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Space

Soviet Space Battle Station Images Published 350

Posted by Hemos
from the a-page-from-the-past dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Images of the Soviet Union's laser space battle station Skif and its prototype Polyus have been published on the web. Polyus-Skif was the Soviet response to the American 'Star Wars' program of the 1980s. The Polyus was launched in May 1987 but a faulty sensor caused it to de-orbit into the South Pacific. More information can be found at Encyclopedia Astronautica."
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Soviet Space Battle Station Images Published

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  • by DaneelGiskard (222145) on Monday November 22, 2004 @09:33AM (#10887339) Homepage
    ...yes, I would pretend this as well ;-)
  • Wow (Score:5, Interesting)

    by The-Bus (138060) on Monday November 22, 2004 @09:35AM (#10887348)
    I especially like this picture [www.army.lv], which seems to almost be a spy shot froma James Bond movie, or as one of the posters commented, "Looks very Thunderbirds-ish."
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 22, 2004 @09:35AM (#10887349)
    here [primenova.com], just in case that one gets Slashdotted. It's already starting to look beat-up.
  • Hahaha (Score:3, Funny)

    by metlin (258108) * on Monday November 22, 2004 @09:35AM (#10887352) Journal
    Interesting comments.

    And they said that movie with Clint Eastwood in space was farfethced. Hah!

    *ahem*

    We do have a cowboy in office, don't we?
  • by Average_Joe_Sixpack (534373) on Monday November 22, 2004 @09:37AM (#10887364)
    I'd bid at least $50 bucks for it on eBay
  • by cheezemonkhai (638797) on Monday November 22, 2004 @09:39AM (#10887368) Homepage
    War Stars You!!

    What it had to be said.. at least it's out the way now :p
  • Software error (Score:5, Interesting)

    by YeeHaW_Jelte (451855) on Monday November 22, 2004 @09:39AM (#10887369) Homepage
    Comments at the website (yes I RTFA) say it wasn't a faulty sensor but a software error which caused the Polyus to turn 360 instead of 180 degree upon reaching orbit, and it boosted itself back into the atmosphere. Oops!
  • What ifn dem turrizts got hold of dat? They'd shoot lasors right at our testic^H^H^H^H^H^Hgon^H^H^Hballs and we wouldn't have a goll durn chance. Better tell Senator Frist it's A-OK to appropriate 300 mill for that Star Wars whatjamagig even if it don't work! Gosh!
    • surely, you jest!
      300 million wouldn't even cover the costs
      for the symposium to kick off the feasability
      study.
      bush & co (warsRus) has already kicked in over
      6 billion dollars for new (non-Reagan) work on
      a (theatre) missile defense system. so far,
      the only tests that have worked have been the
      ones that have been "billed" as "demonstrations".
      "leaked" reagan-era intel touted soviet land-
      based laser cannon capable of destroying USA
      satellites in HEO. $6B for a non-functional
      missile defense system, but not a re
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 22, 2004 @09:40AM (#10887381)
    ... it's a moon.
  • by thewonderllama.com (828359) on Monday November 22, 2004 @09:42AM (#10887388) Homepage Journal

    ...we'd just have to get George Lucas to go back and edit it so that their space station fired first.

    ~BS
  • by Average_Joe_Sixpack (534373) on Monday November 22, 2004 @09:42AM (#10887389)
    This will not bode well for us geeks! Does anybody have a laser proof tin foil hat I can borrow??
  • by Evil W1zard (832703) on Monday November 22, 2004 @09:44AM (#10887393) Journal
    Taco Bell could have put a big target out in the South Pacific and if it hit it we would have all won free tacos!
  • Looks impressive, considering the time of such a project.

    Leads one to ponder about the relative computing powess against the counterpart in those times.

    Just how far the computing differences were, considering that a probable computation error caused the machine to orbit incorrectly.

  • by Sai Babu (827212) on Monday November 22, 2004 @09:50AM (#10887435) Homepage
    workin on Mars mission."

    A most interesting comment from the guy who provided the photos.

    Perhaps he woudl be willing submit to a /. interview?

