samedi 28 décembre 2013

Successful launch of Soyuz-2.1V with AIST student-built microsatellite & SKRL 756 calibration spheres



Was commissioned ILV Soyuz-2.1V The program has been fully implemented

 Artist's view of the Soyuz-2.1V launch

28 December at 16.30 Moscow time from the launch complex of the platform 43 from the Plesetsk cosmodrome starting calculations Forces Aerospace Defense with the participation of specialists of rocket-space industry Russia conducted a successful launch (ILV) Soyuz-2.1V with block removal (BV) Volga and SC Stork.

Soyuz-2.1V & AIST & microsatellite & SKRL 756 calibration spheres, at the launch-pad

After separation from the regular second stage of the launch vehicle (LV) head unit comprising SC Stork and block elimination continued autonomous flight. Inferring the spacecraft to the target orbit was performed by operating the propulsion unit excretion.

At 18.10 MSK spacecraft nominally separated from BV Volga on the target orbit.

Payloads description

Soyuz-2 Phase 1B-two-stage booster easy class, developed by FSUE SRP TsSKB Progress (Samara). Designed to launch satellites with launch complexes LV Soyuz-2. Booster developed on the basis of Soyuz-2 Phase 1B, with the removal of the side blocks, install the central unit of the engine NK - 33A engine and steering RD0110R ( development of "KBKhA"). Second stage unit borrowed from the block with completion stage 3 Soyuz-2 stage 1B . With the Soyuz-2.1V, a block elimination Volga.

Soyuz-2.1V at the launch-pad description

A Russian government Soyuz 2-1v rocket with a Volga upper stage will launch with the AIST student-built microsatellite and SKRL 756 calibration spheres. The Soyuz 2-1v rocket and Volga upper stage will be making their first flight. The new rocket is a smaller version of the Soyuz launch vehicle without strap-on boosters.

AIST student-built microsatellite

Spacecraft Stork developed by the Samara State Aerospace University. Korolev and FSUE "SRP" Samara Space Center. SC is designed for educational, scientific, technical and experimental problems working out means of measuring the geomagnetic field and compensation microgravity environment on board. SC weight-50 kg.

ROSCOSMOS Press Release:

Images, Text, Credits: Roscosmos press service / ROSCOSMOS / Gunter's Space / Translation: Aerospace.


vendredi 27 décembre 2013

Station Cosmonauts Complete Spacewalk to Deploy Cameras

ISS - Expedition 38 Mission patch / ROSCOSMOS - Russian Federation Cosmonaut Flag patch.

Dec. 27, 2013

Two Russian cosmonauts in Orlan spacesuits wrapped up a 8-hour, 7-minute spacewalk to attempt the installation of photographic equipment on the exterior of the International Space Station at 4:07 p.m. EST Friday. 

Commander Oleg Kotov and Flight Engineer Sergey Ryazanskiy promptly completed the main objective of Friday’s spacewalk -- the installation of a pair of high-fidelity cameras as part of a Canadian commercial endeavor designed to downlink Earth observation imagery – but had to remove them later due to an unspecified problem that prevented telemetry from being received on the ground by Russian flight controllers.

As planned, Kotov and Ryazanskiy attached the two cameras on a combination biaxial pointing platform and spacewalk workstation that was installed on the Zvezda service module during a spacewalk on Nov. 9. Kotov and Ryazanskiy also installed a foot restraint to the workstation.

Image above: Flight Engineer Rick Mastracchio captured this view of spacewalkers Oleg Kotov and Sergey Ryazanskiy working outside the International Space Station and posted it to Twitter. Image Credit: NASA.

After routing data and telemetry cables for the medium resolution camera, Kotov jettisoned the cable reel opposite of the station’s direction of travel for disposal.

When the flight control team at the Russian Mission Control Center outside Moscow did not see the expected telemetry and electrical connectivity from the medium and high resolution cameras, Kotov and Ryazanskiy were directed to remove the cameras and return them to the airlock for further analysis.  The spacewalkers also were instructed to take detailed photographs of the electrical connectors mated earlier for additional review.

