Site news

Site map

Testimonials

About this site

About the author

Mailbox


ADVERTISE


SPONSOR


TRENDS AND DIRECTIONS IN SPACE IN 2007

Pushing brakes on lunar plans?

Published: 2007 Jan. 17

Russian space agency, Roskosmos, poured cold shower on the lunar dreams of its main contractor in the manned space flight Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2007, as the agency itself struggled to formulate its space policy in the next decade. In the unusual statement entitled "On the Episodes of Lunatism," Roskosmos publicly reprimanded the head of RKK Energia, Nikolai Sevastyanov for advertising his concept of lunar exploration as it was approved by the federal government.

"It is regrettable that the head of the flagship of the national manned space program presents untried technical ideas, far removed from approved engineering decisions and technologies, as they were the direction, which the federal government had taken in the national space policy," Roskosmos said.

Since its appointment as the head of RKK Energia in 2005, Sevastyanov made a number of optimistic statements in the press about the possibility of sending Russian cosmonauts to the Moon and even establishing a permanent lunar base there. He advertised the lunar settlement as a possible mining site for Helium-3, an exotic chemical, which could power thermonuclear reactors on Earth – a far-fetched and very controversial concept itself.

"Roskosmos, along with other interested organizations and institutions works on determining strategy for the development of the national space program, including  manned space flight. However it is too early to talk about the existence of national decisions on the exploration of the Moon and other planets," the agency’s statement concluded.

Although RKK Energia’s compaign promoting lunar exploration generated considerable publicity in the Russian press and abroad, Russian space agency provided no money for the effort, and repeatedly said it could not afford to do so in the near future. At the end of 2005, RKK Energia also suffered a major setback on the international stage, when the European Union refused to join the development of the Kliper mini-shuttle, which RKK Energia considered to be the first step in the creation of a transport system from the Earth to the Moon.

Instead, in the summer of 2006, European and Russian space agencies agreed to consider upgrading the veteran Soyuz spacecraft, (also built by RKK Energia) for possible missions around the Moon. However there was little public information available on the state of the project since then, and many observers criticized Roskosmos for the lack of vision.     

In the meantime, across the Atlantic, NASA’s own lunar plans, which is believed to be exerting considerable influence on space programs in Russia and Europe, faced a new series of budgetary hurdles. Such climate was hardly encouraging for Roskosmos to make ambitious declarations about its goals in space.

Russian space agency's irritation with the "free-thinking" leadership at RKK Energia could also come from the agency’s perceived image crisis. Unlike NASA, Roskosmos has no extensive network of field centers, which manage space projects and conduct extensive research and development work. Instead, Russian space agency relies in all its practical work on industrial conglomerates, like RKK Energia, which often see the agency as nothing more than a bureaucracy distributing government money. Not surprisingly, Russian space industry sometimes appeals directly to the government and general public, bypassing its parent agency’s clumsy public relations apparatus.


MILITARY SPACE | CHINA

2007: Year of Chinese Killer Satellite

Published: 2007 Jan. 20

China started its own year in space in 2007, demonstrating an impressive capability to shut down enemy satellites in space. According to the Aviation Week and Space Technology magazine, quoting US officials, the anti-satellite missile lifted off from the Xichang site on January 11, 2007, lofting a "kill vehicle," which then directly impacted and destroyed a functioning Chinese satellite.

It was apparently a fourth launch of the system and its first success, giving China the capability, which only the US and the Soviet Union demonstrated at the height of the Cold War. It was also a poke in the eye of the US military space doctrine, which was released in August 2006 and which confidently stated that the Pentagon asserts a right to "…freedom of action in space, " and promised to "…deter others from either impeding those rights or developing capabilities intended to do so."

As Western media focused on Washington, looking for the reaction to the Chinese challenge, there was another place where the cloud of debris from the destroyed satellite likely produced quite a fallout. One can only imagine a meeting in Kremlin, where Russian military space officials asked Vladimir Putin to increase their share of country’s oil dollars, which they could invest into the national anti-satellite system.

