Russia launches two telecoms satellites

A Proton-M carrier rocket with two telecommunications satellites onboard blasted off from the Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan on Sunday, Russia’s space agency Roscosmos spokesman said.

«The separation of Russia’s Luch-5A spacecraft is scheduled for 00:11 on Monday [20:11 GMT Sunday], while Israel’s Amos-5 satellite will separate at 00.52 Moscow time [20.52 GMT],» the spokesman said.

The Luch-5A satellite will provide communications with the Russian segment of the International Space Station.

Israel’s AMOS-5 will join the satellite grouping of AMOS-2 and AMOS-3 to provide various satellite services to customers in the Middle East, Central and Eastern Europe, Central Asia and Africa. Equipped with 18 C-band and 16 Ku-band transponders, the satellite has a life span of 15 years.

Russia to launch two telecoms satellites on Sunday

A Proton-M carrier rocket with two telecommunications satellites onboard will blast off from the Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan on Sunday.

“The Proton launch is scheduled for 15:17 Moscow time [11:17 GMT] on Sunday,” a source in Russia’s space agency Roscosmos said.

The separation of Russia’s Luch-5A spacecraft is scheduled for 00:11 on Monday [20:11 GMT Sunday], while Israel’s Amos-5 satellite will separate some 40 minutes later.

The Luch-5A satellite will provide communications with the Russian segment of the International Space Station.

Israel’s AMOS-5 will join the satellite grouping of AMOS-2 and AMOS-3 to provide various satellite services to customers in the Middle East, Central and Eastern Europe, Central Asia and Africa. Equipped with 18 C-band and 16 Ku-band transponders, the satellite has a life span of 15 years.

Hit-and-missile: think tank speculates on Iran blast

Two weeks after a powerful explosion at a military installation near Tehran claiming the lives of 17 people, a Washington-based think tank has released satellite images showing extensive damage to the site, likely to have been caused by the blast.

­The Institute for Science and International Security, (ISIS) a research group, which specializes in studies of nuclear weapons and related technology, has posted two commercial satellite images of the Iranian military compound on its website.  

One was taken approximately two months before the November 12th explosion. The other was taken 10 days after the blast and shows that some of the buildings appear to have been destroyed and some debris could be seen strewn about on the ground.

Paul Brannan, a Senior Research analyst for the ISIS however suggests that some of the destruction seen in the image may have also resulted “from subsequent controlled demolition of buildings and removal of debris.” But he concludes that most of the damage seen in the later image “likely resulted from the explosion.” He explains it by a lack of “heavy equipment such as cranes or dump trucks on the site, and a considerable amount of debris still present.”

“About the same number of trucks are visible in the image after the blast as in an image from approximately two months prior to the blast,” he claims.

Brannan also states that “ISIS learned that the blast occurred as Iran had achieved a major milestone in the development of a new missile. Iran was apparently performing a volatile procedure involving a missile engine at the site when the blast occurred.” Brannan quotes no sources for this information on the website, but The Washington Post later said the senior research analyst had obtained it from the “knowledgeable officials”.

Iranian officials maintain the blast was the result of an accidental explosion at an ammunition depot. However some reports suggested that the blast, which killed Brigade General Hassan Moghaddam and 16 others, may have been an act of sabotage.

Russia’s Glonass-M satellite put into orbit

Russia sent another Glonass-M navigation satellite into orbit on Monday, said Alexei Zolotukhin, spokesman of Russian Space Forces.

The Soyuz carrier rocket with the satellite on board was launched from the Plesetsk space center earlier in the day.

Mission control specialists have been holding a steady connection with the satellite, Zolotukhin said. The satellite’s onboard systems are operating normally.

The Glonass-M will augment a group of 30 Glonass satellites already in orbit. This was the last launch of a Glonass satellite this year.

Glonass is Russia’s answer to the U.S. Global Positioning System, or GPS, and is designed for both military and civilian uses. Both systems allow users to determine their positions to within a few meters.

