Russian Soyuz Capsule Successfully Launches to ISS After Rocket Troubles
November 14, 2011 9:59 AM
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Despite a snowy morning, the Soyuz TMA-22 launches successfully
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
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,
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.
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RE: In Former Soviet Russia...
11/14/2011 1:39:50 PM
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...
11/14/2011 9:57:44 PM
And yet, the F-1 burned kerosene. (hydrogen for J-2 engines were in the upper stages)
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