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Space Science

Russia Tops With 45% of Spacecraft Launches in 2006 119

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the model-rocket-engine-ban-hurts dept.
knight17 writes "This year was a really good year for space exploring nations, but Russians may be the most happiest among them, because they grabbed a huge 45% of the spacecraft launching market this year. The coming year is also very good for Russian space programs, since next year they will finish the GLONASS navigation project. The US is in second place, and China & Japan in third with six launches each. The Russian officials said that the launches of spacecrafts will be lesser than what this year has been seen."
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Russia Tops With 45% of Spacecraft Launches in 2006

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  • by Lord Ender (156273) on Saturday December 30, 2006 @11:22AM (#17408814) Homepage
    Clearly, Slashdot has the most best editors of all the internets.
    • by ceeam (39911)
      I wonder - is slashdot editor a paid job? What are the responsibilities of an editor when he's on a shift?
      • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 30, 2006 @12:12PM (#17409128)
        >>What are the responsibilities of an editor when he's on a shift?

        Slashdot editors are responsible for filling several quotas before their shift is up:

        1. At least two but as many as eight posts criticizing Microsoft for real and imagined transgressions.
        2. At least one post with a title made entirely out of acronyms.
        3. At least one but no more than four pieces of internet-joke-bait, involving sharks, lasers, tubes, snakes, or Russia.
        4. At least one but as many as six top ten lists, about any subject.
        5. At least two but as many as four posts praising the imminent ascenscion of Linux as the world's primary operating system.
        6. At least two posts regarding contemporary scientific achievements or potential future technologies which have an extremely questionable grounding in reality.
        7. At least one post speculating about Apple products.
        8. At least one post that asks if Google is evil yet.
        9. At least two but as many as nine posts that can be tagged "bigbrother".
        10. At least one post about the RIAA/MPAA.
        11. At least one but no more than four slashvertisements.
    • by inKubus (199753)
      In Soviet Russia, the launches of spacecrafts will be lesser than what this year has been seen.
  • Hybrid receivers? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 30, 2006 @11:40AM (#17408908)
    I wonder if it'll become worthwhile to build a hybrid gps/glonass/galileo receiver to cross-compare data from all three and get better precision...
    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      GPS/GLONASS receivers were built in the days that GPS was artificially worsened by SA but had better coverage (more satellites).
      When SA was switched off, interest in GLONASS has vanished. Probably Galileo receivers (and certainly the early ones) will be GPS/Galileo.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by flyingfsck (986395)
        No, the problem was that GLONASS vanished. It has been resurrected recently. When the USSR broke up it caused various problems, including one astronaut that was left in space for almost 2 years, the first GLONASS was never completed and what was up there died eventually.
    • by lagnis (878185)
      There are hybrid GPS/GLONASS receivers already, actually GPS/GLONASS/GALILEO. http://www.topconpositioning.com/ [topconpositioning.com] Laica and Trimble have GPS/GLONASS. But for use in a GPS with a street map or something like that? I doubt it will be worth it, the increase in precession doesn't matter much for that, for professional use it's worth it, especially since you have a better chance of always having enough satellites around.
  • What language? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Mister Transistor (259842) on Saturday December 30, 2006 @11:45AM (#17408930) Journal
    The Russian officials said that the launches of spacecrafts will be lesser than what this year has been seen.

    This must have been literally translated from Russian. Most other languages are hilarious when literally translated without changing cases or tenses - "Throw me down the stairs my hat".
    • by Blakey Rat (99501) on Saturday December 30, 2006 @01:28PM (#17409836)
      The real question is, "what does it mean?"

      My guess is: "Warden, the vodka is strong, but the meat is rotten."
      • by snarkth (1002832)
        No, no. What it really means is:

          The oxen are slow, but the earth is patient.

          See? :)

          snarkth
    • "This must have been literally translated from Russian. Most other languages are hilarious when literally translated without changing cases or tenses"

      I certainly hope this is the reason, but lets face it, up to now slashdot editors have not really needed translation problems to serve us broken english.
  • by epiphani (254981)
    The Russian officials said that the launches of spacecrafts will be lesser than what this year has been seen.

    Does. Not. Parse.
    • by Cyberax (705495)
      It's a broken translation. The original quote means something like: "There will be less launches next year than this year". The direct translation from Russian looks like: "The next year is going to see less launches than this year".