Russia’s Glonass system currently has 23 operational satellites, while a total of 24 is needed to provide global coverage.

On November 4, three reserve Glonass-M satellites were launched from the Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan after three Glonass-Ms were destroyed in a failed launch last year.

Glonass-M satellite prepared for Monday’s launch

Staff of the Plesetsk space center in Russia’s northwest have prepared a Soyuz carrier rocket with a Glonass-M navigation satellite for Monday’s launch.

“On Friday the Soyuz 2.1B carrier rocket with the Glonass-M spacecraft was taken to the launch pad. The blastoff will take place as scheduled, on November 28,” space forces spokesman Col. Alexei Zolotukhin said.

Monday’s launch will be second this month and the final for the Glonass project this year.

On November 4, Russia launched a Proton-M rocket carrying three Glonass navigation satellites from the Baikonur space center after the failed launch last year which destroyed three Glonass-Ms.

Glonass is Russia’s answer to the U.S. Global Positioning System, or GPS, and is designed for both military and civilian uses. Both systems allow users to determine their positions to within a few meters.

Russia currently has a total of 27 Glonass satellites in orbit, although only 23 of them are operational.

The complete Glonass grouping needs 24 functioning and 2-3 reserve satellites to operate with global coverage.

Russia launches last Glonass-M satellite of 2011

A Russian Soyuz carrier rocket with a Glonass-M navigation satellite on board was launched from the Plesetsk space center on Monday, Russian Space Forces spokesman Alexei Zolotukhin said.

The launch of the Glonass, which will augment a group of 27 similar satellites already in orbit, took place on schedule at 12:25 Moscow time (08:25 GMT), Zolotukhin said.

This is the fifth and the last launch of a Glonass satellite this year.

On November 4, three reserve Glonass-M satellites were launched from the Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan after three Glonass-Ms were destroyed in a failed launch last year.

Glonass is Russia’s answer to the U.S. Global Positioning System, or GPS, and is designed for both military and civilian uses. Both systems allow users to determine their positions to within a few meters.

A Glonass satellite launched on October 3 completed the grouping of 24 functioning satellites needed to provide global coverage.

 

Russian president warns space officials over failures

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has threatened to punish officials responsible for recent failures in the space industry.

“The latest failures [in space industry] seriously harm Russia’s competitiveness,” Medvedev told regional reporters on Saturday. “This means that we need to conduct a serious analysis and punish those responsible.”

He suggested that the punishment could be doled out either in the form of heavy fines or, if the guilt is obvious, in the form of disciplinary or even criminal penalties.

The Russian aerospace industry has faced a series of misfortunes over the last 11 months. In December, 2010, a Proton-M booster rocket failed to put three Glonass-M satellites into orbit.

The launch of a Rokot booster rocket carrying a military geodesic satellite Geo-IK-2 ended in failure in February.

After the first two mishaps, a number of senior space industry officials were fired and Roscosmos’s chief, Anatoly Perminov, was forced to resign.

However, the problems persisted as the aerospace industry failed to manufacture the planned number of spacecraft and incidents with the launches continued.

On August 18, a Russian Proton-M rocket lost a prized Express-AM4 satellite that was designed to provide digital television and secure government communications for Siberia and the Far East.

One week after the Express-AM4 went off course, a Soyuz-U booster malfunctioned, preventing the Progress M-12M cargo spacecraft from reaching orbit. Its debris fell in south Siberia’s Altai Republic.

The most recent accident involves the Phobos-Grunt interplanetary probe, which has been stuck in a low-Earth orbit after a successful launch on November 9 and would probably never be recovered.

The loss of Glonass satellites alone cost the state 4.3 billion rubles ($152.2 million).

Nokia to be first to use Russia’s Glonass navigation system in its phones

Finland’s Nokia, the world’s largest mobile phone producer, is to be the first international manufacturer to use Russia’s satellite navigation system, Glonass, in its phones and software platforms, national navigation services provider NIS Glonass said on Friday.

