Try as they might, the Russian space program is having a hard time sustaining a positive news cycle. For every small step forward, it seems they take one giant leap back. Budget cuts, program delays, and regular launch failures dog Russia’s space industry at every turn — making small victories and promises of glories still to come harder and harder to swallow.
Speaking at the Paris Air Show, Igor Komarov said he expects Roscosmos to participate in the Deep Space Gateway, NASA's concept for a crew-tended facility operating in lunar orbit.
Russia’s Proton rocket returned to service June 7, almost one year to the date from vehicle’s last flight, delivering a U.S. telecommunications satellite into geostationary transfer orbit.
Satellite fleet operator Eutelsat has paid its Russian counterpart, Russian Satellite Communications Co. (RCSS), monies overdue on a multi-year contract valued more than 400 million euros ($424 million) despite an ongoing legal battle between the Russian government and the shareholders of the former Yukos oil company.
As he prepares to leave office, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said that the agency’s relationship with its Russian counterpart remains strong despite continued, broader geopolitical tensions.
The Russian space agency, Roscosmos, on Oct. 21 gave written warning to the French government that it would take France to court in six months unless France’s Arianespace launch-service company frees up about 300 million euros ($330 million) in long-overdue payments.
Roscosmos officials said Sept. 26 they planned to reduce the size of their crew on the International Space Station next year from three to two.
An anticipated decision by Russia’s space agency to temporarily reduce the size of its crew on the International Space Station should not have a major effect on NASA’s operations there, an agency official said.
The European and Russian space agencies on May 2 said their joint ExoMars 2018 mission carrying a rover and an experiment-filled landing platform to Mars would not be ready in time and would be delayed to July 2020.
Russia’s Roscosmos, acting in its new role as a state corporation tasked with reforming Russia’s space industry, on April 19 said debt-ridden space-hardware builder Khrunichev Space Center had been provided with subsidies and loans to stabilize its accounts.
Decisions by separate French courts have removed an immediate threat to the business relationship between French and European launch-service providers and satellite fleet operators caught up in the dispute between the Russian government and the former shareholders of Russia’s Yukos energy company.
The May 29 statement by Roscosmos on the May 16 Proton rocket failure confirmed initial suspicions of a third-stage engine issue but otherwise left many questions unanswered about the failure’s origin.