  • ...does anyone knows if the Russians ever got to fire a laser big enough to fit in a spaceship? That'd be interesting.
    • Big enough? I should think you would want it to be as small as possible. Russia was never capable of making stuff small, didn't really matter as they knew how to make extremely large rockets.
      • Bad phrasing on my part, sorry. I meant "big enough to be used in a spaceship". A military laser should be insanely powerful, and i don't think laser diode technology was available back then, which means huge gas discharge lasers.
  • De-Orbit? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 22, 2004 @09:53AM (#10887450)
    Is that just scientist speak for CRASHED? Damn, you guys think you can make poo-poo smell like roses with words can't you? The damn thing crashed into the ocean, it didn't de-orbit. Its like a salesman saying he didn't get the account because the customer de-bought the product.
    • Re:De-Orbit? (Score:3, Informative)

      by DunbarTheInept (764)
      Thing adjective verb thing. Verb Thing. Thing verb?

      There, was that a useful line to write? No? Do you understand why it was not useful? Yes, that's right, because sometimes more precise terms are neeeded. "Crashed" is imprecise. "De-orbit" describes a little bit more about the reason it crashed. De-orbit means it decellerates itself so it is no longer going fast enough to orbit and thus falls. (As opposed to, say, accellerating itself off at some angle such that it was still going fast enough to o
  • You know the jerky that didn't put in a redundent sensor is probably still at the Siberian Front serving up Borcshe to the soldiers....
  • But I am just wondering how much of it actually was developed to anywhere near a working state. The vehicle that crashed was only a mock up so I am thinking this may have just been a bit of sabre rattling by thr Russians in the direction of the US.
  • Thanks for this info. Very very interesting, especially for me, I'm very interested in the Soviet space programme - maybe because it was so secret.
  • by Devar (312672) on Monday November 22, 2004 @09:59AM (#10887487) Homepage Journal
    ...just imagine what the USA might just have up there right now.
    • by FireAtWill (559444) on Monday November 22, 2004 @10:45AM (#10887816)
      I read a book written by Air Force General Chuck Horner (Ret.) who commanded the air war over Desert Storm. Before retiring his last job was heading up SPACECOM, the military's space command. In describing that he remarked (paraphrasing) "There are many people who think that we shouldn't start putting weapons in space. Well, I've got news for them. There already there.

      In any conflict with the US, our communications, global positioning and recon sattellites would be prime juicy targets.
      • the nuclear reprisal for attacking those satellites doesn't seem all that juicy
        • by WIAKywbfatw (307557) on Monday November 22, 2004 @11:54AM (#10888422) Journal
          First rule of combat: disable the enemies eyes and ears. If he's blinded because you took out his intelligence gathering satellites, he's not only lost what realtime intelligence he had coming in but he now also has to expend other resources (ie, manpower in the form of reconnaisance missions) to try and get some of that back. And with his communications satellites gone too, his ability to effectively manage is greatly diminished too.

          You can't hit what you can't see. Sounds obvious but in warfare it can be the only difference between winning and getting spanked.
      • Not meaning to burst your bubble, but a LOT of retired US military people, some with great ranks, have said some complete and utter buckets of bullplop. Serving in the US military doesn't mean you'll always tell the truth, especially if they're selling something :)
  • de-orbit... (Score:5, Funny)

    by phasm42 (588479) on Monday November 22, 2004 @10:01AM (#10887494)
    That's a nice euphism for crash and burn.
  • by Catmeat (20653) <mtmNO@SPAMsys.uea.ac.uk> on Monday November 22, 2004 @10:03AM (#10887507)
    There is a theory the lunch failure was intentional.

    Gorbachev had just come to power and wanted to make peace overtures to the West. A giant space battle station was not going to help this endeavour so a deliberate "launch failure" would be the simplest and easiest way of getting rid of the darn thing and shutting down the program.

    As I said, it's nothing more than a theory I've heard articulated. I've no idea how much credability or plausibility it has.
    • Gorbachev had just come to power and wanted to make peace overtures to the West. A giant space battle station was not going to help this endeavour so a deliberate "launch failure" would be the simplest and easiest way of getting rid of the darn thing and shutting down the program.

