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Further Details From Soyuz Mishap 190

Posted by Soulskill
from the remind-me-never-to-crash-my-spaceship dept.
fyc brings us some information from Universe Today about what happened to Soyuz TMA-11 when it re-entered the atmosphere late last week. Reports indicate that a failure of explosive bolts to separate the Soyuz modules delayed the re-entry and oriented the capsule so the hatch was taking most of the heat, rather than the heat shields. CNN reports that the crew was in 'severe danger.' They experienced forces of up to 8.2 gravities. NASA officials have voiced their approval of how Russia handled the crisis. They expect to rely heavily on Soyuz spacecraft once the shuttles are retired in 2010.
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Further Details From Soyuz Mishap

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  • GAO Report (Score:5, Interesting)

    by stoolpigeon (454276) * <bittercode@gmail> on Friday April 25, 2008 @04:12PM (#23202310) Homepage Journal
    It is interesting that the GAO has concerns about the ability of Soyuz to take the shuttle's place. [orlandosentinel.com] And anything else with capabilities that approach the shuttle's are basically vaporware at this point. I think that it is not out of line to ask if the ISS is going to make it. I'm not saying that because I think it wont, I just don't think it is to difficult to imagine very realistic scenarios where it does not.
    • by rijrunner (263757)
      The reality is that the private sector has been quietly moved into manned space activity to the point that an official NASA vehicle will likely be a white elephant when, and if, it ever flies.

      Shuttle was always a stretch in the first place. They could have built a number of designs which would still be viable. It was the inclusion of a fairly large cargo bay to a manned ferry vehicle which made Shuttle economically non-viable. They could have built a smaller winged reusable ferry for the crew. The Rutan des
    • The reason there isn't anything to replace what the Shuttle can do was because the Shuttle was a bad idea anyway. One of the few significants thing the Shuttle did that really can't be done is return large objects from orbit, but that was only done a very small number of times. It's much better to have heavy lifters and human ferrying be separate vehicle types, rather than try to do do everything and then some in one craft.

      The other major thing the Shuttle did that can't be done by other craft yet, is to
  • In soviet Russia, bolts explode you!
  • by timeOday (582209) on Friday April 25, 2008 @04:14PM (#23202336)
    It will be interesting to see public outcry when one of the Russian craft craters with Americans onboard. This will inevitably happen, even if the Soyuz is safer than anything America has (which it probably is). Then we'll all have to be dragged through a lot of media-driven "soul-searching" about whether it was smart to "outsource NASA" (you heard it here first).
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      And everyone with a brain will point out that more americans have died in american shuttle mishaps than have died in russian shuttle mishaps. Space is inherently dangerous, everyone knows it, and the public outcry against the shuttle disasters up to this point hasn't been that severe; I doubt it'll be too severe when an American dies on a foreign craft.
      • by Uncle Focker (1277658) on Friday April 25, 2008 @04:27PM (#23202464)
        Never underestimate the power of xenophobia on any public mob.
        • by inviolet (797804) <slashdot&ideasmatter,org> on Friday April 25, 2008 @05:03PM (#23202870) Journal

          Never underestimate the power of xenophobia on any public mob.

          I know you're being flippant, but xenophobia can be very rational.

          Some cultures area more productive than others, and they all compete with each other for resources -- consisting mostly of land, energy, and minds. Sometimes that competition devolves to open war, other times to guerilla war, but nowadays mostly to ideological subversion. The current "all cultures are equivalent" drumbeat is an example of this kind of attack.

          When one culture has developed an efficient pattern -- one capable of producing vast amounts of safety and comfort and making it available in some proportion to all of its members -- then it is rational for that culture to adjust its pattern to breed resistance to changes that other cultures try to introduce into it. Xenophobia is probably the cheapest way to mobilize that kind of resistance en masse.

          • by msimm (580077)

            Xenophobia is probably the cheapest way to mobilize that kind of resistance en masse.

            And usually mindless. Lets assume for a second that most of the people decrying systemic xenophobia are simply asking that people think for themselves, in which case xenophobia and the ignorant ideologies that tend to go hand-in-hand are both unnecessary and dangerous.

