Historic 500th Soyuz rocket sets off from Baikonur

The 500th Soyuz rocket has successfully lifted off from the Gagarin’s Start launchpad marking a historic milestone for Baikonur Cosmodrome. The spacecraft will deliver three new crew members to the International Space Station.

Russian and Kazakh cosmonauts (Sergey Volkov and Aidyn Aimbetov respectively), along with the first ever Danish astronaut (Andreas Mogensen) have entered history on board Soyuz TMA-18M. The 500th manned rocket launched from the same pad that Yuri Gagarin’s original Soyuz blasted off from on April 12, 1961.


The spacecraft will take a longer two-day route and head toward the ISS for a radar-guided rendezvous and docking on Friday September 4, at 7:42am GMT. Nine people will share the space station during the week-long crew rotation.

The flight is unusual in that the two flight engineers on board the Soyuz TMA-18M will not stay on the ISS for an extended mission, returning to Earth on September 11. The docking of the Soyuz TMA-18M will mark the conclusion of Expedition 44 and the beginning of Expedition 45.

Media: The West suspects that Russia launched into space the “SATELLITE DESTROYER”

20/11/2014 ITAR-TASS

An object that experts firstly  recognize as space garbage, makes the movements  relatively of Russian spacecrafts

LONDON, November 18. / Corr. TASS Alan BUD /. Western space agencies are monitoring the object launched into orbit  by Russian rocket, suspecting that it is a ” satellite destroyer.”

The newspaper Financial Times  informs about it..

“Western space agencies are monitoring the mysterious object launched by the Russian military, which inspires fear of the revival of a discontinued program of  Kremlin to destroy satellites,” – the newspaper writes. According to it, North American Aerospace Defense Command – Joint structure of USA and Canada – assign to objects 2014-28E their own digital name – 39765.

“Whatever was the subject, it looks like something experimental – evaluation of  object 2014-28E  by  expert in space security of the British Royal Institute of International Affairs, Patricia Lewis. – It may have several functions, both civilian and military. Perhaps he equipped with a manipulator for gripping objects or weapons  of kinetic action. and maybe we are talking about cyber attacks from one satellite to another, or against jamming signals, “- said the expert.

The newspaper reminds that in 2007, China launched a missile which successfully destroyed the Chinese satellite, in 2008, the same test  USA conducted.  “Russia in the past has been one of the main proponents of an international treaty on the prevention of the deployment of weapons in space, but its efforts have not yielded results,” – the British newspaper sais.

The newspaper  cites the opinion of an unnamed Russian military expert, that “with the rapid progress of other countries and the recent deterioration of relations between Moscow and the West, the revival of the program (” The satellites destroyer “) might make sense.”

May 23 from the Plesetsk cosmodrome  it was launched a carrier rocket “Rokot” with three military satellites. All three devices were successfully inserted into the target orbit. The names of the satellites and their characteristics were not reported.

“Incident” with the Russian military satellite over the US

May 6  it was learned about the launch from Plesetsk of the  rocket “Soyuz-2.1a”  with  military satellite. Spacecraft that gets the sequence number “Kosmos-2495”, was successfully launched into orbit.

In mid-September, a strategic command of the armed forces of the United States stated that the satellite exploded over the territory of America. The troops Aerospace Defense (ASD) have refuted this statement, calling the Washington  “another attempt to find out the whereabouts of the lost Russian space object.”

The representative of Russian  troops  of  VKO (ESD) Colonel Alexei Zolotukhin  stressed that the main center of control of space situation leads global monitoring not only of Russian satellites, but all space objects of artificial origin, including foreign, at altitudes from 120  to 40 thousand  Km, with constant refinement information about them. “And not” high confidence “as a strategic command of the armed forces of the United States, but  in fact and  in real time” – said the military.

“Cosmos” docking history

КРЭТ's photo.
KRET,  28.10.2014

October 30, 1967 for the first time in space  it was made ​​automatic docking of ships.

It was the Soviet apparatus of  “Cosmos” series – “Cosmos-186” and “Cosmos-188” is a prototype spaceship “Soyuz”.

By the way, the technique for satellites “Cosmos” series was produced from 1962  on  Ufa instrument production association, now part KRET

Russian Soyuz Spacecraft With International Crew Lands in Kazakhstan as Scheduled

The descent capsule of Russia’s Soyuz TMA-12M manned spacecraft with international crew on board has successfully landed in Kazakhstan.


KOROLYOV, September 11 (RIA Novosti) -The descent capsule of Russia’s Soyuz TMA-12M manned spacecraft with international crew on board has successfully landed in the pre-planned area about 147 kilometers southeast of the city of Zheskazgan in Kazakhstan, the representative of the Mission Control Center told RIA Novosti on Thursday.

“Landing succeeded,” reads the sign on the Mission Control Center’s screens.

The returnees, Russian cosmonauts Alexander Skvortsov and Oleg Artemyev and NASA astronaut Steven Swanson have spent 170 days in space.

Russian cosmonaut Maksim Surayev, US astronaut Reid Wiseman and the European Space Agency astronaut Alexander Gerst continue their work at the International Space Station (ISS).

The safety of the Soyuz spacecraft landing was ensured by about 200 servicemen, 14 helicopters Mi-8, three planes AN-13 and AN-26 and six cross-country vehicles.

On September 26, next crew of the ISS expedition, consisting of Russian cosmonauts Alexander Samokutyaev and Elena Serova and NASA astronaut Barry Wilmore, is due to launch from Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on the spacecraft Soyuz TMA-14M.