Glonass is Russia’s answer to the U.S. Global Positioning System, or GPS, and is designed for both military and civilian use. Russian Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov has said that the government might impose import customs duties for foreign products with GPS navigation systems without Glonass support from 2012.

Under a memorandum of mutual understanding signed by the two companies, Nokia plans to adapt the Russian system to the company’s products not only for the Russian market but also for international markets.

“Signing the memorandum with Nokia provides conditions for the mass introduction of Glonass technologies in Russian and foreign consumer markets. We will develop and maintain Glonass services for car and mobile phone owners together with Nokia,” NIS Glonass General Director Alexander Gurko was quoted in the company’s statement as saying.

U.S. Apple and South Korea’s Samsung, key mobile market giants, have said that their newest touch-screen smartphones, Apple iPhone 4S and Samsung Galaxy Note, would have Glonass support.

 

Chukotka whalers get new boats, satellite navigation from government

Whalers from Russia’s Far East have received new boats and Glonass satellite navigation equipment under a state support program for native peoples, a regional administration spokesman said.

The move is an expansion of the broader state initiative to introduce in Russia Glonass, a satellite navigation system rivaling the U.S. Global Positioning System (GPS). In a move to edge out the U.S. rival, Russian authorities want Glonass sets be installed in all public transportation and have recently increased import tariffs on GPS devices including iPads.


“The Levadia steamboat brought a large batch of equipment for marine hunters of two Chukotka districts, the traditional centers of marine mammal hunting,” a spokesman for the agricultural department of the Chukotka Autonomous District’s administration said.

Hunters received eight large motor boats, rescue equipment, Glonass satellite navigation vessel-tracking systems and fuel. Another delivery is expected in late November.

Hunting grey whales has been banned in Russia since 1947. Russia’s northeasternmost Chukotka Peninsula is the only region in Russia where whaling is permitted to encourage traditional activities and preserve the ethnic identity and cultural heritage of the region’s indigenous peoples.

So far eight communities, employing about 320 people, are hunting whales and other marine mammals in the region. This year hunters killed 117 whales and 2,906 walruses and seals.

Their activities are supported by the four-year state program with a total budget of 378.2 million rubles ($12.3 million) allocated from the federal and district budgets. The deliveries under the program began in 2010.

Apart from receiving subsidies from the state, native whalers are provided with fuel and various types of equipment, including boats and off-road vehicles. The state also gives them equipment for communications, rescue and navigation.

Russia’s new AWACS plane enters service

A modernized A-50U airborne warning and control system (AWACS) aircraft entered service with the Russian Air Force on Monday, an AF spokesman said.

The aircraft has an advanced onboard computer, satellite communication and radar systems, Col. Vladimir Drik said.

It now has the capability to detect various types of flying targets, including helicopters, cruise missiles and supersonic aircraft, he said.

The Beriev A-50, based on the Ilyushin Il-76 transport, first flew in 1978. It entered service in 1984, with about 40 produced by 1992.

The A-50 can track up to 10 fighter aircraft for either air-to-air intercept or air-to-ground attack missions.

 

German satellite did not crash in Russia – official

The debris of a defunct German satellite that plummeted to Earth early on Sunday did not fall on Russian territory, spokesman for the Russian Space Forces Col. Alexei Zolotukhin said on Monday.

 

“As the experts from our Space Monitoring Center predicted, the fragments of the ROSAT satellite that did not burn up in the atmosphere fell to Earth at about 5:08 a.m. Moscow time [01:08] GMT on Sunday, but they did not hit Russia,” Zolotukhin said.

 

He added that the center monitored the changes in ROSAT’s path for the last 30 days and corrected the estimates of the satellite’s fall accordingly.

 

There have been no reports so far as to where the debris has fallen.

 

Calculations based on U.S. military data indicate that up to 30 fragments weighing a total of 1.87 metric tons may have crashed somewhere east of Sri Lanka over the Indian Ocean, or even as far inland as China.

 

The German space agency DLR earlier said the chances of ROSAT debris injuring anyone on the ground were approximately one in 2,000.