            If we think we should be able to sustain our own drumbeat indefinably. But unfortunately, we aren't always encouraged to think.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Planesdragon (210349)

            but xenophobia can be very rational
            Nope. Xenophobia is by definition irrational. It can however, be productive, and a rational mind can reasonably foster Xenophobia for survival's sake. But Xenophobia is not, itself, rational.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by sokoban (142301)

        And everyone with a brain will point out that more americans have died in american shuttle mishaps than have died in russian shuttle mishaps.
        And everyone with a brain will point out that there have been no manned russian shuttle flights.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buran_(spacecraft)
    • by ceoyoyo (59147) on Friday April 25, 2008 @04:31PM (#23202530)
      Maybe they'll decide not to outsource NASA then.

      I expect the attitude might change somewhat when China and India start putting people on the moon too. Then we'll find out whether the United States is in inevitable decline or whether there's some life left in the old empire.
    • by DerekLyons (302214) <fairwater AT gmail DOT com> on Friday April 25, 2008 @05:12PM (#23202958) Homepage

      It will be interesting to see public outcry when one of the Russian craft craters with Americans onboard. This will inevitably happen, even if the Soyuz is safer than anything America has (which it probably is).

      The safety differences between Soyuz and Shuttle are statistically insignificant. Unless you engage in shady practices like not counting Soyuz-1 and Soyuz-10 "because they were a long time ago", etc... By that that metric one should be able to discard Challenger as well - at which point Shuttle's safety is still equal to or better than any other booster excepting only Soyuz. Even so, the difference is still statistically insignificant because neither vehicle has a enough flights to create valid statistics.
       
      Myself, I'm not surprised at the latest Soyuz incident. Soyuz has a long history of incidents and near accidents.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by moosesocks (264553)

        The safety differences between Soyuz and Shuttle are statistically insignificant. Unless you engage in shady practices like not counting Soyuz-1 and Soyuz-10 "because they were a long time ago", etc... By that that metric one should be able to discard Challenger as well - at which point Shuttle's safety is still equal to or better than any other booster excepting only Soyuz. Even so, the difference is still statistically insignificant because neither vehicle has a enough flights to create valid statistics.

        No, we discount Soyuz-1 and Soyuz-10, because they were completely different craft than the capsules that are flying today.

        And, yes. I think you actually might be able to discount Challenger, because the fundamental design "bug" that caused it to happen was fixed.

        However, one of the chief "safety" features of Soyuz is the robustness of the basic capsule itself, which has allowed it to protect the crew, even in the event of the catastrophic failure of several of its systems (one of them exploded on the lau

        • However, one of the chief "safety" features of Soyuz is the robustness of the basic capsule itself, which has allowed it to protect the crew, even in the event of the catastrophic failure of several of its systems (one of them exploded on the launchpad, and the crew survived).

          Clarification -- it was the booster that exploded on the pad, and after (by a few seconds) the Soyuz had safely blasted away from the booster with its escape rockets (as it was supposed to). The flaw here wasn't in the Soyuz itself

        • Got anything other than Soyuz Fanboi/Shuttle Hater propaganda? Because you haven't the foggiest clue what you are talking about.
  • by node159 (636992) on Friday April 25, 2008 @04:15PM (#23202340)
    Sounds very similar to the Soyuz 5 rentry (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soyuz_5), would have been quite an ordeal. For more 'interesting' reentries have a look at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_space_disasters [wikipedia.org]
  • It's interesting that it reentered safely without using the heat shield. What part of the design helped that?
    • Blind chance?
    • by khallow (566160) on Friday April 25, 2008 @04:27PM (#23202470)
      The frame of the Soyuz is made of titanium. Someone had linked to a list of Soyuz accidents before, and I recall that the titanium shell has enabled the vehicle to survive a flawed reentry before (I think it might have been a hole burned in the heatshield or another skewed reentry).
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by LWATCDR (28044)
        Titanium is good but not that good.
        Odds are that the Soyuz righted it's self at some point. Also I am not sure what hatch took the heat. Does the Soyuz have a side hatch of just the top hatch?
        If it was the top hatch they are very lucky that the chute system didn't fail from the heat.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by sznupi (719324)
          Perhaps not "that good", but apparently it's good enough to allow survival until service module breaks off due to heat/aerodynamic stress in case of separation failure.

