Print 13 comment(s) - last by Murloc.. on Nov 24 at 4:31 AM

Russian space program must shift gears and begin to seriously think about the coming years

The U.S. space program reportedly isn't the only one that has issues related to research and development, leading to a possible shake up among space nations over the next two-to-three years.

Similar to the current problem plaguing NASA, the Russian space program also has an aging spacecraft, the Soyuz spacecraft, with no specific details of a new next-generation shuttle on the horizon.  The Soyuz already is used to transport astronauts and supplies to the International Space Station (ISS), but will be unable to reach Mars or any other planets at this current stage.

Specifically, cosmonaut Mikhail Tyurin has told Russian media that changes must be made if Russia hopes to keep it space superiority over other emerging space programs.

To help refocus on future space missions outside of the ISS and low-orbit, it's necessary for Russia to create realistic goals and proper organization among necessary space experts and contractors.  Furthermore, Russian space experts have been unable to agree on the exact design of the next Russian shuttle, which has greatly hampered progress.

Russian space chief Anatoly Perminov recently proposed developing a nuclear-powered space vehicle, but very few details of the craft or possible missions were discussed.

As NASA and Russia lose space importance, developing space programs in China and India are seeing great success with their more recent space missions.  China is expected to be the next nation to reach the moon, despite not being involved in the multi-nation ISS project, and likely has its sights set on manned missions to Mars.

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And in other news....
By Pneumothorax on 11/23/2009 9:34:57 AM , Rating: 3
"China continues continues on-schedule construction of their moon rocket... built with upgraded Soviet tech and funded by greedy American CEO's, hapless consumers, and American Debt interest...."

RE: And in other news....
By nafhan on 11/23/2009 10:57:35 AM , Rating: 5
And in other, other news:
There is a single light of science, and to brighten it anywhere is to brighten it everywhere.
The Chinese accomplishing stuff is way better than nobody accomplishing stuff. Also, our (America's) problems with space certainly can't be blamed on greedy CEO's, alone. That's extremely simplistic.

RE: And in other news....
By Ardan on 11/23/2009 12:04:18 PM , Rating: 2
I definitely agree with you there. That was a great quote you posted that also came to mind for me, too. I sincerely hope that both NASA and the Russian space program turn things around and greatly improve. At the same time, I also hope that the emerging space agencies keep improving their programs.

RE: And in other news....
By Ringold on 11/23/2009 1:54:42 PM , Rating: 2
I'll disagree with the quote, simply because it's China. Not being a country of free people with an accountable government, there's no reason to believe that any of the light of science of value gleaned from their progress will be shared with others or used in productive ways for the rest of the world. I think China's single light of science illuminates only the Communist Party.

Now, if it were Japan, Germany, or India, etc, then I'd agree.

Too proud to work together
By gevorg on 11/23/2009 11:39:57 PM , Rating: 3
Well, jeeze, why don't NASA and RFSA swallow their cold-war era pride and join forces to create something together? Should be cheaper and faster than competing against each other.

RE: Too proud to work together
By Murloc on 11/24/2009 4:31:01 AM , Rating: 2
yes it would be better.

By chromal on 11/23/2009 12:46:21 PM , Rating: 2
There's a not-so-subtle difference between trying to keep an aging fleet of US space shuttles safely operational vs continued new production of an older design, e.g.: Russian Soyuz, once you've worked out the design and manufacturing bugs/kinks. (Not to trivialize those, as even minor problems can lead to total mission failure in spaceflight).

Anyone who has ever had a vehicle declared a 'total loss' by insurance can attest to the fact that repairs and upkeep begin to cost more than just replacing with something new, after a decade or two. The Space Shuttle Discovery is twenty-five years old. It came out the same year as the movie Ghostbusters, and man does that make me feel old.

I would be scared
By ixelion on 11/23/09, Rating: -1
RE: I would be scared
By Kepe on 11/23/2009 9:15:50 AM , Rating: 3
Actually, current Russian rockets are more reliable than those NASA has put together. The US space shuttle is still the most reliable, but if we look at recent launches, there has been a lot of delays for the shuttles due to technical problems.

If I were a Russian cosmonaut, I'd feel happy that I can ride the Soyuz instead of an Atlas or a Titan.

RE: I would be scared
By maven81 on 11/23/2009 10:54:27 AM , Rating: 2
You seem to forget that the soyz system is not reusable. which means every single booster and spacecraft is brand new when it flies. Contrast that with the shuttle which has to constantly refurbish airframes that are at least 20 years old. Would you be safer flying in a brand new spacecraft? Or a fixed up one from 20 years ago? They got this right, at this stage non re-usable systems are safer, cheaper, and easier.

As a side note, the article is very low on substance. For example it doesn't mention that they are working on two next gen systems to replace the old soviet workhorses of soyz and proton. While one is still on the drawing board (Rus M) the other has had successful hardware tests (Angara). It's likely it will fly around 2012, and the delays in the program are due to launch facilities being incomplete, rather then the rockets themselves. Taking that into account I don't see how China is ahead.

RE: I would be scared
By pavel486 on 11/23/2009 4:22:22 PM , Rating: 2
This is unfair. Compare stats for last 30 year and see for yourself how many astronauts was killed by US space contraption.

Soyuz accidents have claimed the lives of four, versus fourteen for Shuttle accidents.
No deaths have occurred on Soyuz missions since 1971, and none with the current design of the Soyuz

RE: I would be scared
By rcc on 11/23/2009 5:11:41 PM , Rating: 2
I don't really think you can really trust the Soviet statistics back 30 years. Certainly in most other fields, what they claaimed was not necessarily reality. The joys of government controlled media.

RE: I would be scared
By pavel486 on 11/23/2009 10:47:24 PM , Rating: 2
I'd agree with you 100% if it was any other issue but space race was so closely watch by both sides that it was impossible to hide any major event.
The bottom line is the both sides have a really hard time explaining why we are doing it (sending humans to the orbit) to the public. All the great promises and experiments gain nothing so far (with the exception of Hubble repair, which still will be cheaper to build new one)

"There is a single light of science, and to brighten it anywhere is to brighten it everywhere." -- Isaac Asimov

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