 

ROSAT was put into orbit in 1990 and retired in 1999 after performing an all-sky survey of X-ray sources in search for black holes and neutron stars.

 

German satellite to strike Earth Saturday night

MOSCOW, October 22 (RIA Novosti) – Parts of Germany’s x-ray telescope ROSAT are to crash to Earth on Saturday night, the country’s DLR space agency has reported.

According to specialists following satellites falling from space, ROSAT is presently located at 170 kilometers above the Earth’s surface and some 30 pieces weighing around 1.6 tons will strike the surface along an 80-kilometer-wide path somewhere between Germany’s capital of Berlin and Russia’s city of Samara.

The satellite will begin hitting the surface between 10:00 p.m. Moscow time [18:00 GMT] on Saturday and 4:00 p.m. Moscow time [12:00 GMT] on Sunday.

ROSAT, put into orbit in 1990 and weighing a total 2.4 tons, is one of the last “heavyweight” satellites launched in the 1990s by NASA. The last to fall to the Earth’s surface was the U.S. Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS) that weiged 6.5 tons and hit Earth on September 24.

The German x-ray satellite’s mirrors, optics, and instruments have excellent protection against overheating and will not burn up when entering the atmosphere.

The chances of satellite debris injuring anyone on the ground are approximately 1:2,000; whereas with the UARS satellite, it was 1:3,200.

Soyuz launch from Kourou delayed one day

The first ever launch of a Russian Soyuz-ST space rocket from the European Space Agency’s Kourou launch site in French Guiana has been delayed until Friday.

The rocket, which had been due to launch at 2:34 p.m. Moscow time, is due to deliver a satellite for the European Galileo satellite navigation system.

 

GLONASS’s immense budget to crack American GPS

Russia is to spend $11 billion on its brand new GLONASS navigation system, hoping to make it as good as American rival GPS.

The plan is to cover the whole planet with GLONASS, which requires more satellites to be launched. This year alone, seven of them are scheduled to reach the Earth’s orbit.

The developers also hope to narrow the satellite’s precision from two meters to seventy-eighty centimeters.

“Currently, GPS is a bit better,” Vitaly Poltoratsky, head of System Solutions Department at M2M Telematics, told RT. “The development of the GLONASS satellite group and more sophisticated devices on the ground will enable the system to be fully competitive by 2015.”

Despite optimistic forecasts, GLONASS system has encountered numerous problems since it was launched. In December 2010, three satellites did not manage to reach orbit, which cost the Russian Space Agency billions in damages and the head of the agency his position.

The increased cash injection is expected to help the specialists prevent such episodes.

The GLONASS program was launched in the mid-1970s and was fully operational in 1995, just two years behind the American GPS. However, by 2001 there were only six satellites left from the minimum 24 that are necessary, and while GPS receivers were used in air carriers to civilian airliners to every car and smart phone, GLONASS was trying to fund a replacement.

Since then, Russia has developed the second generation of satellites for the system named GLONASS-M.

Compared to the outdated version, it lasts much longer (seven years against three, which explains how the system degraded so fast in the first place), is 40 per cent more powerful and allows for better accuracy. The first prototypes of the GLONASS-M were tested in space in 2003, while the first “true” second-generation satellite was launched in 2005.

At the moment, Russia is testing an even better version, GLONASS-K, with the first satellite already in orbit. The third generation is being developed to be compatible with GPS and the future European Galileo navigation.

Space industry workers’ negligence caused Russian spacecraft loss

Negligence by space industry enterprises’ employees was the reason for the loss of an Experss AM-4 telecommunications satellite and Progress M-12M space freighter earlier this year, Russian Prosecutor General’s Office spokeswoman Marina Gridneva said on Tuesday.

“Both incidents were the result of negligence by employees of state space industry enterprises subordinate to [Russian space agency] Roscosmos, [negligence] during control procedures, as well as the absence of proper control by Roscosmos of decision-making by authorized persons,” Gridneva said.