      The original article is here: http://rian.ru/analytics/20061215/56977055.html [rian.ru]
  • news making (Score:3, Insightful)

    by nettamere (672641) on Saturday December 30, 2006 @11:46AM (#17408940)
    Ok- so that means that Russia had what - 26 launches or so? I don't recall many of them making the news in the US. See - that is the kind of stuff I want to see make the national news for the masses- not the OMG moment of some political nut job of the day-
    • Re:news making (Score:4, Insightful)

      by WaZiX (766733) on Saturday December 30, 2006 @11:51AM (#17408980)
      well, they never blow up or anything...

      Maybe they should ask Nasa for some PR advice...
      • well, they never blow up or anything...

        The Russians have had their share of accidents.
        • by twostar (675002)
          Just see the DNEPR launch this summer. Little problem with some hydraulics and down comes the rocket.

          But they do have a better percentage just because they do fly so many. Even if they loose one a year it's 1 out of 25. When the US looses 1 it's out of 15.
    • Russia has had a history not announcing space flights until a successful landing had occurred, so that any failures could be quietly swept away. I'm not sure if that still is the case today, but that and the fact that most were boring unmanned ISS resupply missions means the general drooling public just can't be distracted from who the latest American Idiot^H^H^Hol is this week to give a crap.
    • by xENoLocO (773565) *
      26? The article says 40...

      Oh wait... they use the metric system in Russia, right?
      • by nettamere (672641)
        "26? The article says 40..." I take it that math was not your strong suit? It says that they had 45% of the total, meaning that the other 55% was made up of US, Japan and China launches- 32 = 55% and 26 = 45%
  • by the_REAL_sam (670858) on Saturday December 30, 2006 @11:59AM (#17409024) Journal
    Hurray for Russia!!

    Perhaps they can teach NASA how to run an economical, yet highly effective, space program.

    • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

      by Millenniumman (924859)
      Highly effective? More launches != more effective.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Enonu (129798)
        The Russians aren't idiots. I'm sure they're collecting loads of scientific data with each flight to help then design and implement future space programs. In the long run, practice will make perfect.

        Personally though, I'd just scrap NASA entirely as it's entirely too encumbered by red-tape to do anything worthwhile and replace it with commercial space programs. Competing interests will result in increased innovation and cost reduction.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Orange Crush (934731)

          Personally though, I'd just scrap NASA entirely as it's entirely too encumbered by red-tape to do anything worthwhile and replace it with commercial space programs.

          How does one create a commercial space program capable of manned missions to space and interplanetary scientific probes?

          Private industry will jump in as soon as they feel it's profitable. NASA's continued existence in no way forbids this. The payoff from NASA's current activities will come decades, maybe centuries in the future when manned

          • Private industry will jump in as soon as they feel it's profitable. NASA's continued existence in no way forbids this.

            Let me ask a question: at what point is it profitable to compete when your competition's profit is based on their ability to spend larger and larger amounts of someone else's money?

            The more money Nasa spends on spaceflight, the harder it is for comercial flights to happen - who is going to invest in a business competing with the US government?

            That said, I think the current Nasa management se
            • who is going to invest in a business competing with the US government?
              Wow, I can't believe Fedex doesn't have investors. What are they doing on the stock market!?!
              • And you hit it precisely on the head. The way to compete is not to compete. Offer something different, like packages in a specific time frame, guaranteed. Or be much more customer friendly, etc.

                But let me ask you this, if the US postal service closed tomorrow, would that be good or bad for FedEx?
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by cyclone96 (129449) *
        More launches != more effective

        Agreed. Number of launches is not necessarily a good indicator of overall health of a nation's space program.

        For a variety of reasons (some related to how cheaply and reliably they can launch), Russian satellites tend to be designed for shorter lifetimes than their western counterparts. For example, the article cited Glonass satellites. A Glonass vehicle has a design lifetime of 3 years, while the American GPS system has a satellite lifetime of ~ 10 years. The Russians need
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Venik (915777)
          Russians developed several versions of the GLONASS satellite. The original model was designed for three years. The first satellite of this type was launched in 1992. GLONASS-M is designed for 7 years (first one launched in 2005), and GLONASS-K - for 12 years (to be launched in 2008).
      • by Jugalator (259273)
        Perhaps not always, but usually.

        As long as the rockets don't fail (and I haven't heard much of that happening during 2006), it tend to mean they get more research projects in the air.

        Also, the Russians of course know that minimizing the rocket launches necessary is essential for their space program.

