Soyuz-U carrier rocket with Progress M-26M cargo spaceship launched from Baikonur


February 17, 14:14 UTC+3

MOSCOW, February 17. /TASS/. The Soyuz-U carrier rocket with Russia’s Progress M-26M cargo spacecraft was blasted off on Tuesday from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to the International Space Station (ISS), the Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) press service told TASS.

“The rocket’s liftoff passed normally, on schedule. The cargo spaceship’s separation from the third stage of the carrier rocket is to take place 9 minutes after the blast-off,” Roscosmos said.

The Progress spacecraft is to dock to the ISS six hours after the launch – at 19:59 pm, Moscow time, Tuesday, the press service said.

Russian space agency to replace Ukraine’s Zenith launchers with new Angara rockets — media


February 02,  MOSCOW
The satellites that were supposed to be launched by Zenith launchers will be orbited by new launchers of the Angara class

The Angara carrier rocket

The Angara carrier rocket

© Press service of the Russian Defense Ministry/TASS

MOSCOW, February 2. /TASS/. Russia’s space agency, Roscosmos, will not any longer buy Zenith rockets produced in Ukraine’s Dnipropetrovsk, Izvestia daily writes on Monday referring to representative of Roscosmos Igor Burenkov.

He said the agency would not buy any Zenith launchers, and the satellites that were supposed to be launched by them will be orbited by new launchers of the Angara class.

“Our industry has just finished work on a modern rocket that can carry out any tasks, and thus we don’t need to buy rockets from Ukraine any longer,” the newspaper quotes the representative.

Izvestia writes, Roscosmos planned three launches of Zenith rockets for 2016-2018, and two more were due this year – meteorology satellites Elector-L and scientific apparatuses, like the Spektr-RG Observatory.

Engines for Zenith rockets are produced in Russia, not far from Moscow, where Izvestia learned the company has five ready engines for Zeniths – they were produced in 2013-2014.

Head of the Energia Space Corporation, producing the engines, Vladimir Solntsev, told the newspaper the company suggests using the engines for a new launcher of the super-heavy class.

“Resurs-P” No. 2 and Astra 2G Launched into Orbit


Last weekend the aerospace industry of Russia pleased with two successful launches.

On December 26, the carrier rocket “Soyuz-2.1b” successfully launched promising Russian spacecraft of remote sensing of the Earth “Resurs-P” No.2. And on December 28, 2014 from the launch pad 200 of Baikonur Cosmodrome it was started the launch vehicle (LV) “Proton-M” with the upper stage (RB) “Briz-M” and telecommunications spacecraft (SC ) Astra 2G.

Both the launches took place in the normal mode. The spacecrafts were successfully placed on the target orbit.

The carrier rocket “Soyuz-2.1b” was created in FSUE “TsSKB-Progress” (Samara) and is a modification of “Soyuz-2″. In comparison with the option “1a” it has an engine with increased power characteristics at 3th stage. “Soyuz-2.1b” in relation to the previous version has more accurate removal, stability and control, increased payload mass.

New Russian heavy rocket launched successfully


MOSCOW December, 23. /TASS
Twelve minutes after the liftoff, the orbital unit separated from the third stage

MOSCOW, December 23. /TASS/. A new Russian heavy rocket was successfully test-launched from the Plesetsk space center on Tuesday as planned at 08:57am Moscow time.

The head unit has separated from the third stage of the Angara rocket, the Russian Defense Ministry press service confirmed. Twelve minutes after the liftoff, the orbital unit separated from the third stage, the press service said. The Briz-M upper stage will carry the orbital unit to the planned geostationary orbit.

Indeed, this is a great and very important event for our rocket-and-space sphere, and for Russia in general,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said.

Russia places serious hopes on the Angara. After tests, Russia plans to launch space vehicles of all types from its territory and ensure independent guaranteed access to space. It is one of priority projects of the Russian space industry.

Various Angara rockets are developed from light to heavy class, capable to carry from 1.5 to 25 tons.

The light-class model was tested last summer. The rocket successfully reached the designated area within the Kura range on Kamchatka, 5,700 km from the launch site.

Angara-A5 is capable of carrying 3-24.5 tons and can replace the Proton carrier. The heavy Angara is not designed for manned flights.

Strela Rocket With Kondor-E Satellite Blasts Off from Baikonur:Space Agency

Stiletto (SS-19) ABM launch

The country’s space agency Roscosmos reported that Russia’s Strela carrier rocket lifted off from the Baikonur cosmodrome with a Kondor-E radar imaging satellite.

MOSCOW, December 19 (Sputnik) — Russia’s Strela carrier rocket blasted off from the Baikonur cosmodrome with a Kondor-E radar imaging satellite, the country’s space agency Roscosmos told RIA Novosti Friday.


On Thursday, the satellite launch was postponed until Friday due to technical reasons.Kondor is a family of light-class earth imaging satellites developed by rocket design bureau NPO Mashinostroyeniya for the Russian Aerospace Defense Forces. Kondor-E is an export version of the satellite.

The spacecraft carries a radar imaging equipment to monitor Earth and ocean surfaces. Satellite imagery can be used for ecological monitoring and to manage natural resources.

