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In Soviet Russia, space travels you

The U.S. may have given up on a fresh Moon shot for now, but its former Cold War-era space race rival has fresh hopes to finally achieve what it could not do in the Soviet-era -- set foot on the moon.

Corporate president Vitaly Lopota, head of one of Russia's largest commercial space companies -- Space Corp. Energia -- announced that it had fulfilled a its design objectives it took on when it won an April 2009 contract to design a new multi-purpose rocket.

Comments Mr. Lopota, "We have completed the technical design project taking into account the fact that the new spaceship is to fly to the Moon, among other places."

In addition to a potential Moon shot, the rocket will be tasked with ferrying cargo and passengers to and from the International Space Station (ISS).  Federal Space Agency Roscosmos head Vladimir Popovkin announced earlier in the year that the rocket would be constructed and operational by 2018; the news from Energia shows that target may indeed by reached.

Energia heavy lift vehicle
Energia's heavy lift rocket is moving ahead towards a 2018 launch.
[Image Source: RCS Energia]

Russia seemingly is in a bit stronger position than the U.S., in that it still maintains domestic capability to launch humans into space (aboard the seasoned Soyuz capsule craft).  However, the program is under pressure after a string of failed and/or delayed commercial launches.  Most recently a suspected failure in the Briz-M booster scuttled a Proton rocket launch from the Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan.  The expensive August 2011 failure destroyed two commercial satellites.

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev gave the Russian space agency and its private partners until the end of the summer to work out a plan to fix the deterioriating situation.  

While the design side of the equation appears to be rolling forward, the business plan to remedy the recent issues is still very much up in the air.  Chief Popovkin had proposed creating a holding company that would tie together top commercial space firms -- such as Khrunichev and TsSKB Progress.  The plan then involved creating a sub-holding company inside the greater holding pool to specifically pull in the smaller engine producers, including Energomash, the Khimavtomatiki design bureau, the Voronezh mechanical works, Proton PM, and others.

However, Mr. Lopota blasted that plan, calling it a non-market measure.  Some opponents feel that shareholders in the corporate space firms will be short-changed if the government combines them, and further feel that it's a return to Russia's communist past -- a controversial topic in modern Russia.

Source: Space Travel

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RE: The Moon!
By HostileEffect on 12/30/2012 6:47:12 PM , Rating: 1
Wars are pretty inexpensive compared to the ridiculous welfare and entitlement spending.

RE: The Moon!
By boeush on 12/30/2012 7:32:52 PM , Rating: 3
Welfare and entitlement spending are inexpensive compered to war/military-industrial welfare spending and monopoly-driven escalating medical spending (a.k.a. Medicare). Go look at the actual federal budget, and stop mindlessly parroting partisan lies.

RE: The Moon!
By tng on 12/31/2012 12:28:53 AM , Rating: 2
Welfare and entitlement spending are inexpensive compered to war/military-industrial welfare spending
Once spending on the Afgan war goes away, the military part of the budget will be about 18%. Unfortunately yes there are those out there that want war because it means money in their pocket, but on the other side there are those that want to take that 18% and spend it on welfare and entitlements.

Also with the new healthcare laws that will be taking effect soon, your personal medical spending is going to get allot more expensive for all of us.

RE: The Moon!
By Ringold on 12/31/2012 6:01:19 PM , Rating: 2
One of the dumbest comments in this article's comments sections. You do realize we could completely zero out all defense spending and STILL have a budget deficit, correct?

And not sure what you're saying about monopoly healthcare spending. If you're saying monopolies on either side of the equation are bad, you're right. As long as limitless amounts of money are thrown at a problem, be it education or healthcare, costs will spiral.

RE: The Moon!
By boeush on 1/2/2013 4:29:57 AM , Rating: 2
If you are capable of comparing numbers, comprehending graphs, and reading plain English text, the following should clear everything right up for you:

Please stop guzzling partisan poison, and open your eyes to some cold hard facts, for a change. To take part in a solution, one first has to stop being part of the problem...

"Game reviewers fought each other to write the most glowing coverage possible for the powerhouse Sony, MS systems. Reviewers flipped coins to see who would review the Nintendo Wii. The losers got stuck with the job." -- Andy Marken

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