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Russia Doubles Price For Launching US Astronauts 370

Posted by samzenpus
from the strange-bedfellows dept.
Third Position writes "NASA on Tuesday signed a contract to pay $55.8 million per astronaut for six Americans to fly into space on Russian Soyuz capsules in 2013 and 2014. NASA needs to get rides on Russian rockets to the International Space Station because it plans to retire the space shuttle fleet later this year. NASA now pays half as much, about $26.3 million per astronaut, when it uses Russian ships."
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Russia Doubles Price For Launching US Astronauts

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  • Capitalism (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TaoPhoenix (980487) <TaoPhoenix@yahoo.com> on Thursday April 08, 2010 @07:59AM (#31774030) Journal

    "You wanted us to adopt market pricing, yes Comrade?"

    • by Mr Thinly Sliced (73041) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @08:01AM (#31774048) Homepage Journal

      I have altered the deal. Pray I do not alter it further.

      • Re:Capitalism (Score:5, Informative)

        by sopssa (1498795) * <sopssa@email.com> on Thursday April 08, 2010 @08:39AM (#31774374) Journal

        And this is why US will eventually fall, like every other empire in the human history. Only thing that is needed for it is when China and Taiwan decide to increase their manufacturing prices. It's a bad economy as it is and everyone in the US is getting high pays only because of international loans. You can't live on loans forever - eventually someone will start gathering them back. Since this is politics as well, the only thing needed is to provide manufacturing, product building and technology research cheaper than the US. Oh wait, that's what has been happening for years in India and China and US companies are still going for it.

        You don't need to have a war to win, just collapse the other country.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by peragrin (659227)

          That is the point everyone forgets. China has only one advantage over the USA. Cheap labor. China doesn't have any other resources that the usa also has. Tapping thoseresources isjust too expensive due to labor. Not to mention the hundreds of thousands of tons of resources sitting in our landfills.

          The USA may collapse financially however inside of 20years we have the tools,tech, and resources to rebuild. All it will take is deflation to lower labor costs, or a total war on the scales of WW II.

          • Re:Capitalism (Score:4, Informative)

            by TubeSteak (669689) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @10:28AM (#31775832) Journal

            That is the point everyone forgets. China has only one advantage over the USA. Cheap labor. China doesn't have any other resources that the usa also has.

            You're wrong.
            China has a massive industrial base.
            Much of heavy industry, which was the backbone of the USA's industrial revoltion, picked up and moved to China (and Mexico).

              The real bitch is that nobody in the USA is willing to rebuild the industrial base because it's (A) farking expensive and (B) will only serve to depress market prices (usually below what's considered an acceptable rate of return).

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by dkleinsc (563838)

            Actually, there's more to the story than that.

            If totally free markets operated as they're supposed to, then the dollar would fall against the renminbi, and that would make it cheaper to produce things in the US again, and the industry would move back. However, the Chinese know this, and are doing everything they can to prevent it (because it's helping them industrialize). Now, you'd think the US wouldn't stand for this and would start threatening tariffs, but many of the multinational corporations who fund

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      That's a nice space program you've got there. It would be a shame if anything should happen to it.
    • In other news, the dollar has dropped in value on the exchange market and foreign providers have been forced to double their prices to make up the difference.
  • by dragisha (788) <dragisha.m3w@org> on Thursday April 08, 2010 @08:00AM (#31774038)

    What does it cost with Shuttle?

    • by mcvos (645701)

      What does it cost with Shuttle?

      Probably a lot more. I can't believe the Shuttle would be cheaper than Soyuz.

    • by Shivetya (243324) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @08:12AM (#31774122) Homepage Journal

      http://www.nasa.gov/centers/kennedy/about/information/shuttle_faq.html [nasa.gov]

      Funny how it was cheaper to fly as a paid passenger than astronaut.

    • Somewhere in the range of $0 to $312,421.24, before adjusting for inflation and whatnot?

    • by peragrin (659227) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @08:17AM (#31774162)

      It is variable. The shuttle launches 7 not 3 people however the shuttle can also carry literally tons of cargo too something that requires multiple launches with russias design. It is why NASA built the iss. Launching the components is cheaper and more can bedone in any given section with the shuttle.

      So for transporting just new people Soyuz isthe way to go. You needto expand the station the shuttle isbetter

       

      • by damburger (981828)
        Or if you want to send a repair mission, or retrieve something from space, or send crew and cargo in one shot (instead of a complicated rendezvous, and two launches nearly at the same time which is not trivial). You could even assemble a Mars ship with the Shuttle. It isn't the Shuttle's fault that its capabilities were never really capitalized upon.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by SharpFang (651121)

          ...still, with about $500mln per shuttle launch, I think dollar for dollar, russians would have a better perspective on achieving this all.