        They aren't stupid, many actually being rocket scientists! :-)
        • Russia is VERY good at putting man in space. Their launch vehicles are tried and true. Progress and Soyuz are awesome preformers. You can not question it. The Shuttle was o.k. in it's time. Give me a Saturn V and Apollo craft oiver a shuttle EVERY TIME. The Apollo and LEM were true space craft. Designed to fly OUTSIDE of Earth's atmosphere. I look forward to the new launch vehicle and spacecraft. Russia does have a clue as to what they are doing. Happy new year!
    • Perhaps they can teach NASA how to run an economical, yet highly effective, space program.

      Create the rockets back in the 60's and keep building them the same way. Oh, pay your ppl about a fraction of what other countries make. And do not worry about fires on a space station, O2 generators that fail, rockets that blow up early in the program (and yes, the USSR lost more than their fair share back in the 60's and 70's). Oh, have a much higher failure rate on other parts of a space program, so focus on the ar

      • I think you have many excellent points. The Russian economy is very depressed and they can launch cheaply by the fact that their engineers and other labor is very cheap, IIRC, fairly dissapointing wages at that. I thought it was the US legislatures that cancelled Apollo. That program didn't seem very rooted in science though, and given that the cost was $1B a trip in 1970 dollars, it was too expensive to justify for less than a week's stay. I hope that the private ventures find a cheap way to moon &
        • I thought it was the US legislatures that cancelled Apollo.

          Yes and No. The legislature put pressure on Nixon to balance the budget since he increased spending in so many other areas (esp in Vietnam). Nixon retaliated by going after the Democrats pet projects; Nasa was simply #1 on the hit parade. Technically, it was Nixon that killed Apollo, but it was under pressure from dems.

          To me, the biggest initial problem is cost to orbit, the amount of energy needed to loft a kilogram just into orbit is a major

          • by hughk (248126)

            As to the autopilot, I was under the impression that it was strictly landing, but I could be wrong. The truth is, that shuttle has the capability to be totally automated, but then what need would there be for pilots? And would you prefer that the person in control of your vehicle be in it with you? I would.

            Buran's one and only out of atmosphere misson was flown unmanned. The autopilot worked very well. To be fair, the life systems weren't complete at that point so no human could have gone aloft, but it was still an impressive achievement.

            Also Buran could accept detachable jet-packs that allowed full in-atmosphere flight. This means that the whole business of ferrying became much easier

      • Oh, pay your ppl about a fraction of what other countries make.

        People keep forgetting about this. It is a trend that is eating into many science and tech related fields. It is hard to see how technology can be our comparative advantage, except maybe the cutting-edge stuff that no other country wants because of the boom-bust cycles it dumps on the careers of angry voters.
             
    • by yoprst (944706)
      The lesson's gonna fall on deaf ears. Economical space program would be to outsource the launches (something Russians are good at) but build satellites (something Russians are very bad at, GLONASS included). But congressmen don't seem to think so, they favor protectionism....
  • Arianespace (Score:4, Informative)

    by Schapsmann (969126) on Saturday December 30, 2006 @12:05PM (#17409072)
    For those interested, Arianespace toped 5th with 5 Ariane5 (omg 555????) successful launches in 2006. http://www.arianespace.com/site/launchlog/launchlo g_sub_index.html [arianespace.com]
  • Apologies as my "C" key is busted, so I Cut and Copied the "C" from "Post Comment"!

    Seemingly the Russians with their outdated technology are winning the space race. The USA with all its money, trying for reusable spacecraft, lost!
    • by Torvaun (1040898)
      Then why is the letter c lowercase in the second paragraph?
      Seemingly the Russians with their outdated technology are winning the space race. The USA with all its money, trying for reusable spacecraft, lost!
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ScrewMaster (602015)
      Seemingly the Russians with their outdated technology are winning the space race. The USA with all its money, trying for reusable spacecraft, lost!

      I'm not sure what you mean by that, since we didn't just try for reusable spacecraft we actually built them. They're called "Space Shuttles". We've put lots of stuff into Earth orbit using the Shuttle fleet. Granted, the launch cost was far greater than originally projected, but show me a single government on this planet that doesn't incur major cost overruns
      • by knight17 (958062)
        I can't agree with the term "outdated" technology.Russians surely have technology that is equally brilliant of that of the United States, but most people in the west thinks that after Soviet Union's disintegration they are just in the list of "Developing Nations".Open your eyes and watch

        About the GPS system, who knows that is another strategy of the US ? Indians refused to use the GPS system of the US military and they are planning a new system.It may be true that the Russians do not have the kind of money
        • This has nothing to do with the relative brilliance of the scientists and engineers that came up with the various technologies the U.S. and Russia developed for space. Both sides accomplished amazing things and both had spectacular failures. It so happens that the Space Shuttle and the Global Positioning System were not among our failures, nor does the United States space program qualify as a failure, as the GP stated. You'd probably like to believe that, but it just isn't true.

