Posts Tagged ‘russian space’

Russia: Failure is Always An Option

Wednesday, April 27th, 2016

The inaugural launch of a Soyuz-2.1a from the ridiculously corrupt Vostochny Cosmodrome in Russia’s Far Eastern Amur Oblast was to be something big. Putin made the trip to view it and, naturally, it failed. Well, not completely: it was scrubbed after the computers took over, roughly at the T-90-second mark.

It’s a good thing the computers are doing their job, because Russians aren’t capable. Without the contribution of Ukraine’s Yuzhmash, they’ll probably continue to be the primary exporter of failure. Together with being a state sponsor of terrorism worldwide, they give the term “embrace failure” new meaning.

Second attempt will be later today. If that fails, Russian rocket scientists will start disappearing. Putin confirmed somebody’s going to jail already.

Lost in Space: Fruit Flies, Mushrooms and Geckos

Friday, July 25th, 2014

Too bad Geico doesn’t offer spacecraft insurance. The Russians could use some help, as they hold a large share of both launch and in-orbit failures.

I feel bad for the researchers suffering the latest Russian space program setback, the in-orbit loss-of-control for the Foton M-4 spacecraft, carrying a payload of geckos, fruit flies and mushrooms.

Russia’s Progress space firm confirmed Thursday that the Foton-M4 satellite was not responding to commands from the ground to start its onboard engine and lift it to a higher orbit.

However the company said in a statement that all other systems on the satellite, which was launched on July 19, were operating normally and information from the scientific experiments was being transmitted to the ground.

“The equipment which is working in automatic mode, and in particular the experiment with the geckos is working according to the programme,” said Oleg Voloshin, a spokesman of Russia’s Institute of Medico-Biological Problems, which is running the experiment.

The two-month mission is monitoring by video how well the geckos sexually reproduce in space, according to the Institute’s website.

Progress said the design of the Foton-M4 “allows for the functioning of the satellite in automatic mode for a long time.”

A space expert cited by Interfax said that in its current orbit the satellite could stay up in space as long as three or four months.

OK, so maybe they can’t control the thrusters, but all else is working.

Perhaps the resulting “Russian lizard sex in space” video will compete with the popularity of Russian dash cam videos.

Putin as Dr. Evil

Monday, June 30th, 2014

Great analysis by Buzzfeed, portraying Putin as a real-world Dr. Evil, watching the inaugural Angara rocket launch from swank video suite, alone.

It was postponed by 24 hours on Friday, which then got postponed by at least a month — now “indefinitely.”

Given the importance of the Angara program, Putin is not happy.

More Russian Bullshit

Tuesday, May 20th, 2014

The original agreement for the International Space Station was to operate it until 2020.

So why is deputy prime minister Rogozin telling NASA to use a trampoline?

Thanks to Emily Gertz for pointing it out.

The U.S. is relying on Russia for transporting astronauts to and from the ISS for several years, and Russia’s space station modules currently provide propulsion for the structure. But on board the station itself, Oberg says, Russia’s sections and crew rely upon American-made and operated equipment for electricity and communications. Further, Russia’s effort to to complete and launch its own science section is “years behind schedule,” says Oberg, so it must rely upon the labs contributed by other nations.

No matter what happens with Russian space policy, Oberg is excited for the next decade of space science, which he believes will be shifting from a “CERN model” of multiple nations contributing to and collaborating at one research facility, to “the Antarctica model” of many smaller stations forming and ending cooperative efforts as the science requires.

If Russia does exit the ISS soon after 2020, he says, it will happen at about the same time that new “human-rated” spacecraft like SpaceX’s Dragon come into use, and end Russia’s current lock on crew transportation.

“The Ukraine crisis has not diverted the station’s evolution into a new path,” Oberg says. “It may have put into sharper focus the different paths the station could follow, but that was happening anyway.”

Good luck with those sanctions.