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.
A Soyuz spacecraft returning three people to Earth in April experienced a partial loss of pressure during the final stages of its descent, but did not put the crew’s lives in danger.
Astro Digital has confirmed that two satellites it launched as secondary payloads on a Soyuz rocket in July have failed, joining several other satellites that mysteriously failed on that mission.
Satellite operator SES has selected Arianespace to launch a fifth set of O3b satellites as well as a large geostationary orbit communications satellite, the companies announced Sept. 12.
An executive with the company that provided launch services for more than 70 satellites launched on a Soyuz in July said there is no evidence that the failure of several of those satellites was caused by the rocket.
Dauria Aerospace has been unable to establish contact with the two MKA-N cubesats launched in July aboard a Soyuz rocket.SpaceNews has learned that two additional cubesats are not responding to commands from their operators; two others are not in their intended orbits.
Despite the ongoing development of a fleet of small launch vehicles, both launch providers and customers continue to see demand for flying small satellites as secondary payloads on larger rockets.
Russian company Glavkosmos is seeking to become a major player in the small satellite launch market, with plans to launch up to 120 satellites as secondary payloads on three Soyuz missions this year.
Arianespace launched a Soyuz rocket May 18 from Europe’s space center in French Guiana, carrying the electrically propelled SES-15 satellite to geostationary transfer orbit.
ASI said it will launch a Cosmo-Skymed radar satellite from French Guiana, co-manifested with ESA's Cheops exoplanet satellite.
European launch provider Arianespace completed its first launch of the year Jan. 27, orbiting the first SmallGEO satellite for Spanish satellite operator Hispasat.