USA wants to give up Russian RD-180 engines

December 16, 2014 Viktor Kuzmin, specially for RIR
In early December 2014 the U.S. Congress approved a ban on purchasing Russian RD-180 engines. However, this decision is unlikely to be implemented in the near future. Orbital Sciences announced on Dec. 10 that it will now be using the Atlas V system fitted with the RD-180 to launch the Cygnus spacecraft.
USA wants to give up Russian RD-180 engines The Orbital Sciences Corporation Antares rocket, with the Cygnus spacecraft onboard suffers a catastrophic anomaly moments after launch from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport Pad 0A, Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2014, at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Source: AP

The U.S. plans to discontinue the use of Russian RD-180 engines. They are currently being used by the United Launch Alliance (ULA) company in its Atlas V carrier rockets. The decision was passed by the U.S. Congress in early December 2014.

The need to develop a new U.S. engine has been discussed over the previous decade. The drastic deterioration in U.S.-Russian relations over the conflict in Ukraine has further spurred American politicians’ desire to end dependence on Russian supplies.

Senator John McCain demanded that the U.S. Department of Defense immediately end its cooperation with companies that purchase Russian engines. However, the Committee on Armed Services concluded that the move could threaten U.S. national security.

That is why the ULA was permitted to continue using Russian engines until 2019, when an American replacement is scheduled to be ready. The U.S. will have to spend over $577 billion to develop a new engine. According to a recent piece in Fortune, there are no strong players on the American market at the moment able to create a competitive equivalent.

Russian experts point out that this decision might destroy a whole segment of the market since the RD-180 engine was specifically designed for U.S. rockets. “There is a close link between an engine and a carrier rocket,” says Ivan Moiseyev, head of the Space Policy Institute.

“In order to use the RD-180 in Russia or China, it would be necessary to design a launch system that would meet each country’s specific characteristics. So far, there are no projects like that.”

The world’s best engine?

The RD-180 is manufactured at the Energomash plant in the town of Khimki in Moscow Region. These engines have been used by the ULA consortium, set up by Boeing and Lockheed Martin, to power the first stage of the Atlas V launch vehicle for a long time. The latter is used to launch both civilian and military satellites commissioned by the Pentagon.

According to Moiseyev, the RD-180 is one of the world’s best engines in its class. It was designed on the basis of the RD-170 engine that was used to power the Energia and Zenit carrier rockets. “Modern liquid-fuelled rocket engines have reached their theoretical limit in terms of efficiency,” says Moiseyev.

“The RD-180 uses the most advanced, so-called ‘closed’ engine configuration, very high chamber pressure. After 57 successful launches, the RD-180 has demonstrated 100-percent reliability.”

In addition, according to experts, the RD-180 remains the best engine in terms of value. Energomash told RIR that before 2010, RD-180 engines were sold to Americans at a loss. However, in 2010-2011 the plant started turning a profit, which allowed Energomash to spend some of the revenues to develop its production facilities.

Under a contract with the United States Air Force, the ULA must carry out 38 launches before 2020. Eight of them have been carried out this year. The company has 16 more RD-180 engines left. According to Alexander Zheleznyakov, an academic with the Russian Academy of Cosmonautics named for Tsiolkovsky, this was mutually beneficial as it had a positive effect on space exploration globally.

“The Americans have been using our RD-180 engines for many years and there have never been any complaints,” says Zheleznyakov. “They are making an essential economic and financial contribution to the ISS program.”

Competition, monopolies and joint ventures

RD-180 engines are used only by American launch vehicles and the discontinuation of supplies will hit Energomash hard, Moiseyev points out. “Most likely, Energomash will have to cut its staff considerably and seek budget financing or subsidies to cope with the higher prices,” says Moiseyev. He adds that Russia is using the RD-170 and the single-chamber RD-191 for its Angara launch vehicle.

In 2013, there was a competition for the RD-180 in the U.S. between the ULA and Orbital Sciences, which also wanted to buy the engines for its Antares rocket. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission launched an antimonopoly probe against the ULA, a Boeing and Lockheed Martin joint venture.

The company was suspected of unlawfully preventing its competitors’ access to components supplied by RD Amross, a joint U.S.-Russian venture uniting Energomash and the U.S. company Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne. The former manufactures RD-180 engines, while the latter supplies them to the ULA for Atlas V launch systems.

Orbital Sciences had to use liquid-fuelled Aerojet AJ-26 engines, a modification of the old NK-22 engines made by the Samara-based Kuznetsov Design Bureau. They were developed during the Soviet period for the super-heavy N-1 rocket, but the project was closed in the 1970s along with the Soviet lunar program.

In October 2014 an Antares launch vehicle carrying a Cygnus cargo spacecraft that was slated to deliver over two tons of cargo to the ISS exploded at launch. After that Orbital Sciences decided to discontinue the use of any Russian engines. However, on Dec. 10, the company announced that it had signed an official partnership agreement with the ULA: Cygnus spacecraft will be launched with Atlas V carrier rockets fitted with RD-180 engines.

Russia’s Proton Places Telecommunications Satellite into Orbit


The Briz-M upper stage and Yamal-401 telecommunications satellite separated from the Proton-M carrier rocket, which was launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome. This information was presented by the press service of the Russian Space Agency.

“The spacecraft was put into orbit at 12:17 Moscow time,” the press center of the Federal Space Agency reported.

It should be noted that the Yamal-401 satellite designed and built by ISS Reshetnev Company for the Russian operator Gazprom Space Systems is capable of relaying continuously signals in Europe and Asia. The satellite is fitted with 53 transponders and six antennas in C/Ku-bands. The Yamal-401 is the third spacecraft created on the basis of the heavy-class Express-2000 platform. The weight of the satellite is 2,976 kilograms, the power used to carry a payload is 11 kW, and the life span is 15 years.