On July 4, a medium launch vehicle Soyuz-FG integrated with the first new-series manned transportation spacecraft Soyuz MS was rolled out of the processing facility and erected on the launch pad of Area 1 (“Gagarin’s launch pad”) of the Baikonur cosmodrome.
Specialists of RSC Energia and other organizations involved in the preparations for launch are performing the final processing operations on the launch pad. Pre-launch tests are being run on systems and assemblies of the space launcher system, interfaces between the onboard hardware and ground support equipment are being checked out. The payload fairing of the launch vehicle carries, along with the name of the upgraded spacecraft, the anniversary inscription “70 years of RSC Energia”.
The launch of the first new-series manned spacecraft Soyuz MS with the crew of the next expedition to the ISS is scheduled for 04:36 Moscow Time on July 7.
The main crew includes a Roscosmos cosmonaut Anatoli Ivanishin, a JAXA astronaut Takuya Onishi and a NASA astronaut Kathleen Rubins. The backup crew consists of Oleg Novitsky (spacecraft commander, Roscosmos), Thomas Pesquet (flight engineer, ESA) and Peggy Whitson (flight engineer-2, NASA).
The manned transportation spacecraft Soyuz MS, developed and built by RSC Energia, is designed to deliver the crews of up to three and their accompanying cargoes to the International Space Station (ISS), as well as to return them to Earth. When attached to the ISS, it also serves as a crew rescue vehicle and is kept permanently ready for emergency crew return to Earth.
The new-series spacecraft Progress MS and Soyuz MS were developed as a result of a radical upgrade of Progress M and Soyuz TMA spacecraft. The onboard command radio system Kvant-B was replaced with an integrated command and telemetry system with an additional telemetry channel. The new command radio link will make it possible to receive signals via relay satellites Luch-5, which will significantly increase the radio coverage zone for the spacecraft – up to 70% of an orbit. The spacecraft are equipped with an advanced onboard radio system for rendezvous and docking Kurs-NA. As compared with an earlier model, Kurs-A, it has improved mass and dimensions parameters and makes it possible to remove from the spacecraft hardware configuration one of the three radio antennas. Instead of the analog TV system Klyost, the spacecraft use a digital TV system, which makes it possible to maintain communications between the spacecraft and the station via a space-to-space RF link. Also included into the onboard equipment of the Soyuz MS and Progress MS series spacecraft to replace the equipment that is being phased out of production is a new Digital Backup Loop Control Unit developed by RSC Energia, an upgraded Rate Sensor Unit BDUS-3A and a LED headlight SFOK. Thanks to the use of new ground and onboard radio systems, it became possible to use state-of-the-art data transmission protocols, which resulted in improved operational stability of spacecraft control system.
Most of the engineering solutions incorporated into the design of Soyuz MS and Progress MS spacecraft will be used in the design of the new-generation Crew Transportation Spacecraft, which is currently under development at RSC Energia. (Energia/Business World Magazine)