 ISS Russian Spacewalkers Run Into Snag With Camera Installation

In addition to their work with the two cameras, the spacewalkers also removed the Vsplesk experiment package and jettisoned it. Vsplesk, installed during an Expedition 17 spacewalk in July 2008, was designed to monitor seismic effects using high-energy particle streams in the near-Earth environment. Kotov and Ryazanskiy replaced it with  hardware for a more sophisticated earthquake-monitoring experiment, Seismoprognoz, which they attached to a Zvezda handrail.

Because of the issue in activating the cameras, Kotov and Ryazanskiy did not have time to complete the all of their planned tasks, which included the jettisoning of a frame that once held three Micro-Particles Capturer and Space Environment Exposure Device (MPAC & SEED) units for a Japanese space exposure study and the installation of a payload boom.

Image above: Spacewalkers Oleg Kotov and Sergey Ryazanskiy remove the high resolution camera they installed earlier during Friday's spacewalk. Image Credit: NASA.

Friday's spacewalk eclipsed the record for the longest Russian spacewalk set by Expedition 36 Flight Engineers Fyodor Yurchikhin and Alexander Misurkin, who conducted a 7-hour, 29 minute excursion on Aug. 16.

With the completion of his fifth spacewalk, Kotov now has 30 hours and 43 minutes of total spacewalking time.  Ryazanskiy has a total of 13 hours and 57 minutes over his two spacewalks.

This was the 177th spacewalk in support of space station assembly and maintenance, totaling 1,115 hours, 44 minutes, and the 11th spacewalk this year.

Image above: This graphic shows the locations of the six Expedition 38 crew members during Friday's Russian spacewalk. Image Credit: NASA TV.

During the spacewalk, Flight Engineer Mike Hopkins was restricted to the Poisk module and the Soyuz TMA-10M craft that brought him, Kotov and Ryazanskiy to the complex in September. The remaining three crew members – Flight Engineers Rick Mastracchio, Koichi Wakata and Mikhail Tyurin – had access to the Zarya module and the entirety of the U.S. segment of the station.

Friday’s Russian spacewalk was not related to a recent pair of U.S. spacewalks to replace a faulty ammonia coolant pump module.  Flight controllers in Houston’s Mission Control successfully restarted the new pump Tuesday night following two spacewalks – including a 7-hour, 30-minute excursion Tuesday -- by Mastracchio and Hopkins to replace a degraded pump module on the station’s starboard truss. That pump module continues to operate well.

For more information about the Space Station (ISS), visit:

Images (mentioned), Video, Text, Credit: NASA / NASA TV.


jeudi 26 décembre 2013

New Pump Module Working Well; Station Crew Preps for Russian Spacewalk

ISS - Expedition 38 Mission patch.

Dec. 26, 2013

With a new ammonia pump module installed during a Christmas Eve spacewalk operating properly, the International Space Station’s Expedition 38 crew spent Thursday cleaning up U.S. spacesuit systems and tools and completing preparations for an unrelated Russian spacewalk on Friday.

Flight controllers in Houston’s Mission Control successfully restarted the new pump Tuesday night following two spacewalks – including a 7-hour, 30-minute excursion Tuesday -- by Flight Engineers Rick Mastracchio and Mike Hopkins to replace a degraded pump module on the station’s starboard truss.

Image above: Flight Engineers Rick Mastracchio and Mike Hopkins work with spacesuits and spacewalk equipment of the International Space Station's Quest airlock Thursday. Image Credit: NASA TV.

Read more about the Dec. 24 spacewalk:

Read more about the Dec. 22 spacewalk:

Early on Christmas Day, the heat exchangers for the Destiny laboratory, the Harmony and Tranquility nodes and the Japanese Kibo laboratory were reintegrated to enable experiments racks and other systems affected by the partial Cooling Loop A shutdown Dec. 11 to come back on line. The Columbus laboratory heat exchanger will remain down until the European Space Agency, at its own request, conducts that module’s integration next week when personnel return from the holiday.