      Unlikely. I prefer the conspiracy theory that says that a US battle station destroyed it on its way up. The Soviet Union collapsed when its leadership realized what had happened, and what the implications are. US battle stations
  • by DnemoniX (31461) on Monday November 22, 2004 @10:04AM (#10887510)
    Funny that the History Channel ran a show last night on disasters in the Soviet space program. What was very interesting was some seriously devistating disasters that the world at large never knew about until years after the wall came down. One was really impressive, the rocket exploded on the pad killing over 150 people and burning for hours. In another the rocket began to launch, but flipped sideways and dropped. The damage to the launch facility was so bad it took two years to get in back into usable shape. All the while Khrushchev was mocking the US efforts as backwards and offering assistance to a "backwards" nation. Meanwhile covering up their mega-disasters. So it makes you wonder what "really" happened to this thing.
    • by LWATCDR (28044) on Monday November 22, 2004 @10:44AM (#10887807) Homepage Journal
      The US had more than one failure it's self during the early days. I saw pictures of an Atlas cart wheeling through the sky. The Navaho missle got the nickname the Nogo. I have even seen a Thor with a live H-Bomb on it fail at blast off the warhead did not go off thank goodness for the launch crew. That was part of test to see what happens when you blow up a nuke in space. The difference is in the US most of the failures where public.
  • but I could be wrong.
  • In... (Score:3, Funny)

    by jellomizer (103300) * on Monday November 22, 2004 @10:21AM (#10887637)
    In Democraticic America, a de-orbit into the South Pacific causes faulty sensor.
  • Many Bothans died to bring us this information.
  • FAB! (Score:2, Funny)

    by bettlebrox (264668)
    Thunderbirds 1 is go!
  • "The Polyus was launched in May 1987 but a faulty sensor caused it to de-orbit into the South Pacific."

    A lot of us call that "Crashing."

  • by Dan East (318230) on Monday November 22, 2004 @10:51AM (#10887879) Homepage Journal
    No member of the Reagan or Bush administrations ever admitted or revealed publicly any knowledge of Polyus. The US Navy has made no statements about any attempts to investigate the wreckage of Polyus, which lies on the floor of the South Pacific.

    For some reason the phrase "been there, done that" comes to mind.

    Considering the amount of money spent on SDI, I can't imagine the US not going to great lengths to try to salvage the wreck in order to see what countermeasures the USSR was working on.

    Dan East
    • Considering the amount of money spent on SDI, I can't imagine the US not going to great lengths to try to salvage the wreck in order to see what countermeasures the USSR was working on

      Something tells me that when it hit the ocean it got scattered into many, many pieces. Probably be too hard to recover all of them. Most probably aren't very big either. This thing also came through the atmosphere on an unplanned trajectory so anything really usefull was burnt as well. It isn't really worth it to recover
    • I'd imagine that whatever wreckage remains is in very small chunks in very deep water. Even if we could find and recover it, there'd be almost nothing left. Reentry tends to do a very good job of scattering debris for miles - imagine if Columbia had broken up over the Pacific rather than over Texas.

      Even with Challenger recovery took a long time, and that was a craft that hadn't come down from orbit and many of the pieces landed in relatively shallow water. Trying to pull the pieces of a Russian submarine

  • Rabid Ronnie (Score:3, Interesting)

    by theolein (316044) on Monday November 22, 2004 @05:26PM (#10891783) Journal
    While the USSR was already on the way out due to the failings of numerous things (It wasn't just the Soviet economy, mainly it was that the people were simply tired of the Soviet loonies. The Soviet economy could have lasted a lot longer given that it was based on an active imagination and not an actual market), they certainly managed a number of fascinating things technically, such as the Energia rocket and Buran and the Venera venus landers.

    Mainly though, this Polyus battle station shows what a waste the SDI initiative was in the first place, and more importantly, for today's world of Texas cowboys, what a waste the missile defense shield is. The huge amount of money wasted on lunatic plans to conquer space is easily countered with comparitively cheap countermeasure, be they a space based laser battlestation (why does the US think that China could not build one itself, with the same lack of hoo haa that the Russians had?) or a manouvering warhead.

    But those big defense companies need to justify their existences, employees salaries, and profits, don't they?
  • Soviet Russia is GO! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Mulletproof (513805) on Monday November 22, 2004 @09:31PM (#10894182) Homepage Journal
    And speaking of people, amazing how not one photo has a single person in it. Giant boosters, complex machinery, huge manufacturing centers... And no one single person. Not even independent ground vehicals.

    And yeah, it does look like the Thunderbirds. If I stare long enough, I could swear I see the strings.
    I'm calling BS Flag, 30 yard line. It may be legit, but somebody is gonna have to do better than those photographs.

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