Launch of Russia’s Nauka research module to orbital outpost rescheduled for July 21


MOSCOW: The launch of Russia’s Nauka multifunctional laboratory module to the International Space Station (ISS) is scheduled for July 21, Head of the State Space Corporation Roscosmos Dmitry Rogozin said.

The launch of the Nauka research module to the orbital outpost was previously scheduled for July 15.

“The delivery of a Proton-M carrier rocket with the Nauka multifunctional laboratory module for the ISS Russian segment to the Baikonur launch pad is scheduled for July 17, and the launch for July 21 while July 22 and July 23 are the backup dates,” Rogozin wrote in his Telegram channel.

As Roscosmos specified, the launch is scheduled for 5:54 p.m. Moscow time from site No. 200 of the Baikonur spaceport. The Nauka research module will travel eight days to reach the orbital outpost.

“The docking to the nadir port of the Zvezda service module is scheduled for about 4:26 p.m. Moscow time on July 29,” the space agency said.

The Nauka module will dock to the place of the Pirs module that will be sunk on July 23, it said.

“The Progress MS-17 resupply ship is scheduled to undock together with the Pirs docking compartment module, which will be replaced by the Nauka module on the ISS, on July 23 (provided that the Nauka lab is launched on July 21),” Roscosmos said.

As the Russian space agency specified, the resupply ship and the Pirs module will re-enter the dense layers of the atmosphere, and their non-combustible fragments will splash down in the non-navigable part of the Pacific Ocean four hours after the undocking.

About the Nauka module

The Nauka multi-functional laboratory module is designated for implementing the Russian program of applied research and experiments. With the launch of the Nauka research module into operation, the Russian segment of the International Space Station will get additional space for equipping workplaces, storing cargoes, and accommodating water and oxygen regeneration equipment.

The Nauka module will provide a second toilet for Russian cosmonauts (the first is located in the Zvezda module), and a room for a third crewmember. It will also use the European Robotic Arm (ERA) that will help perform some operations without spacewalks.

Space junk flies at 1.8 km distance from orbital outpost

MOSCOW: A piece of space junk flew at a distance of 1.8 km from the International Space Station (ISS), Russia’s State Space Corporation Roscosmos announced.

“According to the data of Russian specialists, an uncatalogued piece of space debris flew at a distance of 1.8 km from the International Space Station at around 4:15 p.m. Moscow time,” the statement says.

It was highly unlikely that the orbit paths of the orbital outpost and the space junk would intersect and, therefore, there was no need for the ISS to conduct an avoidance manoeuvre, the Russian space agency explained.

Roscosmos Chief Dmitry Rogozin said on Wednesday that the space object dubbed Unknown would pass by the orbital outpost at a distance of 4.8 km. He stressed that Roscosmos agreed with the US side only in the assessment of the near-miss distance.

“We do not confirm the threat and continue monitoring the situation,” he explained.

Roscosmos later specified that the minimum distance between the International Space Station and the piece of space junk that might fly close to it had narrowed to 1.5 km from its earlier predicted figure of 4.6 km.

The Russian space agency said earlier that the probability for the space debris to collide with the ISS was zero and no orbit adjustment of the station was required.

Head of the Information Analytical Center at the Central Research Institute of Machine-Building (TsNIIMash, part of the space agency Roscosmos) Igor Bakaras earlier said that Russia’s Automated Warning System of Hazardous Situations in near-Earth Space registered 220 space junk near-misses with the International Space Station in 2020.

The space station’s orbit had to be adjusted twice in 2020 to avoid a collision with space junk, he added.