Mastracchio and Hopkins began their Thursday with a round of post-spacewalk medical exams conducted by Flight Engineer Koichi Wakata, who served as the robotics operator for the two spacewalks.

Afterward, Mastracchio and Hopkins focused on scrubbing the cooling loops and refilling the water tanks of the spacesuits they wore Tuesday. The suits functioned perfectly during the spacewalk, remaining dry throughout the excursion. 

Image above: NASA astronaut Mike Hopkins participates in the first Expedition 38 spacewalk designed to troubleshoot a faulty coolant pump on the International Space Station. Image Credit: NASA.

The completion of the spacewalk and the successful restart of the ammonia pump module clears the decks for Commander Oleg Kotov and Flight Engineer Sergey Ryazanskiy to conduct their own 7-hour spacewalk Friday out of the Pirs docking compartment. Their work is not related to the two U.S. spacewalks to replace the faulty ammonia coolant pump.

Kotov and Ryazanskiy, in Russian Orlan spacesuits, will exit the Pirs airlock at 8 a.m. EST Friday to install a pair of high-fidelity cameras on the Zvezda service module as part of a Canadian commercial endeavor designed to downlink Earth observation imagery. The two spacewalking cosmonauts also will refresh several experiment packages on the exterior of the Russian segment of the station.

Russian Spacewalk at Space Station

Kotov and Ryazanskiy spent Thursday preparing equipment inside the Pirs airlock and later joined Flight Engineer Mikhail Tyurin for a final review of spacewalk procedures.

NASA Television will air live coverage of Friday’s spacewalk beginning at 7:30 a.m. This will be the 177th spacewalk in support of space station assembly and maintenance, and the 11th this year.


For more information about the Space Station (ISS), visit:

Images (mentioned), Video, Text, Credit: NASA / NASA TV.

Best regards,

Proton-M with the Express-AM5 was launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome



Proton-M & Express-AM5 spacecraft on the launch-pad

December 26, 2013 at 14.49.56 Moscow time from the launch complex of the platform 81 Baikonur cosmodrome starting calculations of rocket - space industry Russia, the launch of a space rocket (RKN) "Proton-M with the upper stage (RB) Breeze-M intended for injection into the target orbit of the Russian telecommunications spacecraft (SC) Express-AM5.

Proton-M & Express-AM5 spacecraft Launch

At 14.59 MSK (Moscow time) head unit comprising RB Breeze-M and Express-AM5 cleanly separated from the third stage of the launch vehicle. Further removal of the spacecraft to the target orbit at the expense of the propulsion system booster.

Express-AM5 communication satellite

 Express AM5 is a civil communications satellite for the Russian Satellite Communications Co.

Images, Video, Text, Credits: Roscosmos press service / ROSCOSMOS / Gunter's Space / Translation: Aerospace.


mercredi 25 décembre 2013

Rockot launch vehicle lifted off


Dec. 25, 2013

Rockot launch

Rockot launch vehicle lifted off from Site 133/3 at the Plesetsk Cosmodrome, Russia at 0:31 UTC on Wednesday, December 25 carrying three Rodnik military communication satellites to Low Earth Orbit as part of the maintenance and modernization of the Strela constellation of low-orbiting communication satellites used by the Russian Ministry of Defense. Launch confirmation was reported by Ria Novosti.

Rodnik military communication satellite

Confirmation of mission success came later on Wednesday after the successful release of the three satellites into their planned high-inclination orbit at an altitude of ~1,500 Kilometers.

Images, Text, Credits: ROSCOSMOS / Zvezda TV / Catherine Laplace-Builhe.

Greetings & Merry Christmas,

mardi 24 décembre 2013

Spacewalkers Complete Installation of Ammonia Pump Module

ISS - Expedition 38 Mission patch / EVA- Extra Vehicular Activities patch.

Dec. 24, 2013

Spacewalkers Rick Mastracchio and Mike Hopkins completed a second spacewalk to install a spare ammonia pump module. The U.S. Quest airlock began repressurization at 2:23 p.m. EDT Tuesday signaling the official end of their spacewalk.