US to Stop Using Soyuz Spacecraft, Invest in Domestic Private Space Industry – Reports

Launch of Soyuz-2 Rocket

12:28 22/08/2014 

MOSCOW, August 22 (RIA Novosti) – NASA is expected to sign a multibillion-dollar deal with a private company to launch US astronauts from the United States instead of paying Russia to use its Soyuz spacecraft, according to The Washington Post.

“In the coming weeks, NASA is expected to announce its long-awaited solution: a multibillion-dollar contract to build a US spacecraft, which could help reignite a struggling American space program,” the newspaper reported.

It went on to say that the contract would enable the United States to launch astronauts from its own soil instead of paying in excess of $70 million for a seat on the Soyuz.

At the moment, three contenders for the contract with NASA are named – SpaceX, Sierra Nevada and Boeing – but they have yet to prove their ability to safely fly humans into orbit. The company that will end up striking a deal will also have to pass NASA’s certification program, which could take years.

SpaceX and Boeing have developed capsules that can take astronauts to space, while Sierra Nevada has come forth with a “space plane,” resembling a miniature version of the space shuttle that can land on runways.

Attempts at launching a commercial space program were made during the presidency of George W. Bush but President Barack Obama’s administration did not show much support for the initiative, causing time delays.

NASA hopes to carry out two trips to the International Space Station (ISS) a year on average.

Initially, NASA intended to launch the first astronauts under the commercial crew program by 2015, however, budget issues postponed it until 2017.

NASA Extends Reliance on Russian Spacecraft Until 2018

NASA Extends Reliance on Russian Spacecraft Until 2018

MOSCOW, January 29 (RIA Novosti) – American astronauts will continue to fly to the International Space Station aboard Russian spacecraft through 2017, NASA said Monday.

“Until a US commercial vehicle is sustained, continued access to Russian crew launch, return, and rescue services is essential for planned ISS operations,” NASA said in a procurement announcement.

The agency intends to buy six more seats on Russian Soyuz spacecraft to ferry American astronauts to the ISS in 2017.

NASA will also contract with the Russian space agency Roscosmos to have seats available on docked Soyuz craft through spring 2018 in the event of an emergency evacuation of the station.

The cost of the proposed deal was not disclosed, but NASA signed a contract with Roscosmos last spring to pay about $70 million per seat for launch services through early 2017.

The agency, which is funding the development of several manned spacecraft, plans to select a commercial launch provider for missions starting in 2017.

Two NASA-funded private spacecraft – SpaceX’s Dragon and Orbital Sciences Corp.’s Cygnus – have already made unmanned resupply missions to the ISS.

No American vehicle has taken astronauts into orbit since the decommissioning of NASA’s shuttle fleet in 2011. The Soyuz is one of only two operational orbital manned spacecraft in the world, the other being China’s Shenzhou.

After Series of Delays, Russia Launches New Soyuz Rocket

After Series of Delays, Russia Launches New Soyuz Rocket

MOSCOW, December 28 (RIA Novosti) – A new Soyuz rocket blasted off from the Plesetsk space center in northern Russia on Saturday after numerous delays earlier this week, the Russian Defense Ministry said.

The ministry said the launch took place at 16:30 Moscow time (12:30 GMT).

The rocket put into designated orbit a small research satellite built by students and young scientists.

The new rocket, dubbed the Soyuz-2.1v, is to feature a completely reworked first stage powered by a NK-33 (14D15) rocket engine built by the NK Engines Company in the Russian city of Samara. The rocket lacks the characteristic four boosters that Soyuz and its ancestors have had since the R-7 missile that launched Sputnik in 1957.

The launch was originally scheduled for Monday and was delayed first until Tuesday and then until Wednesday due to concern over a possible malfunction of one of the rocket’s engines.

A Russian defense official, Colonel Dmitry Zenin, said later on Wednesday the launch was postponed again and will take place sometime next year.

A state commission that gathered on Saturday morning, decided to launch the rocket at 14:00, but it was also cancelled minutes before the planned blastoff.

The Soyuz, the most frequently launched rocket in the world, has undergone more than 1,700 launches since its debut in 1966. It is one of only two rockets worldwide that are capable of sending astronauts into orbit, the other being the Chinese Long March 2F.

Russia Sends Supply Rocket to Space Station

Russia Sends Supply Rocket to Space Station

MOSCOW, November 26 (RIA Novosti) – An unmanned Russian space freighter carrying almost 2 1/2 tons of supplies to the International Space Station lifted off from the Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan Tuesday, a Mission Control spokesman said.

The Progress M-21M spacecraft, loaded with food, fuel, experiment hardware and other supplies for the space station’s six Expedition 38 crew members, is expected to dock with the space station’s Russian-made Zvezda module four days after liftoff.

The cargo ship will conduct flybys of the station to test a lighter and more efficient automated docking system, known as Kurs-NA, for upgraded Soyuz and Progress vehicles.

“The tests of the new equipment will be conducted on the night of November 27-28,” the spokesman said.

Previous testing of the system’s predecessor, Kurs-A, ended in failure in April when the antenna did not deploy correctly.

France and Russia will extend the agreement to launch a “Soyuz” from Kourou after 2016

PARIS, April 15. (ARMS-TASS). The agreement between Russia and France in launching rocket “Soyuz” from Kourou will be renewed in 2016, has expressed confidence today by CEO “Arianespace” and director of the National Centre for Space Studies in France, Jean-Yves Le Gall, the ITAR-TASS news agency.

“All indications are that the contract will be extended – Le Gall said. – Now” Arianespace “already in discussions with Russian partners starts to be carried out after this date (2016).”