Russia wants to exchange 36 hijacked satellites for Soyuz missiles

Russian Soyuz rockets have been used to launch OneWeb satellites from France Guyana.

The Russian space agency may be willing to return 36 satellites it has been holding hostage in Kazakhstan in exchange for parts of its Soyuz rockets held in French. Guyana.

according to Report By Russian Space Network, French aerospace company Arianespace may be looking into a deal with Roscosmos to swap components for a Russian Soyuz rocket for 36 OneWeb satellites maintained At the launch site in Kazakhstan since March. A source reports to Russian Space Web that Yuri Borisov, the newly appointed head of Roskosmos, is open to negotiations with Arianespace.

Arianespace and OneWeb did not immediately respond to our request for confirmation of the Russian Space Network report. We’ll update this post if we hear back.

under the rudder Former Roscosmos chief Dmitry RogozinThe space agency cut ties with Europe in response to the sanctions imposed by the West against Russia. This included an ongoing deal with Britain’s OneWeb to launch its internet satellites to orbit aboard Soyuz rockets. OneWeb refused to approve a file List of unreasonable demands Roscosmos filed them in March, prompting Russia to keep and store 36 of the company’s satellites indefinitely at its launch facility in Baikonur, Kazakhstan. OneWeb at last They established new partnerships With SpaceX and the Indian Space Agency launching its remaining satellites into orbit, its thirty-six single satellites have remained elusive.

Roscosmos too to stop It cooperated with Europe over the launch of Soyuz missiles from French Guiana and withdrew 87 employees from the launch site. But with the end of Russian involvement in French Guiana, Soyuz rocket components were left abandoned, as Anatoly Zak writes on the Russian Space Network website:

On orders from Roscosmos chief Dmitry Rogozin, dozens of Russian specialists were abruptly withdrawn from French Guiana in early March 2022, leaving behind missile stages, containers containing fuel, support devices and documentation. Paris-based Arianespace, which has contracted with Roskosmos to provide and support Soyuz launches with European and most non-Russian commercial payloads, has kept the equipment stored until its expected return to Russia. However, due to a severe breakdown in diplomatic relations and economic activities between Europe and Moscow, Russian equipment remained in French Guiana for the rest of 2022.

With Russia gone from French Guiana, the The European Space Agency is heading to the US company SpaceX To launch the next Euclid telescope into orbit instead of launching it aboard a Soyuz rocket.

After Rogozin is removed from his position at Roscosmos, the space agency could take a more diplomatic approach to its space partnerships. But it may take some time. The source of the Russian Space Network said that some logistical obstacles still need to be addressed, which is causing the negotiations to progress at a slow pace. For example, Russian specialists will need to obtain new visas to enter the French language Guyana and the recovery of missile parts, a process made more difficult by Russia’s severed relations with Europe.

The previous year was tumultuous for both the Russian and European space industries. Russia lost major space partners while Europe scrambled to find ways to reach orbit without access to Soyuz missiles. Whether or not that changes this year remains to be seen, but an ongoing swap agreement might be a good move for now.

more: Europe has few options for getting into space after the Vega C rocket crash

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