The official Russian reaction to the news was mixed and ranged from skepticism that the test ever took place expressed by Minister of Defense Sergei Ivanov on one side and the claim that the Chinese anti-satellite was based on the Soviet IS system, at least according to a retired Col. Gen. Leonid Ivashov, the former head of the Russian Defense Ministry's international military cooperation department.

However what is certain is Russia’s own capabilities to build and deploy anti-satellite weapons. With China emerging as a military space power, the White House threatening to "deny, if necessary, adversaries the use of space capabilities hostile to U.S. national interests," and the Russian military budget ballooning during the past few years, it is just logical for the Kremlin to renew its interest in "killer satellites."


ORBITAL LAUNCH ATTEMPTS IN 2007:

  Country Launch date
Time of launch
Payload
Launch vehicle
Launch site
Launch complex
Launch pad
Launch results
1 India 1/10/2007
03:53 GMT

Cartosat 2/
Space Capsule Recovery Experiment

PSLV
Sriharikota


Success
2 China 1/11/2007
5:28 p.m. EST
Anti-satellite (ASAT) payload
DF-21-derived?
Xichang
-
-
Success; destroyed Feng Yun 1C satellite
3 Russia 1/18/2007
02:12 GMT

Progress M-59

1
5
Success
4 International 1/30/2007
23:22 GMT
NSS-8
Zenit-3SL
-
-
Exploded on pad
5 China 2/2/2007
16:28 GMT
Beidou
Chang Zheng 3A
Xichang
-
-
Success
6 US 2/18/2007
6:01 pm
THEMIS-1
THEMIS-2
THEMIS-3
THEMIS-4
THEMIS-5
Delta II
Cape Canaveral
17
B
Success
7 Japan 2/24/2007
04:41 GMT
IGS radarsat
IGS optical
H-2A
Tanegashima
Yoshinobi
-
Success
8 US 3/8/2007
10:10 pm
STPSat-1
CFESat
FalconSat-3
MidSTAR-1
Atlas-5 (AV-013) V-401
Cape Canaveral
41
-
Success
9 ESA 3/11/2007
22:03 GMT
Skynet 5A
INSAT 4B
Arine 5 ECA
ELA-3
3
Success
10 US 3/21/2007
0110 GMT
Separation demo ring
Falcon 1
Omelek Island
-
-
Failed to reach orbit
11 Russia 4/07/2007
21:31:14 Moscow Time
Soyuz FG
1
5
Success
12 Russia 4/09/2007
02:54:00 Moscow Summer Time
Anik F3
Proton M/Breeze M
39
Success
13 China 4/11/2007
03:27 GMT
Haiyang 1B
Chang Zheng 2C
Taiyuan
-
-
Success
14 China 4/13/2007
20:11 GMT
Beidou/Compass(?)
(navsat)
Chang Zheng 3A
Xichang
-
3
Success
15 Russia 4/17/2007
06:46 GMT

Egyptsat-1
Saudisat-3
Saudicomsat-3
Saudicomsat-4
Saudicomsat-5
Saudicomsat-6
Saudicomsat-7
CP-4
AeroCube 2
CSTB1
MAST
CP-3
CAPE1
Libertad-1  

-
Success
16 US 4/24/2007
06:48 GMT
NFIRE
Minotaur 1
Wallops Island
-
-
Success
17 US 4/25/2007
06:48 GMT
AIM
Pegasus XL
Vandenberg AFB
Air launched from L-1011
-
Success
18 ESA 5/4/2007
22:29 UT
Astra 1L
Galaxy 17
Arine 5 ECA
ELA-3
3
Success
19 Russia 5/12/2007
03:25:38 GMT

Progress M-60

1
5
Success
20 China 5/14/2007
16:01 GMT
NIGCOMSAT 1
Chang Zheng 3B
Xichang
-
-
Success
21 China 5/25/2007
15:12 Beijing Time

