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EU and Russia Show Off New Lunar Spacecraft Design 184

schliz writes "Space flight planners have unveiled a new spaceship design for a joint EU/Russian trip to the Moon. The EU will be building the crew capsule, using technology developed for the automatic cargo system used to supply the International Space Station." First one to link to decent pics (the article has none) wins undying gratitude and a warm feeling inside.
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EU and Russia Show Off New Lunar Spacecraft Design

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  • by Mordok-DestroyerOfWo (1000167) on Sunday July 27, 2008 @12:06AM (#24354999)
    Here []
  • Undying gratitude?? (Score:3, Informative)

    by conlaw (983784) on Sunday July 27, 2008 @12:08AM (#24355007)
    I'll just settle for the warm feeling, thanks. []
  • by bogaboga (793279) on Sunday July 27, 2008 @12:14AM (#24355033)

    "...The EU will be building the crew capsule, using technology developed for the automatic cargo system used to supply the International Space Station..."

    I thought it is important for Slashdotters to know that when it comes to automatic docking of spacecraft in outer space, Russians have been doing this for decades without much fan fare!

    I just do not understand why we in the west always appear to get "full of it" when it comes to technology issues. Why?

    Even when we 100% relied on the Russian Soyuz technology not many years ago, this fact did not capture headlines in Russia. If it were the other way round, I am sure CNN, ABC and FOX would inundate us with the story as if nothing else mattered.

  • by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Sunday July 27, 2008 @12:18AM (#24355061)
    Not so very long ago -- though it has been a few years -- the U.S. had to take over and dock Apollo and Soyuz capsules that were scheduled to be docked by the Russians, because the Russian equipment failed to handle the job. The Russians tried for like 2 hours, and could not get the two capsules to meet up within tolerance. The U.S. crew took over with the American equipment, and the job was done in 10 minutes.

    Nothing against the Russians, but their technology is still not a match for our own. Even though that was some years back, that is still simply a fact.
  • Examples (Score:3, Informative)

    by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Sunday July 27, 2008 @12:38AM (#24355201)
    I do not think any of these are the circumstance to which I referred, but here are a few examples to back up what I say anyway. I believe one of them refers to the same situation as one of the others, but that still makes 3: [] [] [] [] I do not know where you got your information, but the fact is that the United States has always had better docking technology than the Soviet Union. In fact, the Soviets have a rather poor record at it.
  • Simply not true (Score:3, Informative)

    by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Sunday July 27, 2008 @12:41AM (#24355227)
    Looks to me that my food costs have been about 165% what they were last year, and I don't know about you, but most peoples' paychecks are not 65% higher than they were at this time last year.

    Not to mention gas prices, and other things as well.

    If you call that "as cheap as it has ever been", then if I were you I would pull out my calculator and start re-figuring.
  • by im_thatoneguy (819432) on Sunday July 27, 2008 @02:01AM (#24355681)

    I've worked with a large aerospace company's Advanced Research Group before. There is a LOT of waste involved. You will have no argument from me on that one. It's largely a question of management though not inspiration. They were all really excited about what they were doing... but completely lacking in focus. The Manhattan project succeeded because it had incredible leadership and a very clear directive. The amazing leadership directed a large number of theoretical scientists to focus their efforts on practical applications.

    If you know what you want and you actually work towards it you can save a lot of money. It's vague, objectiveness directives which often result in slow progress. That's the problem with the open source movement now. Designing by committee is spectacularly wasteful because everything gets reinvented 10 times. Ubuntu is bringing focus and progress to desktop linux by actually providing leadership.

    If you want to talk pure time/energy/efficiency open source development of a rocket is infinitely more wasteful than a handful of brilliant engineers working while all of those open source contributors sat on bicycles and powered generators.

  • Paradox (Score:2, Informative)

    by ndnspongebob (942859) on Sunday July 27, 2008 @02:41AM (#24355887)
    Fact of the matter is, we live in a paradox, we compete for money, but also for technology, and power, it is all a competition. We hurt each other for it and the sense of having everyone work together is the highest ideal that we try to work through laws, but it just isn't the case because certain people want to be "better" than other people by having more material possessions and the social status that accompanies it. Why do we have money that separates us? the same reason we have achievement on xbox360 and trophies on ps3 and why we have different levels of degrees in college. In the end, just look in the mirror, although we do incredible things, we are from a family of monkeys but we are too proud to admit it.
  • by Rakishi (759894) on Sunday July 27, 2008 @03:19AM (#24356013)

    Well they do explode on takeoff sometimes and they do fail almost catastrophically on reentry even more often. They however have a simple enough design that allows for enough safety features/margins to not kill the crew in the process. Some of the crew may get permanent injuries and never fly again (from the G forces) but they live.

  • by Thagg (9904) <> on Sunday July 27, 2008 @03:37AM (#24356055) Journal

    You know -- sadly what you are referring to was the Apollo-Soyuz mission of the mid 80's. The Russian KURS automated docking system is used all the time on the space station now, and it has worked flawlessly every time.

    It also worked perfectly on the Mir. They did have a docking mishap on the Mir, but that as when they tried to do a manual docking.


  • by meringuoid (568297) on Sunday July 27, 2008 @05:39AM (#24356487)
    what you are referring to was the Apollo-Soyuz mission of the mid 80's

    1975, actually, the last American flight until the first Space Shuttle launch in 1981.

  • by mangu (126918) on Sunday July 27, 2008 @06:31AM (#24356735)

    not the US since the Iraq war has sucked up all our money

    And it would be interesting to note that the US stopped the Apollo moon project in the 1970s in part because the Vietnam war was sucking up all their money.

  • *sigh* The AC above me was trying to link to the List of Space Disasters [] article on Wikipedia. Which speaks of two major incidents resulting in the loss of crew. The first was a parachute failure which led to the death of the astronaut on board. The second was a valve failure that resulted in depressurization of the capsule and a loss of all crew members.

    Score Card
    Russia - 2
    U.S. - 2

    Seems to be a parity to me. Also, there is the issue that the Soviet Union didn't always tell everyone when an accident happened. It's difficult to tell if there were further incidents that have gone unpublished.

    Regardless of that issue, there are more than enough near-fatal space accidents on the Russian side listed in the Wikipedia article to question whether the Russian space program really is safer. The truth is simply that space travel is risky business. It will continue to be risky business for a long time, unfortunately.

  • by fastest fascist (1086001) on Sunday July 27, 2008 @10:22AM (#24358139)
    There's only going to be a space race if there's a political reason to have one.
  • Re:Too soon (Score:4, Informative)

    by tftp (111690) on Sunday July 27, 2008 @12:52PM (#24359523) Homepage
    The lunar soil contains He(3) in 0.01 ppm concentration. If you want one gram of He(3) you need to excavate, process and dispose of 100 tons of regolith. This one gram will yield about 200 MW*h (per your link to Wikipedia.) This is also 272,000 hp*h which amounts to 1,000 hours of work of one machine with 272 horsepower engine. I am very much unsure if this budget is even enough to dig up and carry all this regolith to the processing plant - which also needs energy, which has to be taken from the mining allocation. So there is a good chance that use of He(3) on the Moon is cash-negative.

% "Every morning, I get up and look through the 'Forbes' list of the richest people in America. If I'm not there, I go to work" -- Robert Orben