          And Soyuz has two hatches - on the side solely to exit the capsule after landing, and top one connecting the capsule with orbital module; I guess the latter one took the heat (as heppened 39 years ago during Soyuz 5 reentry when service module also failed to separate - aerodynamically stable position for Soyuz in such configuration is "top ha
          • by LWATCDR (28044)
            As I said it didn't reenter without a heat shield. Yes it was good enough but there where also very lucky that they chute pyros didn't cook off, the chutes didn't melt or burn, or a few dozen other potential failure.
            Titanium is a good material but as far as metals goes it isn't at the top of the heat resistant metal list. It just beats the daylights out of Aluminum.
  • good job Russia is so big then...
  • Russian hardware (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Bombula (670389) on Friday April 25, 2008 @04:27PM (#23202472)
    Give me Russian-built aerospace hardware any day. Their stuff is built brick-shithouse tough. Re-entry without the heatshield? Astonishing. I've heard lots of stuff over the years about how tough the old Migs and SUs were as well, and I think the attitude would translate well to space exploration. I think NASA's approach of building craft out of gold foil and tissue paper in clean rooms, trying to turn every last ounce of the payload into instrumentation is misguided. How much does a Soyuz laucnh cost compared to a shuttle launch? Fuel and other materials are the cheapest part of the overall cost of spaceflight, so the logical thing would seem to be to build simple, cheap, super-tough craft and just launch dozens of them rather than investing heavily in individual craft. And why not launch missions with a fleet of craft, rather than just a single vehicle? When we do launch more than one vehicle, it is months apart as in the case of the Mars rovers. Doesn't make much sense.

    There's a moral that applies here... how does it go again? Something about not putting all your eggs in one basket, if I recall correctly...

    • by Uncle Focker (1277658) on Friday April 25, 2008 @04:29PM (#23202494)
      If you want to talk about durability and toughness you just need one word: AK-47.
      • Phantom II. There was a sturdy beast. A friend who was ground crew talked about picking small trees out of what landed, replacing unheard of percentages of missing wingspan and getting them back in the air.

        I've also head it reported that the sum total of criteria for certification to flight, for things going on a Soyuz, can be "did the check clear?".

    • Re:Russian hardware (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Colonel Korn (1258968) on Friday April 25, 2008 @04:41PM (#23202644)
      Having spoken with two ex-Mig flight trainers who had also flown F-16s, my impression of their impression was that they loved the potential of the Migs, but were always nervous that the electronics would get them killed. American aircraft have had system crashes that have endangered (and probably in cases I don't know about, killed) pilots, but in India it was considered common for Mig pilots to die because instruments went glitchy at a bad time (like in low visibility situations). Maybe this was somewhat specific to Indian Migs, though. One of the pilots told me that his dream plane would be a Mig design built in the US.
      • Re:Russian hardware (Score:5, Interesting)

        by phliar (87116) on Friday April 25, 2008 @06:33PM (#23203590) Homepage

        By "electronics would get them killed" do you mean in combat?

        My brother is a MiG-29 (and Su-27) pilot. (He has also flown F-16s on a USAF detachment.) On a landing approach in the MiG-29, he hit a truck that was parked a little too close to the runway. They had to replace the wheels and tires but otherwise the aircraft was fine. The truck was totalled.

    • Re:Russian hardware (Score:4, Informative)

      by AsnFkr (545033) on Friday April 25, 2008 @04:51PM (#23202748) Homepage Journal

      NASA's approach of building craft out of gold foil and tissue paper in clean rooms, trying to turn every last ounce of the payload into instrumentation is misguided.
      I agree with what you said about the sillyness that is the Space Shuttle "reusable" program, but you mention gold foil and tissue paper, which I can assume was a jab at Apollo's LM. In that case the weight of the spacecraft was VERY VERY specific, and the "gold foil" was the best way to control the heat from the thrusters of the craft without adding a ton of extra weight and was actually a pretty slick way about it. Sometimes lightweight spacecraft with instrumentation on every inch is a good thing. That said, fuck the shuttle.
    • Re:Russian hardware (Score:5, Informative)

      by LWATCDR (28044) on Friday April 25, 2008 @04:57PM (#23202798) Homepage Journal
      Well they didn't reenter without a heat shield. It looks like the hit sideways until the propulsion section broke away and then righted themselves. At least that is what it looks like from the pictures I have seen.
      Your comments about Russian aerospace hardware is at best optimistic and based more in folk lore than anything.
      A lot of Russian jet aircraft are simple but pretty fragile. US aircraft tend to be pretty complex but very rugged. The Mig-21 was made of tissue paper compared to the F-4, F-105, A-6 and or F-100.
      Even the F-15 has huge kill ratio VS every Migs.
      There was at least one F-15 that had a mid-air and lost a wing! That plane made it home!
      Yea US aircraft tend to require more man hours and you have to have more skills and tool than your average oil change tech but they tend to be very rugged and reliable.

