The Russian Federal Space Agency has an illustrious history managing the space assets of Russia as well as being a cooperating partner with many other nations involved in space exploration. Russia has played a significant leadership role in advancing the technologies and capabilities of exploring space safely.
Although the Russian Bear has historically been depicted by American literature as the “enemy”, and there certainly are Defense Ministry aspects to Russia’s space program, this should not overshadow the fact that Rocosmos is dedicated to the purpose of developing space technologies for socioeconomic and scientific purposes. In fact, their website expressly states that Rocosmos is committed to maintaining “coordination and cooperation with foreign states under cooperation agreements in the field of peaceful space exploration and research…”
Areas of activity Rocosmos is committed to using its space technologies for are:
- Environmental monitoring of natural disasters and emergencies, natural resource exploration, gathering hydro and meteorological data
- Improving current space navigation system and creating a unified data transmission system
- Global communication support over Russian territories
- Support International Space Station missions
- Research and development of space technologies and microgravity medical research
- Research and development of space vehicles, launching systems, experimental facilities and infrastructure
If you happen to be in the neighborhood, visitors are welcome at Rocosmos. Simply write a letter to:
Russian Federal Space Agency (Rocosmos)
42 Schepkina st.
Moscow, Russia 107996, GSP-6
Or, you can send your visitor request by fax to: (495) 688-90-63, (499) 975-44-67. After you send your fax, call (495) 631-94-44 or (495) 631-94-48 to confirm that it was received. A digital request can also be made online through their website: http://en.federalspace.ru/
Online requests will receive a written response via snail mail. If you do a digital visit request, make sure you use the Rocosmos website form and do it correctly. Boo-boos are rejected.
A brief recap of Russia’s accomplishments in space begin even before World War I:
- In 1929 Konstantin Tsjolkovsky introduced the concept of the multi-staged rocket
- 1933 the first Soviet rocket launched
- 1951 the first Soviet rocket with animals aboard launched with successful recovery of live crew
- 1957 the first intercontinental ballistic missile launched
- 1961 the first human, Yuri Gagarin, safely completed a single orbit
- 1961-1963 six manned spaceflights, including the longest flight up to that date, 34 hours
- 1963 first woman in space, Valentina Tereshkova
- 1968 first living creatures reach the moon & successfully return, Russian tortoises
- 1971 first space station, Salyut 1
- 1980 first Hispanic and Black person in space, Arnaldo Tamayo Mendez, Soyuz 38
- 1984 first woman to walk in space, Svetlana Savitskaya, Salyut 7
- 1987 first crew to spend over one year in space, Vladimir Titov & Musa Manarov, Soyuz TM-4, Mir space station
So, the dear reader asks the gringa, “What are they up to today?” Well, they are the only space agency that currently has space flight capabilities. Since the United States scuttled the shuttle program, all astronauts around the world have to rely on Russia to ferry them back and forth between Earth and the ISS.
They also manage an orbiting remote sensing system (RSS). Its mission objective is to monitor the Earth and provide images used to manage natural resources, monitor atmospheric/water/soil pollution, monitor natural and man-made disasters, and conduct research.
There are the Meteor-M No. 1 Spacecraft and ELEKTRO Geostationary Hydrometeorological Spacecraft. These spacecrafts observe Earth’s atmosphere and provides hydrometeorological data used for scientific and socioeconomic purposes.
The Kanopus-V spacecraft and Resurs-P spacecrafts are devoted to monitoring natural and man-made disasters. It does this by providing high quality imaging of Earth.
The gringa is a big fan of Rocosmos and grateful that the Russians do not mind letting American astronauts hop aboard and hitch a ride to outer space. It is my greatest hope that this type of cooperative relationship will spill over into all aspects of international dialogue and engagement because the gringa continues to dream a dream of cosmic proportions.