Android in space – first mission of Federation spacecraft in 2021

Roscosmos is planning to use their Federation spacecraft for unmanned mission in 2021. Spacecraft is still under development, just as second part of Vostochny Cosmodrome, where first mission of Federation will start.

Federation, along with Angara launch vehicle and Vostochny Cosmodrome are fundaments of Russian space program after transformation of Federal Space Agency Roscosmos on 28 December 28, 2015. Plans of lunar base or declaration of establishing new orbital space station after decommissioning International Space Station are clear statement that Russia have not resigned from space program and still has ambitions to compete with USA or China; but still they are not in the focal point of management of Roscosmos. Russian ISS modules could be easily detached from the rest of the station and serve for some time as orbital station for scientific purposes. Lunar base program was postponed and is rather considered as part of the two next decades. Reason is simple - plans regarding Moon exploration are in fact depending on creating new carrier rocket and new spacecraft able to reach Moon. Slow, but consequent modernization of fleet of launch vehicles and Soyuz spacecrafts is sign, that Roscosmos knows that and is rationally preparing solid basement for most ambitious goals. Such milestones like introducing new Angara rocket family or finishing first phase of Vostochny Cosmodrome are showing that progress is going in the good direction. Fact, that Russian cosmonauts are still using Soyuz spacecrafts with origins in sixties seems to be last barrier. Solution for this problem should be, developed by RKK Energia, Federation spacecraft. Designed in similar way as American Orion spacecraft started its existence as join project of ESA and Roscosmos. After 4 years of cooperation program of Russian-European manned spacecraft stopped due the lack of funds. Project finally became official program for development of new spacecraft for Roscosmos without any foreign partners. Work under Federation was developing during recent years in spite of financial problems in whole Russian economy and cuts in Roscosmos budget. On May 2016 Federation passed tests of man-machine interface and flight procedures along with their algorithms.

On October 24, 2016, Igor Komarov, chief of State Corporation Roscosmos, announced that first flight of Federation will be conducted in 2021 from Vostochny Cosmodrome. It is next, after statement about manned lunar mission scheduled for 2025 given in June 2016, important date in Federation program. Statement was given by Komarov during meeting devoted to Vostochny Cosmodrome, which still is finished only partially and remains one of the most important problems for Roscosmos. Second phase of construction is in fact crucial for Russian Lunar program; PU1 launch site (planned to be built in the second phase of Vostochny construction) will be suited for Angara rockets, while first (with maiden launch performed on April 28, 2016) is limited only to Soyuz rockets. It seems, that planned budget for PU1 with $3.8 billion should be enough to finish construction in 2021 and launch Federation on atop of Angara A5 rocket. First unmanned mission of Federation will be conducted with prototype control system based on Android operation system (provided by Google) as replacement for remaining under development main control systems.

"Federation" is next generation spacecraft designed and based on two modules: service module (with propulsion, main subsystems and solar arrays) and crew module. Crew segment will provide 33 cubic meters for 6 crew members and 500 kg of cargo. It is designed to perform 30 days autonomous mission and remain docked to space station for 200 days. In Lunar version number of crew members will be limited to four, but spacecraft will be able to perform lasting 14 days journey to the Moon orbit and back to Earth. It will be able to perform docking in manual or automatic mode (along with re-docking maneuver) and return to Earth with not less than 500 kg of payload. Spacecraft is planned as reusable for up to ten times.