      • Re:Russian hardware (Score:4, Informative)

        by evanbd (210358) on Friday April 25, 2008 @05:34PM (#23203124)
        Indeed. Here's one of the better writeups [f-16.net].
      • IAF F-15 Mishap (Score:5, Informative)

        by clbyjack81 (597903) on Friday April 25, 2008 @05:40PM (#23203186) Homepage
        There was at least one F-15 that had a mid-air and lost a wing! That plane made it home!

        The incident to which you refer was a mid-air collision in an Israeli Air Force training flight. Here is a link [youtube.com] to the History Channel interview with the pilot. After McDonnell Douglas analyzed the accident, they concluded that the F-15's lifting body design allowed it to remain airborne on one wing, given enough speed.

        Gigantic kudos to the pilot who brought that plane home safely! After a full investigation into the accident, a new wing was fitted, and the fighter returned to service.

        How's that for American aircraft ruggedness! (Well, in the F-15's case anyway)

      • by rbanffy (584143)
        "There was at least one F-15 that had a mid-air and lost a wing! That plane made it home!"

        Losing a wing seems pretty much fatal accident. I don't doubt it made home as long as it was directly above it, but the rate of descent would certainly be a concern and most definitely seems unsurvivable.
    • by tetromino (807969) on Friday April 25, 2008 @04:59PM (#23202824)
      It's not so much a difference between Russians and Americans as between old-fashioned and modern engineering practices.

      Back in the old days: "We don't fully understand the physics of this thing, so let's make this part 5 times stronger than it has any reason to be, just in case shit goes seriously wrong."
      *kaboom*
      "Heh, good thing we had that margin of error!"

      Modern engineering: "We can shave 0.37% off the cost of the final product by replacing this part with cheaper, lighter materials. The computer model tells us this is perfectly safe to do."
      *KABOOM*
      "Oops, I guess our computer model didn't account for turbulence."

    • Re:Russian hardware (Score:5, Informative)

      by DerekLyons (302214) <fairwater AT gmail DOT com> on Friday April 25, 2008 @05:30PM (#23203092) Homepage

      Give me Russian-built aerospace hardware any day. Their stuff is built brick-shithouse tough. Re-entry without the heatshield?

      They didn't re-enter without the heatshield. They started re-entry improperly oriented and properly oriented the craft at virtually the last possible instant. That isn't tough, that's damn lucky.
       
       

      How much does a Soyuz laucnh cost compared to a shuttle launch?

      Soyuz is much cheaper than a Shuttle per launch. But considering it takes something like four Soyuz launches and four Progress launches to incompletely replace a single Shuttle mission to ISS, it shouldn't be surprising that it is cheaper - lower capability almost always implies lower costs. I say 'incompletely' because Soyuz/Progress cannot deliver station modules, cannot deliver external cargo, cannot deliver ISS racks, cannot return hardware... etc.. etc... All of which the Shuttle can do. (Not to mention that the CBM hatches available to Shuttle carried cargo containers are nearly four times as big as the APAS hatches used the Soyuz/Progress.)
       
       

      the logical thing would seem to be to build simple, cheap, super-tough craft and just launch dozens of them rather than investing heavily in individual craft.

      If only cheap and super-tough weren't mutually incompatible.
       
       

      When we do launch more than one vehicle, it is months apart as in the case of the Mars rovers. Doesn't make much sense.

      It makes perfect sense - because assembling and launching them in serial (as opposed to parallel) means you can apply lessons learned from assembling the first to assembling the second. You can 'promote' and 'demoted' hardware from one vehicle to the next to ease schedule pressure. Etc... Etc... Launching them at the same time means assembling them at the same time - and for one-off (or severely limited production) vehicles that means more expensive, more likely to fail, more likely to slip schedule, etc... etc... Without providing an iota more science return.
  • Always thought that business of 3 interconnecting modules would be the weak spot & it is. That's malfunction #3 with it. They could swap one disposable module for a more robust docking mechanism & a bigger crew capsule but they won't.

