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PLANNED RUSSIAN SPACE MISSIONS IN 2018:
Postponed from Sept. 25, 2017: A Zenit-3SLBF/Fregat-SB rocket to launch the Spektr-RG X-ray observatory. (As of April-June 2014, the launch was postponed from March 26, 2016, to 2017. By the end of 2015, the launch was planned on Sept. 25, 2017.).
Beginning of 2018: A Soyuz-ST rocket to fly its fourth mission with a quartet of O3b satellites from the Soyuz launch facility in Kourou, French Guiana. An Arianespace's contract for the mission announced on Dec 14, 2015, also included a "firm option" for a fifth Soyuz launch in 2018 or later.
February: Soyuz-2 (ST)/Fregat rocket to launch the European MetOp-C meteorological satellite from the ELS complex in Kourou, French Guiana. The mission was first announced on Sept. 10, 2010, with the launch then expected in the last quarter of 2016. Built by Astrium, the Metop-C satellite will weigh 4,250 kg at launch. It will be fitted with a dozen instruments designed to take atmospheric measurements (pressure, humidity, temperature, ozone concentration, etc.) at different altitudes, and to map temperatures and wind fields on the ocean surface.
First quarter: A Rockot booster to launch the Sentinel-3B remote-sensing satellite from Plesetsk. As of January 2014, the Rockot booster was expected to launch Sentinel-2B satellite in April 2016, however that payload was later swapped with Sentinel-3B, which was originally slated to go up on the European Vega rocket. (The mission was postponed from 2017)
Beginning of 2018: Russia to launch Kanopus-VM No. 1 satellite.
Fourth quarter: A Proton-M/Briz-M rocket to launch from Baikonur with a pair of satellites built by Orbital ATK: Eutelsat-5 West-B and the first Mission Extension Vehicle, MEV-1. The Eutelsat-5 West B satellite is based on Orbital ATK's GEOstar platform and carries communications payload developed at Airbus Defense and Space. During its ride to orbit on the Proton, Eutelsat-5 West-B will be stacked on top of the MEV-1 satellite. The two-launch agreement between Eutelsat and the International Launch Services, ILS, which markets Proton rockets to comercial customers, was announced on October 12, 2016. The deal also included the first order for the yet-to-be developed Proton-Medium rocket to carry an unidentified payload for Eutelsat in 2019 or 2020. The agreements for both launches were pre-arranged in a preliminary deal between ILS and Eutelsat, first announced in October of 2015.
After 2017: Soyuz rockets to launch SAR-Lupe-2 observation satellites. (As of September 2012)
End of 2018: Soyuz-2-1b rocket to launch an eight-ton OKA-T-MKS No. 1 (52KS) free-flyer module from Vostochny to be serviced from ISS during its five-year mission. The spacecraft would be used for research in the field of nanoelectronics, alloys, composite materials and biotechnology. (459) The launch was originally planned for 2015, however by fall 2011, it had to be postponed to 2017-2018, due to lack of potential customers. (521) In April 2013, the launch was promised at the end of 2018. (634)
End of 2018: A Proton-M rocket to launch the Yamal-601 satellite for Gazprom Space Systems, a division of the largest Russian oil and natural gas producer. According to original deal struck in 2014, the Yamal 601 satellite, weighing over 5,700 kilograms, was to be built by Thales Alenia Space on the flight proven Spacebus-4000 platform. The mission marked the second Russian company switching from domestic communications satellite developers to foreign suppliers. Previously, Russian Satellite Communications Company, RSCC, also gave contracts to non-Russian satellite producers.
However after the events in Crimea later that year, the contract was re-written to base the project on the platform developed at ISS Reshetnev in Russia, while leaving the communications payload to be supplied by Thales.
The satellite will be launched into geostationary transfer orbit and has an anticipated service lifetime of 15 years. Yamal 601 satellite will replace Yamal 202 and will provide fixed communications and transmission services in C-band over Europe, the Middle East, Northern Africa and South-East Asia from the orbital position at 49 degrees East longitude. This satellite is also designed for development of business in Ku- and Ka-bands in the Russian market.
The International Launch Services, ILS, a US-based company that markets the Proton rocket to commercial customers, announced the contract for the launch of Yamal-601 on Jan. 22, 2014, promising the launch in February 2016.
In July 2016, Moscow-based Sberbank provided Gazprom with five lines of credit totaling 22 billion rubles for the development of the Yamal-601 satellite, its ground infrastructure, its launch and insurance.
By April 2017, the mission slipped to the end of 2018.
2018: A Proton-M/Briz-M rocket to launch the Ekspress-AMU3 and Ekspress-AMU7 communications satellites from Baikonur. (The launch was originally planned in 2016, but by the beginning of 2015, the mission was postponed to 2018.)
Read (and see) much more about the history of the Russian space program in a richly illustrated, large-format glossy edition:
This page is compiled by Anatoly Zak; Last update: June 13, 2017
Page editor: Alain Chabot; Last edit: April 30, 2011
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An artist rendering of the Node Module (right). Click to enlarge. Copyright © 2015 Anatoly Zak
The Spektr-RG satellite. Copyright © 2010 Anatoly Zak
The Arktika satellite could be based on the Elektro weather-forecasting satellite. Credit: Roskosmos