Russian Soyuz-2.1b rocket with 36 British satellites blasts off from Vostochny spaceport

VOSTOCHNY COSMODROME : A Soyuz-2.1b carrier rocket with the Fregat booster and 36 British OneWeb communications satellites blasted off from the Vostochny spaceport in Russia’s Far East.
The Fregat booster with the satellites successfully separated from the carrier rocket several minutes after the launch, Russia’s State Space Corporation Roscosmos announced in a live broadcast on its website.
The Soyuz-2.1b rocket lifted off from the Vostochny spaceport at 3:48 p.m. Moscow time. It will take the booster about four hours to orbit the satellites. The satellites will separate in several stages. As a result, the British company’s orbital constellation will grow to 254 satellites.
The first six OneWeb satellites were orbited by a Soyuz-ST carrier rocket from the Kourou spaceport in French Guiana on February 28, 2019. Another 34 satellites were delivered into outer space on February 7, 2020, and the same amount on March 21 from the Baikonur spaceport.
OneWeb satellites were launched from the Vostochny spaceport for the first time in December 2020. A total of 36 space vehicles were put into orbit. After that, OneWeb satellites were launched from the Vostochny spaceport on March 25, April 26 and May 28, 2021.
OneWeb’s renewed agreement with the French Arianespace that acts as the launch operator stipulates the lift-off of 16 Russian Soyuz carrier rockets from the Kourou, Vostochny and Baikonur spaceports in 2020-2022. Each launch allows orbiting 34-36 OneWeb satellites.

Russia accomplishes deliveries of Su-35 fighter jets to China

Russia has completed the deliveries of Sukhoi Su-35 generation 4++ fighter jets to China under a contract signed earlier, Russia’s Federal Service for Military and Technical Cooperation told TASS on Tuesday.

“In compliance with the contract, all the Su-35 planes have been delivered to the foreign customer,” the Federal Service said.


China has been the first foreign buyer of Russian Su-35 fighter aircraft. The contract worth about $2.5 billion on the deliveries of 24 fighter jets to China was signed in 2015. The contract also stipulates the delivery of ground equipment and reserve engines.

Indonesia is the second foreign buyer of Russian Su-35 fighter jets. Reports emerged in early 2018 that Russia had signed a contract with Indonesia on the delivery of 11 fighters. Under the contract, Russia is due to deliver the first fighter jets to Indonesia this year. The fulfillment of the Indonesian contract ran across some difficulties related to US sanctions but a TASS source in military and diplomatic circles said these difficulties “are not critical” and should not affect the deliveries of fighter jets.

The Su-35S generation 4++ supersonic fighter jet performed its debut flight on February 19, 2008. The fighter jet is a derivative of the Su-27 plane. The Su-35S weighs 19 tonnes, has a service ceiling of 20,000 meters, can develop a maximum speed of 2,500 km/h and has a crew of one pilot. The fighter jet’s armament includes a 30mm aircraft gun, up to 8 tonnes of the weapon payload (missiles and bombs of various types) on 12 underwing hardpoints. The Su-35S has been in service with the Russian Army since 2015.

Some S-400 components may be produced in Turkey, says Russian spokesman

Some components of the S-400 air defense system may be produced in Turkey under an agreement between Moscow and Ankara, Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov told the media on Thursday, when asked if President Vladimir Putin’s remark about the possibility Russia and Turkey might cooperate in developing military technologies implied joint production of S-400 systems.

“Comprehensive production of all S-400 components is not on the agenda and it is ruled out. It’s a cutting-edge weapon system. Joint production of some individual parts is possible, though,” he said, adding that it might be arranged in Turkish territory.

After talks with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on April 8 Putin mentioned some promising prospects for military-technical cooperation, such as the export of military products to Turkey. Also, he speculated that Russia and Turkey “might well conduct joint research into and production of high-tech military technologies.”.

Putin pleads heavy upgrade of Russian space industry

Russia needs to heavily upgrade its space industry and improve the sector’s management model, Russian President Vladimir Putin said at a Security Council meeting on Tuesday.

“It is obvious that it is necessary to fundamentally modernize the rocket and space industry, introduce the modern model of managing the production process, R&D work and learn to use the results of space activity in all the spheres of our life by a factor more efficiently,” the Russian leader stressed.

The issues of improving state policy in the sphere of space activity are extremely important, the Russian leader said. Leading positions in space exploration are essential for solving national development tasks, ensuring the country’s security, its technological and economic competitiveness, Putin noted.

The Russian president believes that Russia has broad experience in developing and manufacturing space rocketry, implementing flights and large-scale scientific programs in orbit. However, Russia needs constantly to build up this potential, Putin stressed.