    • by AsnFkr (545033)
      Malfunction #3 out of what...98 manned flights? Not *that* bad of a track record. At least they didn't mount their payload the the side of a rocket and leave a HUGE heat shield exposed for the entire flight, including launch, right...right?
    • Always thought that business of 3 interconnecting modules would be the weak spot & it is. That's malfunction #3 with it. They could swap one disposable module for a more robust docking mechanism & a bigger crew capsule but they won't.

      Are you saying that the interface between the propulsion module and descent module is the problem here? Every capsule design works this way. It worked very well for apollo for example.

      I don't see how else you can operate anyway. The propulsion/service module protects the heat shield. It contains retro rockets which have to be behind the heat shield.

      Its not hard to get explosive bolts to work reliably. Its just that the russians haven't worked that bit out yet.

    • by mzs (595629)
      The reason that they do not do this is that then they would need more of the heavy heat shielding for the now larger combined crew and reentry modules.
  • Built tough. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by TripMaster Monkey (862126) on Friday April 25, 2008 @04:30PM (#23202516)
    I'm continually amazed by how robust and dependable the Soyuz modules are.

    They're the Volvos of the space program.
    • by CompMD (522020)
      Volvo is already in the aviation business. Now just imagine if they started building spacecraft. :)
      • Wikipedia: On the space propulsion side, Volvo Aero is the worlds largest manufacturer of combustion chambers and nozzles for commercial launch vehicles. Since the 1950s the company have been the major engine supplier to the Swedish Air Force.

        However it is now a completely different company from Volvo Cars, which is owned by Ford since some years ago.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Sique (173459)

      They're the Volvos of the space program.
      They use turbo charged Renault-engines?
  • Anonymous Coward (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    The "hatch first" story is already in doubt, latest info says separation of the entry module was delayed, it entered sideways and computer thus went to ballistic mode after a certain time and was in said mode when it finally separated.

    I just read a forum where knowledgeable people translate from a reliable known guy on a russian forum. Not much official has yet been revealed.

    Details here [nasaspaceflight.com]
    • by damburger (981828)
      If it was a ballistic re-entry, then for as long as they had the service module stuck to their rear end they would've had no choice but to go hatch first as that is the most aerodynamically stable position of the two modules, as was discovered during the Soyuz 5 re-entry, which if I understand correctly was an almost identical malfunction. This is why capsules>>spaceplanes, and sadly its taken NASA 7 deaths to figure this out.
  • by bigfootindy (1184927) on Friday April 25, 2008 @04:47PM (#23202706)
    There's an alternative to waiting 5 years after the final shuttle launch - check out http://www.directlauncher.com./ [www.directlauncher.com] It'd be ready 2 years after the final shuttle launch and it would cost a heck of a lot less than Ares...
    • There's an alternative to waiting 5 years after the final shuttle launch - check out http://www.directlauncher.com/ [directlauncher.com] It'd be ready 2 years after the final shuttle launch and it would cost a heck of a lot less than Ares...

      It's very easy to make a paper rocket cheaper, faster, and better than another paper rocket - let alone cheaper, faster, and better than a real rocket. The real challenge is building a real rocket that matches the performance, cost, and schedule of the paper one.

      Ask Elon Mu

  • by Shadow-isoHunt (1014539) on Friday April 25, 2008 @04:49PM (#23202734) Homepage
    Now please?

    "We seem to have gotten away from our concentration on science," said U.S. Rep. Nick Lampson, D- Texas.
  • As with most things, you learn far more when something goes wrong, than when it all goes right. By these standards the February 1997 fire aboard Mir and Apollo 13 have taught us more about how to survive space than any other missions.
  • They expect to rely heavily on Soyuz spacecraft once the shuttles are retired in 2010.

    I'd say they have damn little choice.... Yeah I'm old enough to remember Mercury, Gemini and Apollo. I seriously doubt that there's one person in Washington DC today that has a tenth of that kind of vision.

    What are supposed to be "developing" nations are heading to space, and the U.S. doesn't seem to have a clue that they're being left behind.
    • by Shakrai (717556) *

      I seriously doubt that there's one person in Washington DC today that has a tenth of that kind of vision.

      Oh, there's a few people with that kind of vision. The only problem is that you have to get your vision past Congress and the President. Our Congress is so dysfunctional that they can't even hold a hearing about baseball without turning it into a partisan affair and our President.... well, let's not go there ;)

      I'm guessing that it'll take a Sputnik like shock to shake us out of our complacency. One only hopes that it isn't too late for us when it comes.....

