin ameliorate the sanctions will go a long way to determining the future of Russia.

Roscosmos and China Signed Agreement to Ensure GLONASS and Beidou Satellite Navigation Systems are Complementary

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — A package of 16 intergovernmental, interdepartmental and commercial documents, including a joint Russian-Chinese statement on international relations, was adopted as part of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to China. Among other things, an Agreement on cooperation in the field of ensuring complementarity between GLONASS and Beidou was signed.

During the Russian-Chinese summit talks, a Joint Statement by the Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China on international relations entering a new era and global sustainable development was adopted. In it, Moscow and Beijing stressed that they are in favor of forming a new type of relationship between world powers based on mutual respect, peaceful coexistence and mutually beneficial cooperation.

On Friday, February 4, 2022, the State Corporation Roscosmos and the Commission on the Chinese satellite navigation system signed an agreement regarding cooperation in the field of ensuring the complementarity of the global navigation satellite systems GLONASS and Beidou in terms of system time scales.

The long-term goal of Russian-Chinese cooperation in the field of ensuring the complementarity of GLONASS and Beidou is to provide navigation services of higher quality by using the signals of both global navigation satellite systems. One of these conditions is the harmonization of the GLONASS and Beidou system time scales with reference to the international UTC scale.

The mode of joint use of GLONASS and Beidou signals will reduce the risks in the navigation support of consumers in the event of malfunctions in the operation of individual global navigation satellite systems, improve the accuracy and reliability of solving navigation problems.

Russia’s Sphere Satellite Constellation Moves Toward Implementation

Sphere constellation satellite orbits. (Credit: Roscosmos)
  • 264-satellite constellation will provide broadband and Earth observation capabilities
  • Russia’s first mega constellation would be deployed in medium orbit
  • Government plans to spend US $370 million through 2024

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — After several stages of discussions and approvals in the government, the Federal Sphere project received a development plan supported by funding. In the coming years, emphasis will be placed on developing technologies and creating the first samples of spacecraft. The final decision on the number and composition of satellite constellations will be made based on the results shown.

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Vladimir Putin to Roscosmos: Do More with Less

Russian President Vladimir Putin tours Vostochny Cosmodrome in September 2019. (Crredit: Roscosmos)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Russian President Vladimir Putin has Roscosmos taken to task for failing to compete a series of goals even as his government prepares to cut the budget of the Roscosmos state corporation that runs the nation’s space program by more than $500 million.

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Russia Moves to Suppress News of Corruption at Roscosmos, Military Services

Vladimir Putin receives a briefing from Roscosmos General Director Dmitry Rogozin. (Credit: Office of the Russian President)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Do you remember all those stories about corruption and theft at Roscomos’ new Vostochny spaceport? How about the one about the construction manager who was arrested driving around in diamond-encrusted Mercedes? Or how one in every five rubles allocated for the Russia’s military-industrial complex is lost to waste, fraud and abuse?

Well, after years of not entirely successful attempts to clean up these embarrassing problems, the government of Vladimir Putin has hit upon a new strategy: suppress all news of them. The Moscow Times reports the Federal Security Service, a successor organization to the KGB, has published a 60-point list of information that “foreign states, organizations and citizens can use against Russia’s security.”

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Rogozin: Russia to Gradually Withdraw from International Space Station Starting in 2025

The International Space Station, photographed by ESA astronaut Paolo Nespoli following the undocking of his Soyuz-TMA on 23 May 2011. (Credit: ESA/NASA)

Roscomos General Director Dmitry Rogozin said Russia’s withdrawal from the International Space Station (ISS) will be a gradual one. TASS reports:

“Work is already underway on the first basic module for the new Russian orbital service station. The Energia Space Rocket Corporation has been set the task of ensuring its readiness for the launch into the designated orbit in 2025,” Rogozin wrote in his Telegram channel.

The Roscosmos chief also posted a video of the first module under construction: this will be a research and power unit that was previously intended for its launch to the International Space Station in 2024….

“There is no talk about dumping the ISS in 2025. We are talking about our gradual exit from this project and creating a new national orbital service station,” the Roscosmos chief wrote on his Facebook, responding to a user’s comment.

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Rogozin Says 29 Launches, Lunar Lander & New ISS Modules on the Manifest for 2021

Vladimir Putin receives a briefing from Roscosmos General Director Dmitry Rogozin. (Credit: Office of the Russian President)

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — General Director of the Roscosmos State Corporation for Space Activities Dmitry Rogozin reported to President Vladimir Putin on the corporation’s performance in 2020 and plans for the near term.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Rogozin, let us have an in-depth discussion on the corporation’s performance in 2020. The issues we will discuss include carrier rocket launches, the state of the orbital group, your plans, fundamental space research, and, of course, the financial indicators. Please, go ahead. 

General Director of Roscosmos Dmitry Rogozin: Mr. President, last year we posted good results overall. For a second year running since 1993, there were no accidents. This is certainly a positive indicator – I hope we will continue in the same manner – of improved discipline in the sector as a whole and the reliability of our rocket and space technology.

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Russia Tests Direct-ascent Anti-satellite Missile — U.S. Space Command

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo., Dec. 16, 2020 (US Space Command PR) — Russia has conducted a test of a direct-ascent anti-satellite (DA-ASAT) missile.

“Russia publicly claims it is working to prevent the transformation of outer space into a battlefield, yet at the same time Moscow continues to weaponize space by developing and fielding on-orbit and ground-based capabilities that seek to exploit U.S. reliance on space-based systems,” said U.S. Army Gen. James Dickinson, U.S. Space Command commander.

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