The Russians Are Coming


Yes, that’s the title from a memorable 1966 movie, a comedy. That’s also the title of an Agence France-Presse bulletin issued earlier today that begins with "The Russian are coming…"

The Guiana Space Centre (CSG) is girding for a new era when it will host Russian rockets and Russian engineers who just a short while ago were Europe’s space rivals.

For 40 years, this base on the coast of French Guiana was the prestigious symbol of French, and then European, ambitions in space.

On Sunday, a freighter is due to dock in Cayenne bearing a first consignment of 150 containers of equipment to fit out a launch pad at CSG where, from the second half of 2009, the first "European" Soyuz is scheduled to blast into space.

Nothing funny about the space business — very serious business indeed. This might be the beginning of greater cooperation in space, especially the business side. Launching commercial spacecraft is big business, costing anywhere from $80 to $100 million or more for heavy-lift launches. Satcom operators need access to reliable launch service providers, and if they could increase capacity.


The Russians are coming — to chessboxing, too. "Chessboxing?" That’s right: it’s a new sport. Brains and brawn. Just like the rocket launch business.



Here’s the CNN report…


And one from Ukrainian television…