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Posts tagged ‘Orbiting Greenglade Prime’

At last minute, Russia scrubs cargo launch to space station

February 11, 2018

MOSCOW (AP) — Russia has scrubbed the planned launch of an unmanned cargo spacecraft that was to have delivered tons of supplies to the International Space Station. Preparations for the launch of the Progress ship from the Baikonur complex in Kazakhstan appeared to be proceeding smoothly Sunday until less than a minute before the liftoff.

Roscosmos, the Russian space agency, said the launch was halted after an automated command, but said the reason for the command was under investigation. It said the launch is rescheduled for Tuesday. The Russian spacecraft carry fuel, food and other supplies to the ISS. This one was to have attempted a new fast route to the station, docking just 3.5 hours after launch after just two Earth orbits.

There are six astronauts currently aboard the ISS — two Russians, three Americans and one from Japan.


Royal audience as SpaceX launches satellite for Luxembourg

February 01, 2018

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — SpaceX had a royal audience as it launched a satellite for Luxembourg. The Falcon 9 rocket blasted off late Wednesday afternoon from Cape Canaveral, Florida, hoisting GovSat-1 for the government of Luxembourg and SES, the European country’s prime satellite operator. The satellite will support both military and civilian security efforts.

Witnessing the launch were Luxembourg’s Prince Guillaume and his wife, Stephanie. The country’s prime minister, Xavier Bettel, and other high-ranking officials also were present. The rocket’s first-stage booster — which also flew last spring — was not recovered this time. Instead, it dropped into the Atlantic.

With GovSat-1 now in orbit, SpaceX can focus on next week’s debut of its new, big Falcon Heavy rocket. The test flight is scheduled for Tuesday.

Russia at work on new station, lunar trips: says top rocket scientist

Moscow (Sputnik)

Jan 24, 2018

Russia is set to spend the next decade working on a potential new station that might be built if the International Space Station (ISS) project is terminated, as well as a spacecraft capable of making trips to the Moon, General Designer of Russia’s Manned Programs Yevgeny Mikrin said Tuesday.

The ISS participants have agreed to maintain the program until 2024, but it is unclear what will happen afterward. In April last year, Igor Komarov, director general of the Russian national space agency, Roscosmos, said the Russian side was open to extending the program until 2028. However, no final decision has been made on the future of the project. The participants include Russian, US, Japanese, European and Canadian space agencies.

“If the decision is made to stop the work of the ISS, a Russian station may be set up… It is planned to include five modules,” Mikrin said at the Academic Space Conference in Moscow.

The station would be able to house a crew of three and it would weigh about 60 tonnes, that is, almost seven times less than the ISS.

For the time being, however, Russia is planning to finish the second phase of the construction of the Russian segment of the ISS and add three new modules to it. The modules are designed in a way that would allow them to become the basis for a new independent station.

A new cargo spacecraft with larger payload capacity that is being designed at Russia’s Rocket and Space Corporation Energia may be used to deliver supplies to the new station.


The flight and docking of the Federation manned spacecraft to the ISS, planned for 2024, is among the plans for the existing program, however, the Federation will be capable of a wide range of operations, including travel to the Moon.

The spacecraft, according to Mikrin, will be able to land on the surface of the Moon with a precision of 4.3 miles.

“The advantages of the new spacecraft is the possibility of multiple use of the landing section, up to 10 times, soft landing on a special landing device, the increase of the landing precision up to seven kilometers, ensuring the crew safety throughout the launch phase and increased comfort,” Mikrin explained.

The Federation can carry a crew of four and is intended for transporting cargo and people to the orbital station and to the Moon. The designer said that the Moon program is expected to culminate in the establishment of a Moon base, where it will be possible to mine for rare and precious resources, among other things.

The Federation spacecraft is capable of being in an autonomous flight for up to 30 days and a part of an orbital station for up to a year.

The first Federation is expected to be built by 2021.

Off to Moon With RD-150

The new hydrogen engine for the upper part of the super heavy-lift launch vehicle will be named RD-150, according to the designer.

The third-stage launcher will be designed based on RD-120 made for Buran project, a reusable spacecraft program that began in the 1970s.

Mikrin added that the first two stages would be designed based on the first stages of the Soyuz-5 rocket, currently under development.