  • They expect to rely heavily on Soyuz spacecraft once the shuttles are retired in 2010.

    One bit of hope is that NASA announced a few days ago that instead of using the Russian Progress vehicles for cargo transport to the ISS after 2010, they'll instead use US commercial providers. They haven't yet committed to using commercial providers for crew transport, but I imagine they're waiting to see how the sector performs first.

    NASA Aims for All-Commercial ISS Resupply [aviationweek.com]

    NASA will base U.S. resupply of the International Space Station on the untried vehicles of the Commercial Orbital Transportation System (COTS) program, and will not buy cargo services from Russia after the space shuttle fleet retires.

    U.S. space agency officials are set to begin discussions with Congress this week on continued use of Russia's Soyuz crew-launch vehicles following the final shuttle flight in 2010. But they won't ask for permission to keep using Russian Progress vehicles.

    Instead, NASA plans to pay a U.S. commercial provider for delivery of at least 20 metric tons of cargo to the ISS between 2010 and 2015. Under the COTS program, SpaceX and Orbital Sciences Corp. are splitting almost $500 million in NASA seed money intended to spur development of a commercial route to the ISS. ...

    Administrator Michael Griffin has sent a proposed amendment to Capitol Hill specifically excluding Progress vehicles from a request to continue using Soyuz capsules to deliver crew to the ISS after the shuttle retires. Griffin had no immediate comment, but William Gerstenmaier, associate administrator for spaceflight operations, says NASA believes one of the commercial vehicles in development under the COTS program eventually will be able to meet its ISS-supply needs.

    Until a COTS vehicle is available, Gerstenmaier says, the U.S. agency plans to rely on prepositioned spare parts to be sent up before the shuttle retires. Two "contingency flights" among the 10 remaining shuttle missions to the ISS are slated to deliver station spares too large to get to orbit otherwise, he says.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by FleaPlus (6935)
      I also just came across some interesting related commentary here:

      http://www.hobbyspace.com/nucleus/index.php?itemid=5989&catid=49 [hobbyspace.com]

      NASA needs the Falcon 9 [spacex.com]/Dragon [spacex.com] combo to attain crew service capability if the agency is to have a US based option for sending astronauts to the ISS sometime during the period between the end of the Shuttle program in 2010 and the start of Ares I/Orion operations in 2015. So far, all the designs reviews (e.g. here [spacex.com], here [spacex.com], and here [spacex.com]) have found no fundamental flaws in either the Falcon 9 or Dragon designs. Assuming aerospace engineering does not involve black magic, this should mean something. Currently COTS is funding F9/Dragon (and also the Orbital Taurus II [orbital.com]) only for cargo services. Increasing COTS funding to accelerate development of the Dragon [aviationweek.com] for crew transport would seem a reasonable gamble, especially considering it would cost a fraction of what is going into the Ares/Orion program.

      On the other hand, if Falcon 9/Dragon succeeds there will most likely arise overwhelming pressure to kill Ares I/Orion to save billions dollars in further development and operational costs. (NASA could alter its lunar exploration architecture to use the Dragon instead of Orion, e.g. see this powerful option [blogspot.com].) Jeff Foust and Rand Simberg comment on recent statements from Mike Griffin as he tries to deal with this situation:
      /-- COTS contradictions? - Space Politics [spacepolitics.com]
      /-- Griffin's COTS Contradictions - Transterrestrial Musings [transterrestrial.com]

      [Update: Jon Goff also discusses the gap and COTS issues: Gap Math - Selenian Boondocks - Apr.8.08 [blogspot.com].]

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by zippthorne (748122)
      Well that's stupid. Everyone knows the space station is like one of those buddhist sand painting thingies. It's about the building, not the having.
  • The first 3 man crew was killed when the capsule depressurized on reentry. The Soviets took a 2 man capsule, shoved a third seat in which left no room for pressure suits. Soviets lost 2 2 man crews as well. The other fatalities are still classified. Also their moon rocket the N-1 exploded on liftoff and killed the flight crew and the ground crew. And in the early days of the ICBM program a launchpad explosion killed more than a hundred people on the ground.

You can do this in a number of ways. IBM chose to do all of them. Why do you find that funny? -- D. Taylor, Computer Science 350

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