On August 18, a Russian Proton-M rocket lost the Express-AM4 satellite that was designed to provide digital television and secure government communications for Siberia and the Far East. The satellite failed to separate from the carrier rocket and could not reach its designated orbit.

Six days later, the Progress M-12-M freighter fell in south Siberia after failing to separate from the Soyuz-U booster as a result of a rocket engine failure. The cost of the lost spacecraft production is estimated at 650-700 million rubles ($21-22 million).

The accidents triggered serious concerns about the state of Russia’s space industry, prompting the country’s authorities to order massive checks into the production and operation of spacecraft.

The Prosecutor General’s Office has proposed introducing criminal punishment for employees of commercial organizations found guilty of causing serious damage to the country’s space industry, Gridneva said.

The Prosecutor General’s Office has also demanded that those responsible for the loss of the Express and Progress spacecraft are fined and reprimanded.

ISS could be used for satellite assembly until 2028

The service life of the International Space Station (ISS) may be extended until 2028, a Russian space official said on Tuesday.

The service life of the ISS ends in 2015 but participants of the project – Canada, the European Union, Japan, Russia and the United States – have recently agreed to extend its operation until at least 2020.

“At present, experts have been instructed to find ways to extend the station’s service life until 2028,” Alexei Krasnov, the head of Roscosmos manned spaceflight programs, told the participants of the Space Forum 2011.

The orbital station could be used as an assembly line and a launch pad for experimental spacecraft, including small satellites, he said.

“These are going to be small-size satellites, but we will be able to launch them from the ISS to a variety of orbits,” Krasnov said.

NASA earlier called the ISS “an anchor for the future of human space exploration” and a major component of the U.S. human space program.

 

Russian scientists want to join Europe’s ExoMars mission

Russian scientists want to join European Space Agency’s ExoMars (Exobiology on Mars) mission to study the Red Planet, a leading Russian space researcher said.

“From the scientific point of view such mission would be of great interest to us, it would boost our own Mars research,” said Oleg Korablyov, deputy chief of the Space Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

The ExoMars program to send a satellite to Mars in 2016 and a robot rover two years later was run jointly by NASA and ESA. NASA later said it would cut its participation in the project and will not provide its Atlas carrier for the launch.

“The European agency has been left with a satellite in production, but without a spacecraft to launch it and payload to install on it,” Korablyov said.

The Russian scientist said that without NASA the orbital spacecraft – ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter – was left almost without scientific equipment to fulfill its mission of detecting low-concentration gases in the planet’s atmosphere. NASA was to supply all measuring equipment for the project, except for the NOMAD spectrometer.

By studying the presence of low-concentration gases in Mars atmosphere, scientists hope to detect traces of geological and, possibly, biological activity.

Korablyov praised the European spacecraft as “advanced” and “built according to high standards.” He also said the spacecraft could later be used in Russia’s Mars Net project to create a network of meteorological stations on Mars.

“It could be a bargain and a tangible step towards Mars Net,” he said.

ESA chief Jean-Jacques Dordain invited Russia to take part in the project at a meeting with Roscosmos head Vladimir Popovkin in early October. The European Space Agency council decided to start talks with Russia on the possible use of Russia’s Proton spacecraft for the launch.

ESA Director of the Science and Robotic Exploration Alvaro Gimenez said ESA was ready to consider all possible variants of Russia’s participation in the project.

“Everything is open for discussion,” he said in a BBC interview on Friday.

Russia sets priorities for federal space program

The Russian space agency Roscosmos has prioritized commercial use of its satellites as part of the federal space program until 2015.

“By 2015, we are planning to increase the number of Earth observation satellites [in orbit] from five to 20, operational Glonass navigation satellites from 24 to 30, communications and Cospas-Sarsat satellites from 26 to 48,” Roscosmos head Vladimir Popovkin told Russian lawmakers on Friday.

Popovkin said Russia occupied only 3 percent of the commercial services segment of the global space market while conducting 40 percent of global space launches annually.

