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Moscow suspends the launch of the Soyuz aircraft carrier.  Tensions come into space

Moscow suspends the launch of the Soyuz aircraft carrier. Tensions come into space

Europe is suspending all Soyuz launches, both from the European Space Center in Kourou in French Guiana operated by Arianespace, and those from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan operated by Starsem. The rift between Western countries and Putin’s Russia is deepening, even in space. Details here

The Russian invasion of Ukraine affected space as well. In fact, Roscosmos unilaterally decided to cancel all Soyuz launches from bases in French Guiana and Kazakhstan, suspending carrier launches operated by Arianespace and Starsem.

In a tweet, the Russian Space Agency announced that at the Kazakh base, a Soyuz rocket carrying 36 satellites of the OneWeb communications constellation, which was scheduled to be launched today, has been removed from the launch pad. The launch of the Russian carrier from the Kourou spaceport in French Guiana and the Russian Baikonur space base in Kazakhstan are subject to a series of intergovernmental agreements between France and Russia and between the European Space Agency (ESA) and Roscosmos, agreements signed immediately after the collapse of the Soviet Union with the new Russian state. Arianespace has managed the technical operations for the launches from Guyana and by Starsem for those in Kazakhstan, through mandates granted by the European Space Agency.

Soyuz conveyor

With nearly 2,000 flights under its belt since its debut in 1966, the Soyuz is the world’s most widely used launchpad. In fact, the first manned capsule was put into orbit on April 23, 1967, and since then many missions have been completed, including those of bringing astronauts aboard the International Space Station after the retirement of the US space shuttle in 2011. From 2007 Joining the launch pads used by the European Space Agency, it made its first flight in 2011 with two satellites of the Galileo programme, the European Union’s Global Navigation Satellite System (Gnss).

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spatial tensions

A few days ago, in response to the sanctions, Moscow had already decided to withdraw its participation in joint space projects. Consequently, the ExoMars mission, which was already in the final testing phase, was postponed before the expedition to Kazakhstan scheduled for this month. In fact, the European Space Agency and Roscosmos were preparing to launch the Rosalind rover on the Red Planet, scheduled for this summer, which seems highly unlikely given the current situation. The tensions emerging at the geopolitical level in Eastern Europe could have repercussions not only in the exploration of Mars, but also in the Russian role as a partner for the International Space Station (ISS). Not only that, yesterday, the German space agency, DLR, announced the cessation of all cooperation activities with Russian institutions on planned and ongoing projects, another evidence of the split that also appeared in the fourth hegemony between the West and Russia. Russian President Vladimir Putin Which finds itself more and more isolated.

European response

Europe is losing an airline but preparing for the next two Ariane and Vega campaigns planned for this year yields according to plan. In fact, everything is ready for the inaugural launch of the Vega C and Ariane 6 (which will replace their predecessors Ariane 5 and Vega), which are scheduled for launch respectively in May and the second half of 2022. Form a new generation of European airlines that will have to guarantee the continent The ancients have sustained and independent access to the orbits, and also to compete with both American champions and the rise of Beijing. On the topic was too Intervened space expert Marcelo Spagnolo On Airpressemphasizing the concept and noting that “in the face of the current crisis and even assuming it occurs within a few months, it may be appropriate for Europe to focus well on its strategy, both commercial and technological, in the launch pads for the next decade, ten years.”

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(Photo: NASA, Bill Ingalls)