Tuesday’s main tasks included the removal and installation of a spare pump module. The first task was to remove the spare pump module from the space station’s External Stowage Platform-3. After that was completed, the module was bolted to the S1 truss and connected to Loop A of the station’s external Active Thermal Control System.

Image above: Rick Mastracchio (left) and Mike Hopkins (right) are assisted by the rest of their Expedition 38 crew mates after the completion of their Dec. 24 spacewalk. Image Credit: NASA TV.

Hopkins attached himself to the Canadarm2 and took a ride to the worksite. Mastracchio tethered himself to the station and translated to the S1 truss to assist his partner. Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata operated the Canadarm2 from inside the Destiny laboratory.

While doing the connection work, the duo demated ammonia fluid lines from a jumper box that enabled ammonia flow during the repair spacewalks. After experiencing some difficulty disconnecting a fluid line the spacewalkers reported seeing ammonia flakes escaping a valve. As a precaution, mission controllers asked the spacewalkers to inspect their spacesuits for possible ammonia contamination. Once they were back in the Quest airlock the duo conducted more ammonia decontamination procedures on their spacesuits. All four fluid lines were successfully reconnected to the newly installed pump module restoring ammonia flow.

Image above: Astronaut Mike Hopkins rides the Canadarm2 carrying the 780-pound ammonia pump module as the International Space Station flies over South America. Image Credit: NASA TV.

Afterward, Hopkins and Mastracchio completed electrical connections to the pump module. Power was successfully restored to the ammonia pump module. However, flight controllers will perform more tests before restarting the pump and returning it to full functionality.

NASA Conducts Second Spacewalk to Fix Coolant Pump on ISS

The duo was originally scheduled to finish the installation work on Monday before mission controllers detected a spacesuit configuration issue at the end of Saturday’s spacewalk, in which the spacewalkers removed a faulty pump that experienced a problem with its internal flow control valve Dec. 11.

The suspect pump was removed from the starboard truss and parked in a temporary location on the station’s Mobile Base System rail car where it can stay until at least next June. Managers decided an extra day of preparation was necessary to get a backup spacesuit ready for Mastracchio.

Image above: Astronaut Mike Hopkins prepares to attach himself to a foot restraint on the Canadarm2 outside the International Space Station. Image Credit: NASA TV.

Read more about the spacesuit configuration issue:

Read more about Saturday’s spacewalk:

The Christmas Eve spacewalk lasted seven hours and 30 minutes. This was the 176th spacewalk in support of space station assembly and maintenance. Mastracchio holds 51 hours and 28 minutes spacewalking time over eight spacewalks. Hopkins holds 12 hours and 58 minutes over two spacewalks.

For more information about the Space Station (ISS), visit:

Images (mentioned), Video, Text, Credit: NASA / NASA TV.

Best regards & Merry Christmas,

lundi 23 décembre 2013

Cassini Sees Saturn and Moons in Holiday Dress

Cassini Mission International patch.

Dec. 23, 2013

Painted Lines on an Ornament

Image above: The globe of Saturn, seen here in natural color, is reminiscent of a holiday ornament in this wide-angle view from NASA's Cassini spacecraft. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute.

This holiday season, feast your eyes on images of Saturn and two of its most fascinating moons, Titan and Enceladus, in a care package from NASA's Cassini spacecraft. All three bodies are dressed and dazzling in this special package assembled by Cassini's imaging team.

The new images are available online at: and .

"During this, our tenth holiday season at Saturn, we hope that these images from Cassini remind everyone the world over of the significance of our discoveries in exploring such a remote and beautiful planetary system," said Carolyn Porco, Cassini imaging team leader, based at the Space Science Institute, Boulder, Colo. "Happy holidays from all of us on Cassini."

'Tis the Season

Image above: Winter is approaching in the southern hemisphere of Saturn and with this cold season has come the familiar blue hue that was present in the northern winter hemisphere at the start of NASA's Cassini mission. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute.