Yaogan II
Zhejiang University's 1-kg piko-satellite Zheda Pixing

Chang Zheng 2D
Jiuquan
-
-
Success
22 Russia 5/30/2007
00:31 Moscow Time

GlobalstarGlobalstar Globalstar
Globalstar

Soyuz FG
6
Success
23 China 5/31/2007
16:08 GMT

Sinosat 3

Chang Zheng 3A
Xichang
-
3
Success
24 Russia 6/7/2007
18:00 GMT

Kosmos-2427

?
?
Success
25 US 6/7/2007
7:34 p.m. PDT

COSMO 1

Delta 2 (7420)
Vandenberg AFB
SLC-2W
2W
Success
26 US 6/8/2007
7:38:04 p.m. EDT

Atlantis STS-117/13A

Space Shuttle (STS)
KSC
39
A
Success
27 Israel 6/10/2007
23:40 GMT
Ofek-7
Shavit
Palmakhim
-
-
Success
28 Russia 6/15/2007
02:14 GMT
TerraSAR-X
Baikonur
-
Success
29 US 6/15/2007
15:04 GMT
NROL-30 (Two NOSS Navy ELINT?)
Atlas 5 (AV-009)
Cape Canaveral
41
-
Failed to reach proper orbit
30 Russia 6/28/2007
19:02 Moscow
Genesis-2
-
-
Success
31 Russia 6/29/2007
14:00 Moscow
-
Success
32 Russia 7/2/2007
23:38:41 Moscow Time
SAR-Lupe 2
Cosmos-3M
1
Success
33 Russia 7/7/2007
05:16 Moscow
DIRECTV-10
Proton-M/Briz-M
-
Success
34 Russia 8/2/2007
17:33:48 Moscow

Progress M-61

1
5
Success
35 US 8/4/2007 05:26:34 EDT
Phoenix
Delta II (7925)
Cape Canaveral
17
A
Success
36 US 8/8/2007 18:36 EDT
Endeavour STS-118
Space Shuttle
Cape Canaveral
39
A
Success
37 ESA 8/14/2007 23:44 GMT
SPACEWAY 3
BSAT-3a
Ariane 5 ECA
ELA
3
Success
38 India 9/2/2007 12:50 GMT
INSAT 4CR
GSLV
Sriharikota
-
-
Success
39 Russia 9/5/2007
22:43 GMT
39
Failure
40 Russia 9/11/2007
17:05 Moscow Time
Cosmos (Parus)
-
-
Success
41 Japan 9/14/2007
10:31:01 JST
KAGUYA (SELENE)
H-IIA F13
Tanegashima
-
-
Success
42 Russia 9/14/2007
15:00 Moscow Time
Foton-M No. 3
1
Success
43 US 9/18/2007 14:35 EDT
WorldView 1
Delta II (7920)
Vandenberg AFB
SLC-2W
W
Success
44 China 9/19/2007
03:26 GMT

CBERS 2B

Chang Zheng 4B
Taiyuan
-
-
Success
45 US 9/27/2007
11:34 GMT

Dawn

Delta II Heavy
Cape Canaveral
17
B
Success
46 ESA 10/5/2007
22:02 UT
Intelsat 11
Optus D2
Ariane 5 GS
ELA-3
3
Success
47 Russia 10/10/2007
17:22 Moscow Time
Soyuz-FG
1
5
Success
48 US 10/10/2007 8:22 p.m.
First Wideband Global SATCOM
Atlas 5 (AV-011)
Cape Canaveral
41
-
Success
49 US 10/17/2007 8:23 a.m. EDT (12:23 GMT)
GPS 2R-17
Delta 2 (7925)
Cape Canaveral
17
A
Success
50 Russia 10/21/2007
00:12 Moscow Time

GlobalstarGlobalstar Globalstar
Globalstar

Soyuz-FG
6
Success
51 Russia 10/23/2007
08:39 Moscow Time

Kosmos-2430 (Oko)