          The basic problem with the shuttle is that it's a big, heavy vehicle, many tons of dead weight that need to be launched into the orbit. The russian rockets in final phase of the flight weight very little compared to the payload. They don't haul heavy-duty engines necessary for startup, landing gear, wings, and all that stuff that is not needed in the orbit. That means ha

  • Nothing to see here. (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 08, 2010 @08:00AM (#31774046)

    Prices go up when competition declines. Shock and horror expressed by those ignorant of basic economics. Film at 11.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      It's also possible that we're not reciprocating any more so they charge us the full price instead of giving us a discount. Put another way, when we had a shuttle, the price of sending astronauts up in Russian craft was partially paid by letting them use our shuttles.
  • Old News (Score:5, Informative)

    by QuantumG (50515) * <qg@biodome.org> on Thursday April 08, 2010 @08:01AM (#31774052) Homepage Journal
  • Supply vs. Demand curve. It's economics 101. There is less supply to meet demand thanks to Obama gutting NASA. And considering the only other market provider is China, we've effectively given Russia a monopoly.

    • by QuantumG (50515) *

      Well, that and they've had to increase production because now there's more demand.

      More costs, higher prices.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Shugart (598491)
      Can't blame this one on Obama. The shuttle was to be retired with no replacement before Obama took office. He did gut the future of the space program though.
      • by Jaysyn (203771)

        Shhh... Don't want facts to get in the way of a good political rant, now do we?

      • Yes, the shuttle was to be retired with no immediate replacement, but with one on the horizon. Now there is nothing on the horizon except Falcon 9 and Dragon. Which NASA probably would never use.

      • by Chris Burke (6130) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @02:51PM (#31780222) Homepage

        Yeah, he gutted the future that was planned and replaced it with something less retarded.

        The future of the space program as embodied in Constellation was just more over-budget under-performing missions that failed to do anything to expand our horizons or solve the major problems making space exploration prohibitive.

        To me the future of our space program looks brighter than ever.

  • Supply and demand baby. Supply and demand. We sure taught those commies well.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      We sure did...

      Its too bad we're all demand and everyone else is the supply.

      I think we failed our own economy by selling it out

  • Slippery Slope (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 08, 2010 @08:14AM (#31774130)

    Its just another round of outsourcing.

    Soon the USA will be lacking cutting edge skills and capacity in hi-tech manufacturing, and won't be able to compete with India.

    The UK dropped all that sort of stuff in the mid-60s and look at us now. We welcome the US to the third-rate Nations club!

  • Well, if any private up-and-comers can offer a better price with comparable reliability, they have a perfect opportunity.

    How's that Falcon-9 coming along? I'm sure people won't object to "buying American" space travel rather than paying out to another country. It's bad for the economy and national pride.
    • by QuantumG (50515) *

      How's that Falcon-9 coming along?

      It's 3 months away ;)

    • How's that Falcon-9 coming along?

      Last I heard, it's waiting on approval from the Air Force range safety people. Range Safety has to be satisfied that the launch abort system will work before Falcon-9 can launch.

      Once that happens, they can launch whenever there's an appropriate launch window.

      Here's hoping the Air Force will get off the dime soon....

      Note, however, that Dragon is not man-rated yet. This is purely the cargo version of the vehicle.

    • Well, if any private up-and-comers can offer a better price with comparable reliability, they have a perfect opportunity.

      Seriously. This is good news for SpaceX.

  • ISTM the russians would be in a much stronger bargaining position to make the journey up free. Then, once the americans are up there, to open the bidding on the price to bring them back down. After all, with no viable alternative means of getting people there, it's now basically their space station.
  • by Frankenshteen (1355339) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @08:38AM (#31774360)
    If USA hadn't canceled the constellation program, the perception of exclusivity for Russia would be diminished, and USA would have a big shiny carrot to barter some short term help with.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by QuantumG (50515) *

      If the "moon program" had been designed as an international partnership from the beginning, with each nation focusing on the capabilities they actually have instead of stuff that they might have after pouring $9billion down the drain, Russia could have been flying the crew to orbit for free with the US supplying the heavy lift to take them beyond LEO. But no, Griffin had to go with his shockingly bad plan to put an overweight capsule on a solid rocket booster with an air-startable SSME (that doesn't exist

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Vectormatic (1759674)

      if the russians want to go to the moon, they dont need the US to do so. I realize that the proton with only 20 tons to LEO isnt exactly a saturn V, but in multiple launches, combined with a R7 soyuz launch for the crew, they could easily put a moon-capable craft in LEO. The russians are also planning to replace the Proton with the Angara A5, which will do 25 tons to LEO. Also the Angara A7 is being developed, which will lift 40 tons

      Wikipedia also claims that russian moonshot plans in the 60's involved putti

  • I am the cardholder of an ISS frequent-flyer card.