Two views of Enceladus are included in the package and highlight the many fissures, fractures and ridges that decorate the icy moon's surface. Enceladus is a white, glittering snowball of a moon, now famous for the nearly 100 geysers that are spread across its south polar region and spout tiny icy particles into space. Most of these particles fall back to the surface as snow. Some small fraction escapes the gravity of Enceladus and makes its way into orbit around Saturn, forming the planet's extensive and diffuse E ring. Because scientists believe these geysers are directly connected to a subsurface, salty, organic-rich, liquid-water reservoir, Enceladus is home to one of the most accessible extraterrestrial habitable zones in the solar system.

Lakes Through the Haze

Image above: Using a special spectral filter, the high-resolution camera aboard NASA's Cassini spacecraft was able to peer through the hazy atmosphere of Saturn's moon Titan. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute.

Packaged along with Saturn and Enceladus is a group of natural-color images of Saturn's largest moon, Titan, highlighting two of Titan's most outstanding features. Peering through the moon's hazy, orange atmosphere, the Cassini narrow-angle camera spots dark, splotchy features in the polar regions of the moon. These features are the lakes and seas of liquid methane and ethane for which the moon is renowned. Titan is the only other place in the solar system that we know has stable liquids on its surface, though in Titan's case, the liquids are ethane and methane rather than water. At Titan's south pole, a swirling high-altitude vortex stands out distinctly against the darkness of the moon's un-illuminated atmosphere. Titan's hazy atmosphere and surface environment are believed to be similar in certain respects to the early atmosphere of Earth.

But the planet that towers over these moons is a celestial wonder itself. The north and south poles of Saturn are highlighted and appear drastically different from each other, as seen in new natural-color views. The globe of Saturn resembles a holiday ornament in a wide-angle image overlooking its north pole, bringing into view the hexagonal jet stream and rapidly spinning polar vortex that reside there. And the planet's south pole, now in winter, looking very different than the springtime north, displays brilliant blue hues, reminiscent of a frosty winter wonderland.

Frozen in Time

Image above: NASA's Cassini captures a still and partially sunlit Enceladus. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute.

"Until Cassini arrived at Saturn, we didn't know about the hydrocarbon lakes of Titan, the active drama of Enceladus' jets, and the intricate patterns at Saturn's poles," said Linda Spilker, the Cassini project scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. "Spectacular images like these highlight that Cassini has given us the gift of knowledge, which we have been so excited to share with everyone."

Launched in 1997, Cassini has explored the Saturn system for more than nine years. NASA plans to continue the mission through 2017, with the anticipation of much more groundbreaking science and imagery to come.

The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the Cassini-Huygens mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. The Cassini orbiter and its two onboard cameras were designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The imaging team consists of scientists from the U.S., England, France, and Germany. The imaging team is based at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colo.

More information about Cassini is available at: and

Images (mentioned), Text, Credits: NASA / JPL / Jia-Rui Cook / Space Science Institute / Steve Mullins.


Phobos - Glorious grooves

ESA - Mars Express Mission patch.

Dec. 23, 2013

Glorious grooves

The innermost moon of Mars, Phobos, is seen here in full 360 degree glory. The images were taken by the High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) on ESA’s Mars Express at various times throughout the mission’s 10 years.

The moon’s parallel sets of grooves are perhaps the most striking feature, along with the giant 9 km-wide Stickney impact crater that dominates one face of the 27 x 22 x 18 km moon.

The origin of the moon’s grooves is a subject of much debate. One idea assumes that the crater chains are associated with impact events on the moon itself.

Moon of Mars, Phobos by ESA's Mars Express

Another idea suggests they result from Phobos moving through streams of debris thrown up from impacts 6000 km away on the surface of Mars, with each ‘family’ of grooves corresponding to a different impact event.

Mars Express has imaged Phobos from a wide range of distances, but will make its closest flyby yet on 29 December 2013, at just 45 km above the moon.

Although this is too close to take images, gravity experiments will give insight into the interior structure of Phobos.

For more information about ESA's Mars Express Mission, visit:

Image, Video, Text, Credits: ESA / DLR / FU Berlin (G. Neukum).