The super heavy-lift launch vehicle is expected to be first used in 2023-2035 to deliver the Federation spacecraft to the Moon’s polar orbit.

Source: Moon Daily.


3 astronauts blast off for International Space Station

December 17, 2017

BAIKONUR, Kazakhstan (AP) — A capsule carrying three astronauts from Russia, Japan and the United States has blasted off for a two-day trip to the International Space Station. The Soyuz capsule with Anton Shkaplerov, Norishige Kanai and Scott Tingle launched at 1:23 p.m. (0723 GMT; 2:23 a.m. EST) Sunday from Russia’s manned space-launch complex in Baikonur, Kazakhstan. It entered orbit nine minutes later.

It is the first space flight for Tingle and Kanai; Shkaplerov is on his third mission to the ISS. The capsule is to dock on Tuesday with the orbiting space laboratory. The three will join Russia’s Alexander Misurkin and Joe Acaba and Mark Vandde Hei of NASA, who have been aboard since September.

Russia launches European atmosphere monitoring satellite

October 13, 2017

MOSCOW (AP) — Russia successfully launched a satellite into orbit Friday that will monitor Europe’s atmosphere, helping to study air pollution. The European Space Agency’s Sentinel-5P satellite was launched by a Rokot missile from the Plesetsk launch pad in northwestern Russia. The satellite will map the atmosphere every day.

After separating from the upper stage booster, the satellite deployed its solar panels and began communications with Earth, the ESA said. The first signal was received 93 minutes after launch as the satellite passed over the Kiruna station in Sweden.

Controllers at ESA’s operations center in Darmstadt, Germany, then established command and control links allowing them to monitor the satellite’s condition. “The Sentinel-5P satellite is now safely in orbit so it is up to our mission control teams to steer this mission into its operational life and maintain it for the next seven years or more,” ESA Director General Jan Woerner said in a statement.

The mission will contribute to volcanic ash monitoring for aviation safety and for services that warn of high levels of UV radiation causing skin damage. The measurements also will help understand processes in the atmosphere related to the climate and to the formation of holes in the ozone layer.

It’s the sixth satellite in the ESA’s Copernicus program. Other Earth-observing Sentinel satellites launched earlier provide radar and optical imagery of the Earth, and monitor the condition of the world’s oceans and ice sheets.

“Having Sentinel-5P in orbit will give us daily and global views at our atmosphere with a precision we never had before,” ESA quoted Josef Aschbacher, the head of its earth observation programs, as saying.

Philippe Gaudy, who oversees the Sentinel project for the European Space Agency, said data collected by Sentinel 5P would help scientists to better monitor air pollution, such as for nitrogen oxide emitted by cars.

A recent report estimated that more than 400,000 people die prematurely in Europe alone because of air pollution. Orbital observation can be used to compare reported air pollution by governments with actual data, to see whether countries are living up to their commitments under international treaties, Gaudy said.

The data from Sentinel-5P will be made available for free to anyone who wants it, he added. It will take engineers several months to calibrate and validate the measurements, meaning data will start to become available in the first half of next year.

US spacewalkers repair aging ISS robotic arm

Miami (AFP)

Oct 5, 2017

Two NASA astronauts wrapped up a successful spacewalk Thursday to repair the International Space Station’s aging robotic arm, the US space agency said.

The outing by Americans Randy Bresnik and Mark Vande Hei ended at 3 pm (1900 GMT), marking a “very successful day,” a NASA spokesman said.

The spacewalk lasted six hours and 55 minutes, almost a half hour longer than planned because the pair managed to tack on a few extra jobs that had been planned for next week.

Their main work involved the latching end of the Canadian-made arm, known as Canadarm2.

They replaced one of two Latching End Effectors (LEE) which had lost the ability to grip effectively, said the US space agency.

The 57.7 foot-long (18 meter) arm was instrumental in assembling the space station and is used to reach out and grab approaching cargo ships.

The robotic arm has been a key piece of equipment at the orbiting outpost for more than 16 years, but began malfunctioning in August.

NASA wants to restore its full capability before the next US cargo ship arrives next month, carrying supplies for the six astronauts living in orbit.

Thursday’s spacewalk was the first of three scheduled spacewalks this month aimed at repairing and maintaining various pieces of equipment outside the ISS, and was the 203rd spacewalk in the history of the space station.