Molnia-M
Plesetsk
-
-
Success
52 US 10/23/2007
11:38 a.m. EDT
Discovery STS-120
Space Shuttle
Cape Canaveral
39
A
Success
53 China 10/24/2007
-
Chang’e-1
Chang Zheng 3A
Xichang
-
3
Success
54 Russia 10/26/2007
11:35:24 Moscow Time
24
Success
55 Russia 11/1/2007
03:51 Moscow Time
SAR-Lupe 3
Cosmos-3M
1
Success
56 US 11/10/2007
8:50 p.m. EST
DSP 23
Delta 4-Heavy
Cape Canaveral
37
B
Success
57 China 11/12/2007
6:48 Beijing Time
Yaogan 3
Chang Zheng-4C
Taiyuan
-
-
Success
58 ESA 11/14/2007 22:06 UT
Skynet 5B
Star One C1
Ariane 5 ECA
ELA
3
Success
59 Russia 11/18/2007
04:39 local time
SIRIUS 4
Proton-M/Briz-M
39
Success
60 US 12/8/2007
9:31 p.m. EST
COSMO 2
Delta 2 (7420)
Cape Canaveral
2
W
Success
61 Russia 12/9/2007
00:16 UTC
Kosmos-2434 (Globus)
Proton-M/Briz-M
81
24
Success
62 US 12/10/2007
5:05 p.m. EST
NROL-24 (comsat)
Atlas-5 (AV-015)
Cape Canaveral
41
-
Success
63 Russia 12/14/2007
16:17
RADARSAT-2
Soyuz-FG
6
Success
64 US 12/20/2007
3:04 p.m. EST
GPS 2R-18
Delta 2 (7925)
Cape Canaveral
17
A
Success
65 ESA 12/21/2007
21:42 GMT
Rascom-QAF 1
Horizons 2
Ariane 5 GS
ELA-3
3
Success
66 Russia 12/23/2007
10:12:41 Moscow Decree Time

Progress M-62

1
5
Success
67 Russia 12/25/2007
22:32 Moscow Decree Time
-
Success

The 2007 space launch score card:

Country
Total launches
Failures
Russia:
26**
1
US:
19***
2
China
10*
0
ESA:
6
0
India:
2
0
Japan:
2
0
Israel
1
0
Sea Launch:
1
1
Totals
67
4

*Includes anti-satellite weapon test launch

**Does not include Sea Launch

***Includes "private" Falcon launch


Canceled missions

Delayed from the end of second quarter: A Zenit-3SLB to launch PAS 11 (Star-2) for PanAmSat from Baikonur. (Contract announced on July 28, 2005). Switched to the Ariane-5 rocket and successfully launched in 2007.


Next year: 2008


This page is maintained by Anatoly Zak; last update: October 27, 2009

 

In 2006, Russia and Europe made the Soyuz ACTS concept the focus of future cooperative plans in the manned space program. Copyright © 2006 Anatoly Zak


The IS interceptor dives toward its target in this artist rendering. At least one Russian official said the Chinese killer satellite is based on the IS vehicle. Copyright © 2001 Anatoly Zak


India came closer to launching its man in space, with a successful test flight of a retrievable capsule in January 2007. Credit: ISRO


A spectacular explosion of the Zenit-3SL rocket on the launch pad in the Pacific Ocean concluded dramatic developments in space in January 2007. Credit: Sea Launch


Earthrise by Kaguya

Reminicent of the Space Race era, breathtaking views of the Earth from the Moon came in 2007 from Japan's Kaguya spacecraft. They became the most vivid symbol of the coming rennaissance in lunar exploration and the best reminder of the new players in the 21st century space program. Credit: JAXA


CZ-5 rocket

China flexed its muscles in space, announcing ambitious plans to build a heavy-lift Chang Zheng 5 rocket by 2013. Click to enlarge. Copyright © 2005 Anatoly Zak