The EgyptSat-A Earth Remote Sensing Spacecraft, which is being created at Energia Rocket and Space Corporation (RSC), will be launched not in December 2018, as promised to the Egyptian side, but in February 2019. The reason, according to “Kommersant”, lies in the protracted trials. But Energy can not speed them up: the rush in 2015 and 2017 has already led to the losses of Egyptian EgyptSat-2 and Angolan AngoSat-1, respectively, which turned out to be not only the need of the corporation to find at least 10 billion rubles. to manufacture their counterparts, but also significant reputational losses.
The EgyptSat-A launch date, initially agreed with Egypt, is December 27, however, as sources in the space industry told Kommersant, in the new schedule, delivery of the device to the Baikonur cosmodrome is scheduled for January 20, 2019. Since the Egyptian satellite is a device of high factory readiness, its tests at the cosmodrome will take two weeks, respectively, the launch of EgyptSat-A is scheduled for February 7. As the interlocutors of “Kommersant” explained, in order to accomplish this task, we had to move the launch of the Progress MS-11 cargo spacecraft to the International Space Station, which was supposed to start on February 8, to the International Space Station, since it starts on the Soyuz-2.1a rocket with the same The 31st spaceport site itself, as the Egyptian satellite. To remove the Egyptian apparatus, the Soyuz-2.1b booster with the Fregat upper stage will be used, borrowed from the GLONASS program stock. In the future, Energia, which is in far from the best financial condition (the amount of debts, as RKK General Director Sergey Romanov acknowledged in an interview with Kommersant on November 16, will be about 30 billion rubles), will have to compensate for the cost of the rocket and the overclocking to the state.
The EgyptSat-A spacecraft will be launched into a sun-synchronous orbit in which the Soyuz-2 rocket flies north from the Baikonur via the Urals. This launch route has a drop area for side blocks of the first stage, located on the territory of the Irgiz district of the Aktobe region and Dzhangeldy district of the Kostanay region. For its one-time use of Russia is required to pay Kazakhstan $ 460 thousand per year. The EgyptSat-A device is manufactured instead of the EgyptSat-2 satellite, which was also made in Energia. It was launched from Baikonur in April 2014 and a year later, on Cosmonautics Day, April 12, 2015, did not get in touch. The device has worked ten times less than the period claimed by the developer (ten years). Upon the loss of a satellite by a Russian insurance company, insurance was paid out, which, however, did not cover all the production costs of EgyptSat-A. "Energy" has refined the onboard systems of the new satellite, which should exclude a repetition of the situation on EgyptSat-2.
The transfer of EgyptSat-A launch to the next year is likely to cause displeasure in Egypt, the customer represented by the National Remote Sensing and Space Science Administration (NARSS) is counting on its early commissioning, says a Kommersant source close to Roscosmos . However, the Russian side does not intend to accelerate testing at RSC Energia. “We understand that there are deadlines that must be fulfilled, but we cannot afford to send a satellite that has not been fully tested,” a high-ranking source in the Russian space industry admitted in a conversation with Kommersant. According to him, the premature termination of work on the orbit of the Energia production apparatuses - the Egyptian EgyptSat-2 in 2015 and the Angolan AngoSat-1 in 2017 - has already seriously damaged Russia's image on the space market. "Therefore, we are making every effort to thoroughly test all systems of the EgyptSat-A satellite so that it regularly and without problems worked out the warranty resource in the interests of the customer," the source said.
In "Roskosmos" (under its jurisdiction is the corporation "Energy") and "Rosoboronexport" (with his participation the contract with the Egyptians was concluded) abstained from “Kommersant” comments. NARSS's prompt comment on the situation failed.