  • Disgraceful! (Score:2, Interesting)

    We lead the space race, put men on the moon, landers on Mars, explored the furthest reaches of our system, made huge technological breakthroughs via the space race and now we're reduced to begging for rides from the commies?

    What the hell is going on with our country?!

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by miffo.swe (547642)

      The moment US decided to go for the shuttle the game was over. Form over function is ok for household gadgets but not for space exploration.

      The US had did have the best launch system and just tossed it aside because it was more cool with a rocket with a bolted on hip looking spacecraft.

      • The US got side tracked with the Apollo project and putting a man on the moon before the commies. If they continued developmental on the X-15 [wikipedia.org], then we may have had a reliable space plane a lot sooner.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by hcdejong (561314)

          The X-15 design doesn't scale up too well. Getting one person to Mach 8 and 30 km altitude took a B-52 launching craft. Add enough fuel to reach orbit and your space plane is too large to be launched by aircraft, and you're back to a rocket design, ie exactly what Nasa ended up developing. X-15 was interesting, but let's not get too sentimental about it.

      • by russotto (537200)

        Form over function is ok for household gadgets but not for space exploration.

        There's not even any exploration here. There's no "killer app" for putting people in space. As long as the only reason to do so is more or less national pride, there won't be any efforts to do so which are driven by practicality. Find a reason to do it which actually looks like it will pay off, and things will change. Problem is, there's nothing out there. The moon is a useless chunk of rock. Mars is little better. Asteroid

    • Re:Disgraceful! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by turgid (580780) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @08:56AM (#31774570) Journal

      What the hell is going on with our country?!

      You gave up to chase stock markets instead.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by drsquare (530038)

        How dare you disparage the brave, wealth-creating superhumans on Wall Street. If it weren't for them and their innovative, useful products the economy would crash and tens of millions would be unemployed.

    • Re:Disgraceful! (Score:4, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 08, 2010 @09:00AM (#31774624)

      We lead the space race, put men on the moon, landers on Mars, explored the furthest reaches of our system, made huge technological breakthroughs via the space race and now we're reduced to begging for rides from the commies?

      What the hell is going on with our country?!

      Yep. America lead the space race.
      1st earth creature in space: Russian Dog.
      1st person in space: Yuri Gagarin (Russian).
      1st person to orbit earth: Yuri Gagarin (Russian, same mission).
      1st woman in space: Valentina Tereshkova (Russian)
      1st space walk: Alexei Leonov (Russian)
      1st man on the moon: Neil Armstrong (American)

      After 5 space firsts by the Russians, America finally beat them to something: the moon.

      1st space station: Salyut 1 (Russian)

    • Spending trillions of dollars killing brown people gives your politicians bigger hard-ons.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by elrous0 (869638) *
      Led the space race? You mean like how you dragged ass way behind the Soviets from 1957-1967? You have a funny definition of "leading."
    • The population has discovered that they can vote themselves bread and circuses, and the money is going towards that.

    • Re:Disgraceful! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by darkmeridian (119044) <william.chuang@g ... minus herbivore> on Thursday April 08, 2010 @12:31PM (#31777910) Homepage

      We've become a bunch of scaredy cats. The Shuttle can still work if you accept the risk that we will lose astronauts during space travel. That's the price of space travel. It's not political like Obama or Bush. It has to do with our country being perfectly content sending thousands of young Americans to die in the foreign sands of war-zones, but terrified that seven grown men and women might die while exploring space. We're just being fucking stupid about this, and I say this with much love for the United States.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      We lead the space race, put men on the moon, landers on Mars, explored the furthest reaches of our system, made huge technological breakthroughs via the space race and now we're reduced to begging for rides from the commies?

      Are you kidding me? What Cold War leftovers modded this crap up? Lead the space race? The Russians were the first country to:

      A) Put an orbiting satellite in space
      B) Put a man in space
      C) Send probes to Venus and Mars

      ...And a host of other things. The ONLY time we Americans beat the Russians in the space race was when we put Little Neil Armstrong on the moon.

      And who said we were begging for rides? We have been partnering with the Russians for rides to and from the ISS for years now. When it comes d

  • Any other self respecting capitalist nation would have used multiples of ten...
  • If the US pays in dollars, the US might be getting a great deal due to inflation. There's going to be a lot of wild stuff between now and 2014 IMHO.
  • Somewhere out there, Sergey Korolyov [wikipedia.org] must be having a chuckle over this one.
  • by cowboy76Spain (815442) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @09:37AM (#31775092)

    I really hope that there are no loose ends in this deal... it would be suck that, after getting the astronauts to the ISS, they discover that back-to-earth service is not included and they need to negotiate a new contract for it...

    Yes, I am Dogbert.

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