          Nobody in the West who has
    • by Jugalator (259273)
      The space race is since long over.

      USA and Russia are nowadays fairly often collaborating in space and both have played major roles in getting much of the tech at ISS up and running.
    • by linders (822835)
      So you're the one to blame for the "ost Comment" bug!?
  • Europe is not cited, and certainly did more than 3 launches last year. It seems very strange...
  • Don't the Russians actually launch their space vehicles from Kazakhstan?

    No, I'm not just saying that because the scoop sounds like something Borat might have said.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    The article states they grabbed LAUNCHES. I'm not sure that has much to do with their space program.

    There are many launch bases in the world. Launch locations include Kaoru, French Gianna, Japan, China (at one time), and Hawaii. The bases are used to launch many types of commercial satellites. Private companies transport spacecraft all over the world to be launched. While the number of launches from Kaoru might be higher than the U.S. or elsewhere, the spacecraft being launched are mostly from other coun
    • by khallow (566160)

      There is the chicken and egg effect that higher launch frequency drives down launch costs since the high fixed costs can be divided between more launches. Launch costs do form a significant part of the overall cost of satellites and probes and they indirectly drive up the cost of the total system. If your probe is expensive to launch, then you want it to be more reliable to cover that cost. End result is that high launch costs result in expensive, high redundancy cargos.

      BTW, it takes more fuel to orbit fr

    • ..and yes, we are messy.

      Do you happen to know the source of the data for that picture? I know the U.S. operates some very large phased-array radars that track hundreds of thousands of objects.
      • by Kangburra (911213)
        Do you happen to know the source of the data for that picture? I know the U.S. operates some very large phased-array radars that track hundreds of thousands of objects.


        Try here [nationalgeographic.com]
  • Borat (Score:3, Informative)

    by RAMMS+EIN (578166) on Saturday December 30, 2006 @12:26PM (#17409234) Homepage Journal
    "The US is in second place, and China & Japan in third with six launches each. The Russian officials said that the launches of spacecrafts will be lesser than what this year has been seen."

    And, by the way, Kazakhstan is in first place! Little known secret is that rockets are actually launched from Baikonur, which is in Kazakhstan, greatest nation in the world! All other nations have inferior rockets!

        -- Borat
  • by Anonymous Coward
    As a NASA engineer who works on the expendable launch vehicle programs I can tell you that the comments made so far are born out of ignorance. NASA contracts launch programs to launch satellites for itself. ULA, ILS, etc. sell rides to space. Russia's launch services have a high degree of American engineering and participation (I have US citizen friends who work in Borat'ville).

    NASA makes satellites such as STEREO and then buys a ticket on a Delta II or an Atlas V. IT then oversees the launch process. Contr
    • NASA does rule the scientific field and does the best job in engineering spacecrafts for scientific purposes mostly because you got the bigger budget (but how long?). The Russians have always been superior to U.S when it comes to launching stuff into space and in my opinion they still are. And isn't that what really matters? But hey, maybe that's why the U.S is hurrying up the new Moon missions and replacing the shuttle with the good old rockets. Why on earth did you replace the Saturn family with the space
      • Now that's where the U.S system fails, everything has to be always done in such a high and mighty manner.

        What failure? The US designed the ISS. We are using the Space Shuttle to build it. The Russians have launched 2 small station modules. The US has launched 12. We were the first and only nation to make it to the moon, and we will be the first back with no competition in sight. Is any other country even attempting to build moon-capable launchers?

        • by khallow (566160)
          The sum of the manned space program after more than 50 years of work is three people in space and an old RLV that's one way or another will be phased out in a few years. There are big plans on the distant horizon, but little in play now. That is failure.

          And you're too optimistic about the US going back to the Moon. Recall that this fad has occured before. Whether or not this happens in the next couple of decades depends a lot on the next administration. It's not obvious to me that the Constellation progra

          • Homebrew launchers (Score:2, Insightful)

            by amightywind (691887)

            NASA is depending on high cost, low launch frequency homebrew launchers, and from their history with the Shuttles, they do a terrible job of getting back to work after a serious accident.

