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Despite a snowy morning, the Soyuz TMA-22 launches successfully  (Source:
The Soyuz TMA-22 launch also marks the first flight of a NASA astronaut since the retirement of the 30-year space shuttle program, which ended in July

A Russian Soyuz capsule launched successfully into orbit Monday on a mission to the International Space Station.

The Soyuz TMA-22 is carrying a three-man crew, consisting of Russians Anton Shkaplerov and Anatoly Ivanishin as well as NASA astronaut Dan Burbank.

The successful launch from Russia's Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan was a relief after a recent failure had postponed the launch for two months. On August 24, an unmanned Progress cargo ship crashed on its way to the International Space Station. The failed rocket was the same type used on the Soyuz, and it forced the Russians to take another look at the safety of the Soyuz rocket model used for manned missions.

Russia's space agency determined that the Soyuz rocket failure was an isolated incident and not a major problem with the model. According to the space agency, a fuel pipe blockage caused the crash.

But that isn't the only space-related failure Russia has had to deal with lately. On November 8, the $165 million Phobos-Grunt probe, which launched from Baikonur and was to make its way to the Martian moon Phobos, got stuck in Earth's orbit. It is expected to burn up by November 26 unless it can be reactivated.

Despite these above-mentioned troubles and snowy weather conditions, the Soyuz TMA-22 made a successful launch. It is expected to with the International Space Station on November 16. The three current ISS crewmembers, which include station commander Mike Fossum of NASA, Russia's Sergei Volkov, and Japan's Satoshi Furukawa, will return home on another Soyuz craft on November 22.

The Soyuz TMA-22 launch also marks the first flight of a NASA astronaut since the retirement of the 30-year space shuttle program, which ended in July. This has left Russia in charge of ferrying crews to the International Space Station. But NASA is looking to obtain $850 million to help private companies create new spacecraft before the end of 2016.

While Russia may have a monopoly on the ferrying of astronauts for now, The Guardian has said that the country's space program is "struggling" and that the combination of obsolete technology and equipment purchased from other countries is the source of the problem.

Sources: The Guardian, MSNBC

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RE: In Former Soviet Russia...
By Amiga500 on 11/14/2011 11:27:50 AM , Rating: 2
I'd say every other country in the world wishes they'd such "obsolete" technology.

The Soyuz has by far the best record of any manned space vehicle used in significant quantities.

I'd be more inclined to believe the Guardian article... written by an unnamed author and referring to unnamed analysts is full of crap.

While the Russian manned program may be using old designs, they work and work well. Hardly worthy of being termed "struggling".

RE: In Former Soviet Russia...
By solarrocker on 11/14/2011 11:35:21 AM , Rating: 2
I do agree, their technology usually worked really well, be it a bit bulky and usually large (More looking at WW2 technology right now.) Still i wonder what they mean with obsolete equipment from other countries as they must have plenty left themselves after the fall off the soviet union?

RE: In Former Soviet Russia...
By TerranMagistrate on 11/14/2011 11:55:54 AM , Rating: 2
Indeed. Mechanically, Russian rocket engine technology in general is ingenious due to its relative simplicity.

Although I never understood why, during the Soviet era, they were never able to create rocket engines comparable to the the gigantic F-1s on the Saturn V to avoid the doomed N-1 approach. Perhaps it was a lack of funding?

RE: In Former Soviet Russia...
By maven81 on 11/14/2011 1:39:50 PM , Rating: 2
It seems to have been an ego problem amongst other things. The story goes that the engine designer Glushko told Korolev he could build such an engine but that it would not run on kerosene but use much more toxic propellants, like the Proton rocket does. It seems Korolev was adamant that the manned space program would have to rely on the relatively safer kerosene instead.
This is the interesting thing about the soviet space program... The US wound up with one giant centrally run operation in NASA, while the soviets had several design bureaus, headed by people with very big egos, each one saying that their way was the best way, and all of them having to fight for funding from both the military and the academy of sciences. That's pretty much the opposite of what you'd think would happen!

But generally speaking you're right, the military never saw any point in a lunar landing, so funding was inadequate.

RE: In Former Soviet Russia...
By delphinus100 on 11/14/2011 9:57:44 PM , Rating: 2
And yet, the F-1 burned kerosene. (hydrogen for J-2 engines were in the upper stages)

RE: In Former Soviet Russia...
By Bubbacub on 11/14/2011 4:53:56 PM , Rating: 2
i remember reading somewhere that they had huge problems in building large combustion chambers - hence the clustering of rockets has become a russian design feature.

even the energia rocket engines were essentially four small rocket engines clumped together with one huge turbopump.

i think the development of the f1 engines for saturn was pretty tricky - lots of catastrophic failures until they got it right.

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

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