The Russian leader drew attention to the need to involve the space industry’s potential for solving tasks in the sphere of telecommunications, communications, transport, medicine, housing and utilities. “Building up exports is a key area,” the Russian leader pointed out.

“In expert estimates, the world space market is worth $183 billion annually and is set to further expand in coming years and decades,” he said.

Putin urged the government, the agencies concerned and the Russian space agency Roscosmos to maximally use available competitive advantages instead of marking time.

The Russian leader said it was necessary to complete Roscosmos’s reorganization and start working towards specific results, solving obvious problems that impeded the space industry’s development.

“For example, the price and time parameters projected in drafting space projects frequently lack due substantiation and, as a result, the planned timeframe is shifted while budget expenses increase. This has happened many times in recent years,” the head of state said, calling for more active efforts to remove restraining factors.

Russia, CERN inks new cooperation agreement

An agreement on scientific and technological cooperation in high energy physics and other areas of mutual interest between the Russian government and the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) was signed by the chief delegates to meeting of the Russia-CERN committee in Geneva on Tuesday, Russia’s Education and Science Ministry has told TASS.

“On April 15-16, 2019 the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN, Geneva, Switzerland) hosted another meeting of the Russia-CERN committee. The chief delegates put their signatures to an agreement on scientific-technological cooperation in the field of high energy physics and other areas of mutual interest between the government of Russia and CERN,” the report says.

Russia’s Science and Higher Education Minister Grigory Trubnikov led the Russian delegation at the talks. The host party was represented by CERN leadership under the organization’s Director-General Fabiola Gianotti. The agreement is called to furnish a modern groundwork for wider cooperation between Russia and CERN. A new agreement had to be signed because the previous ones was outdated in some respects.

Russian Academy of Sciences, Chinese scientists to create Arctic research center

The Russian Academy of Sciences,Institute of Oceanology and the Chinese Qingdao National Laboratory for Marine Science and Technology signed an agreement to create a Russian-Chinese Arctic research center, which will serve as the basis for the joint research conducted by both countries in the Arctic, the Russian Institute of Oceanology’s press service reported on Wednesday.

The agreement was officially signed on April 10 at the 5th International Arctic Forum in St. Petersburg.

“The establishment of such a center will take the bilateral scientific cooperation between Russia and China to a new level. We will be able to jointly plan and realize large projects including joint Arctic expeditions and hold active innovative dialogue in researching mineral and biological resources of the ocean to preserve the unique underwater ecosystems,” the statement cites acting Director of the Institute Alexey Sokov.

Scientists agreed to carry out joint research projects in the Arctic, including experiments aboard the research vessels of the Institute of Oceanology, and the evaluation of the climate, geological and bio-geo-chemical processes and changing trends in the region’s ecosystem. Based on the statement, this research work will make it possible to predict the ice cover situation on the Northeast Passage (NEP) and shape recommendations to ensure ecologically balances development of the Arctic territories.

Leading experts of the research centers in Russia and China are expected to be involved in the work of the new joint center.

St. Petersburg is hosting the Arctic: Territory of Dialogue 5th International Arctic Forum on April 9-10. ‘The Arctic. An Ocean of Opportunities’ is this year’s theme at the forum. Roscongress is the official organizer, while TASS is a primary information partner and the official photo hosting provider.

Putin sanctions design of Moscow-St. Petersburg high-speed railway

Russian President Vladimir Putin has approved the start of designing a high-speed railway line between Moscow and St. Petersburg, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

“The president has really approved the start of designing such a line, it was an initiative of [interim governor of St. Petersburg Alexander] Beglov together with Russian Railways,” he said.

Earlier, Vedomosti newspaper reported that the design of the highway between the two capitals had begun.

Speaking about the grounds for the project’s approval, Peskov mentioned the need to connect the two largest cities in the country with high-speed rail links.

“Increasing the speed of this connection by an extra hundred kilometers [per hour] will accelerate the circulation of economic life along these railway “capillaries” in general,” the Kremlin representative added.

According to Peskov, the final decision on the Moscow-Kazan high-speed railway has not been made yet.

“No final decision has been taken, the work will be continued to clarify the economic feasibility, economic opportunities, timing, and so on,” he said.