            The Ares I and Ares V designs draw from the launch technologies developed over the past 25 years. The SRB Ares I first stage is fantastically reliable and cost efficient. The parallel staged Ares V combines the best of lightweight shuttle tankage and newly developed LH2 RS-68 engines. It is a smaller simpler design than t

            • Mostly good points. A couple of things is that Orion is really not all that spacious. It really does not have the ability to go to Mars or even a NEO asteroid by itself. But I think that combined with BA-330, that it will be a good combo.

              I find it interesting that you think that the Ares I will be cost efficient. I was under the impression that it would be quite a bit more expensive for a small launcher compared to Deltas or even spaceX falcon.

              Just out of curiosity, is NASA even looking at Direct Launcher
              • A Delta IV heavy is not a good design. The high impulse (and cost) hydrogen booster stages are wasted by drag losses in the lower atmosphere. Without booster to core propellant crossfeed and a new upper stage I don't think it is even an option. An Atlas V with solid motors might work, barely. Atlas V Heavy and Falcon are more vaporous at this point than Ares I.

                I have no problem with the Direct Launcher proposal. It resembles shuttle derived concepts from the 1990's. But 2 SRBs a core vehicle and an upper

                • by khallow (566160)

                  Still the Delta IV sounds promising. They could always add solid boosters to get the rocket out of the atmosphere before turning up or even starting the first stage.

                  An Atlas V with solid motors might work, barely. Atlas V Heavy and Falcon are more vaporous at this point than Ares I.

                  IMHO that is an unfair comparison for Atlas V Heavy here. Ares I is in between the Atlas V Heavy and Falcon in terms of vaporware right now. Atlas V Heavy is based on expanding an existing launch platform and they already

            • by khallow (566160)

              As I mention in my other post [slashdot.org], I heavily favor using existing commercial launchers over developing new launch infrastructure. The Ares V is still useful because nothing comes close, but the same can't really be said for the Ares I.

              Looking at the consolidation of the two rocket lines (the Delta IV and Atlas V variants) that can come close to the Ares I, I see that they've been consolidated into a single monopoly, the United Launch Alliance [wikipedia.org] or ULA. That's not a sign of health. My take is that it's much more

        • by papar (893096)
          I'm not doubting the United States' current engineering superiority. What I'm doubting is the way things are being done. I wouldn't call the ISS a success. Yes, it is a great achievement in manned spaceflights and perhaps it will some day be useful when it comes to planning manned flights to other worlds but so far very little has been achieved. And why use shuttles to build it when you could have used just a few Saturn V rockets to get all the modules and structures to space. The shuttle is great for tran
          • And by the way, there are several countries with plans of getting their men to Moon. Russia, China, India and maybe even the Europeans. Russia and China clearly have the resources to do it if they choose to and who knows about the Indians.

            One wonders why China and Russia, now flush with profits though adopting the U.S. style capitalism they fought for 50 years, do not aggressively build a greater capability. In America we say, "show me the money!" They aren't.

        • by madcow_bg (969477)
          > The US designed the ISS. We are using the Space Shuttle to build it. The Russians have launched 2 small station modules.
          As true as it is, don't forget that when the ISS was just two modules the Russians landed MIR, because it was 11 years in space. :)
        • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          What failure? The US designed the ISS. We are using the Space Shuttle to build it.

          The ISS is spectacularily behind schedule. Because you are using Space Shuttles to build it. You also seem to forget that the ISS is a international project. Mainly because the US wanted to draw on Russian experience. They designed the Mir. Remember that one? ( Try searching for "Zvezda" or "Zarya" )

          The Russians have launched 2 small station modules. The US has launched 12.

          This is because the modules are designed for hit

          • They designed the Mir. Remember that one? ( Try searching for "Zvezda" or "Zarya" )

            You seem to forget the we (the US) have seen inside Mir. It was a carnival of danger and reckless management. This recklessness persists to this day with Russia's sleazy instance to fly moviestars in space for profit. Look up some of the interviews of US astronauts who spent time there. I for one am unimpressed.

            Well - the russians reached the moon first actually. And the reason that you will be first back has to do with t

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by khallow (566160)
        The budget for the Saturn V wasn't sustainable. Neither was the high launch rate (roughly 40 Shuttle launches per year) that the Shuttles were supposed to have. Now, NASA could have done something like Ares I and V back then. Ie, a smallish manned launcher and a heavy lifter designed to be cheaper to manufacture and launch than a Saturn V. But they didn't.
        • Now, NASA could have done something like Ares I and V back then. Ie, a smallish manned launcher and a heavy lifter designed to be cheaper to manufacture and launch than a Saturn V.