“Therefore, we have reviewed priorities of the federal space program. One of our new priorities is Earth monitoring, weather and communication satellites. Another priority is space science,” he said.

Russia currently has a total of 28 Glonass satellites in orbit, although only 23 of them are operational.

Popovkin said the Glonass satellite grouping will start providing global coverage in a month, when a recently launched Glonass-M satellite becomes fully operational.

 

Navigation satellite Glonass-M sent into orbit

Navigation satellite Glonass-M sent into orbit

Published: 03 October, 2011, 03:57
Edited: 03 October, 2011, 10:24

(RIA Novosti / Andrey Morgunov)

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The booster Soyuz-2.1b, carrying a Global Navigation Satellite System (Glonass) satellite, was successfully launched from the Plesetsk spaceport and put into orbit. Space Troop teams monitored the launch through the ground automated control system.

“The launch of the booster and the orbiting of the satellite passed as scheduled,” a spokesman for the Russian Space Troops, Aleksey Zolotukhin, told Itar Tass on Monday. “The satellite Glonass-M was put under control at 3:55 a.m. Moscow time.”

The satellite weighs 1,415 kilograms and is expected to serve for seven years.

More Glonass launches are scheduled for this year. A Proton-M rocket with a Briz-M booster will launch a Glonass-M trio from Baikonur on November 4, while a Soyuz-2-1B rocket with a Fregat booster will bring another Glonass-M into orbit from Plesetsk on November 22.

The Glonass satellite constellation consists of 24 space vehicles, evenly distributed in three orbital planes. Satellites operate in circular orbits at altitudes of 19,100 kilometers. This configuration permits uninterrupted global coverage of the Earth’s surface and terrestrial space by the navigation field.

Data from NIS Glonass

The Global navigation satellite system Glonass is intended for determining location, speed and exact time by military and civilian users.

The system will provide continuous year-round global navigation support globally regardless of weather conditions. The system is available to a vast number of users on the Earth’s surface and at elevations of up to 2,000 kilometers.

The first Glonass test flight took place in October 1982, and by 1993 the Glonass system was brought into operational testing. In 1995 the full orbit group of 24 satellites was formed. However, a reduction in funding in 1990 for Russia’s space industry led to a deterioration of the Glonass project.

In 2002, the Russian government approved a number of policy documents, including the “Global Navigation System” federal program, which brought new life and funding to the navigation system.

According to Russia’s Federal Space Agency, the main difference between Glonass and GPS is the signal and its structure. The GPS system uses code-division channeling. Glonass uses frequency-division channeling. Also, Glonass satellites’ motion is described as using fundamentally different mathematical models.

While Glonass consists of 24 satellites, GPS can be fully functional with 24 satellites but is currently using 31 of them.

02.10, 23:10

3 comments

Today: 06:52



Nay Lin Maung
October 03, 2011, 04:20

Do we see space war in the Sky or not?

 

 

 

Firefighters battle 9 large forest fires in East Siberia

Firefighters are battling nine large-scale forest fires on a total area of 107 hectares in the Irkutsk Region in East Siberia, the Russian forestry Service said on Sunday.

“According to satellite data, wildfires referred to the category of large-scale forest fires have been revealed in the Irkutsk Region,” the service said.

Over 161 people and 31 units of firefighting machinery are involved in combating the raging wildfires, the service said.

Police in the city of Bratsk in the Irkutsk Region have opened criminal cases in the wake of wildfires that recently covered the city with thick smoke. The wildfires have caused the resignation of the acting head of the Bratsk administration, Alexander Tuikov and led to the concentration of harmful substances in the air exceeding normal levels.

By Sunday most of the wildfires near Bratsk have been extinguished. Police have detained 20 people on suspicion of deliberate arson in forests near Bratsk.

Wildfires across Russia are common during dry and hot summers and in the fall. Most fires start because of the careless behavior of local residents.

Forest fires devastated a number of regions in central Russia last year, killing 62 people and leaving thousands homeless.