Vande Hei and Bresnik plan to step out on another spacewalk October 10, with the third set for October 18.

“The second and third spacewalks will be devoted to lubricating the newly installed end effector and replacing cameras on the left side of the station’s truss and the right side of the station’s US Destiny laboratory,” NASA said.

Source: Robo Daily.


The launch of Sputnik 60 years ago opened space era

October 04, 2017

MOSCOW (AP) — The launch of Sputnik 60 years ago opened the space era and became a major triumph for the Soviet Union, showcasing its military might and technological prowess. It also stunned the rest of the world.

Details of the development and the launch of the first artificial satellite were hidden behind the veil of secrecy that surrounded the Soviet space program and only became known decades later. A look at some little-known facts behind the Oct. 4, 1957, launch of the unmanned spacecraft:


Amid a tense Cold War arms race with the United States, the Soviet Union focused its efforts on building the world’s first intercontinental ballistic missile capable of delivering a hydrogen warhead to the U.S. The R-7 missile was built by a team led by Sergei Korolyov, and tests of the rocket began in 1957.

Korolyov, a visionary scientist and a shrewd manager at the same time, pressed the reluctant military brass to use one of the first R-7s to put a satellite in orbit. He warned Soviet leaders that the U.S. was also developing a satellite and won the Kremlin’s permission for the launch.


While there already was a project for a full-fledged scientific satellite, Korolyov ordered his team of engineers to design a primitive orbiter to save time and beat the U.S. into space. The craft, which was built in only a few months, was named PS-1, for “Prosteishiy Sputnik” — the “Simplest Satellite.”

The satellite, weighing less than 84 kilograms (about 184 pounds) and slightly larger than a basketball, was a pressurized sphere of polished aluminum alloy with two radio transmitters and four antennas.

An earlier satellite project envisaged a cone-shape vehicle, but Korolyov opted for the sphere. “The Earth is a sphere, and its first satellite also must have a spherical shape,” he was quoted as saying.


While the rest of the world was stunned by the Soviet accomplishment, the Kremlin’s leadership seemed to be slow to grasp the scope of the event. The first official Soviet report of Sputnik’s launch was brief and buried deep inside the pages of Pravda, the Communist Party’s daily newspaper. Only two days after the launch did it come out with a banner headline and quotes of the foreign accolades.


Sputnik contained a radio transmitter, broadcasting a distinctive “beep-beep-beep” sound. Pravda published a description of Sputnik’s orbit to help people watch it pass. However, it didn’t mention that the light seen moving across the night sky was in fact the spent booster rocket’s second stage, which was in roughly same orbit as the satellite. The tiny orbiter itself was invisible to the naked eye.

Sputnik orbited the Earth for three months before burning up in the atmosphere.


Thrilled by the global furor caused by Sputnik’s launch, the Kremlin immediately ordered Korolyov to launch a new satellite to mark the Nov. 7 anniversary of the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution. His team succeeded in building a spacecraft in less than a month, and on Nov. 3 launched Sputnik 2, which weighed about 508 kilograms (1,120 pounds). It carried the world’s first passenger, a dog named Laika. While the dog died of the heat soon after the launch, the flight proved that a living being could survive in space.

On April 12, 1961, the Soviet Union made another giant leap ahead of the United States when Yuri Gagarin became the first human in space. The Soviet lead in space prompted the U.S. to pour money into research and technology. In 1969, the U.S. won the race to land the first man on the moon, while the Soviet program collapsed in a series of booster rocket explosions.


Amid the shroud of secrecy around the Soviet rocket and space program, Korolyov was never mentioned in any contemporary accounts of the launch. His key role was known only to a small circle of senior Soviet officials and space engineers.

Korolyov was only allowed to publish the non-secret parts of his research under the pseudonym “Professor K. Sergeyev,” while Leonid Sedov, a member of the Soviet Academy of Sciences with no connection to space program, was erroneously praised in the West as the Father of Sputnik.

Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev rejected the Nobel committee’s offer to nominate Sputnik’s designer for a prize, insisting it was the achievement of “the entire Soviet people.” Korolyov’s daughter, Natalia, recalled later that her father sometimes felt bitter about the secrecy. “We are like miners — we work underground,” she quoted him saying. “No one sees or hears us.”

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