          IIRC, there was a smaller Saturn, the IB, which was used for Earth orbital missions - Apollo 7 and 9, the ASTP, and visits to Skylab. Not sure what the economics looked like on that as compared to Ares, though. As for the heavy lifter, you're probably right there; there's not much commercial use for such a colossal rocket, and s

          • by khallow (566160)
            I'm not sure about the price of the Titan IV, but that seems to fit. It was produced in the late 80's (as a response to the Challenger disaster I gather), but IMHO there's no obvious reason that they couldn't have developed it in the mid-70's.
    • All that's well and good. So why are you guys so terrified of flying astronauts on Atlas and Delta? Instead of slight modifications to existing rockets, you are rolling out two entire new lines of vehicles that might or might not have the advertised capabilities. Existing EELV are no more dangerous than the proposed ARES I and V, and they exist today. We could begin the lunar program now, in 20 ton chunks, instead of waiting 15+ years to do it in 100 ton chunks.

      Payload neutrality, commercial sourcing, base-
      • If it's about jobs, just offer buyouts to all those Shuttle workers. It doesn't much matter because a US commercial project is going to beat you guys back to Luna, using US and Russian hardware.

        Oh, we can just fire them - they're only contractors. The problem is that the executives live large off of those operations, and those executives have friends in congress. Those friends in congress also know that deleting a program means losing jobs in their district, most likely, because the programs are carefully p
  • by Rix (54095) on Saturday December 30, 2006 @03:00PM (#17410674)
    It's what they do.

    On the Russian side, it sounds like much of that activity is from commercial satellite launches. Useful, but not all that interesting. On the American side, a big chunk is pointless, outdated shuttle launches. Some of those will be useful, such as fixing the Hubble, but most will just be the make work project that is the IIS.
    • Re: (Score:1, Redundant)

      by chris_eineke (634570)
      Well, I for one welcome our billions-of-dollar firework overlords.
      </black humour>
    • by rice_web (604109)
      Some of those will be useful, such as fixing the Hubble, but most will just be the make work project that is the IIS.
      Sheesh, I know Apache's the better server, but IIS can't be that bad.
  • by davek (18465) on Saturday December 30, 2006 @03:33PM (#17410918) Homepage Journal
    I am not surprised at all by this statistic. Every few months or so I've been hearning something about russia's space program in the major news sources (like CNN); this while the US space program was completly grounded.

    Sometimes, it almost seems like beating the Russians to the moon killed the US space program more than anything else. It meant that we no longer had anything to proove, and could just sit back and watch space-planes evolve on their own. Well, that ain't happening.

    What would happen if Russia became the first nation to have a semi-permanent lunar settlement? That I could see happening.
  • Google tells me 24 billion Russian rubles = 911.085634 million U.S. dollars. The poorly written blog has inaccurate information...
    • Probably written by a NASA after feeling bad. They do have a history of doing piss poor conversions, or just none at all. .
  • Unless I miss my guess, Russia hasn't trailed in number of launches per year in probably 30 years. This is roughly their normal percentage.

  • Part of Russia's need for more orbiting hardware is because of its far northern location. When you are close to the poles, it is impossible to use geosynchronous satellites. There is just too much atmosphere to cut through when the satellite is that low in the sky. Instead, Russia must use constellations of three satllites in a http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Molniya_orbit [wikipedia.org] Molniya orbit to accomplish what the US can do with one. I'm not saying this accounts for all the volume, but it's certainly some of it
  • Russian Scientists Announce Six-Month Delay In Carving New Space Station

    http://www.theonion.com/content/node/28997 [theonion.com]

  • i noticed several caustic remarks that we (Russia i mean coz i'm russian) use Baikonur for our launches. Yeah, we sometimes use it, but we pay $115billions for using it and we rented it up to 2050 by the way ( http://www.interfax.ru/r/B/politics/23.html?id_is sue=11652093/ [interfax.ru]). And the second, more important. 80% of our commercial launches we execute from our own Plesetzk space centre. Though it's more difficult/expensive and less profitable. And as to our research programs: two days ago we started experiment t
  • Sounds like this author only counted spacecraft sellers like International Launch Services and Sealaunch. If you only count the stuff that lifted off, Russia produced all of it except 3 shuttle launches, some Delta II launches, some Arianne V launches, and a Minotaur launch.

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