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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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  • 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.

  • Old News (Score:5, Informative)

    by QuantumG (50515) * <qg@biodome.org> on Thursday April 08, 2010 @08:01AM (#31774052) Homepage Journal
  • Re:Obvious Question (Score:5, Informative)

    by sycodon (149926) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @08:10AM (#31774106)

    About $75 Million [nasa.gov] ($450 Million per launch)

  • Re:Simple economics (Score:3, Informative)

    by Shugart (598491) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @08:12AM (#31774120)
    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 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.

  • by mcvos (645701) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @08:17AM (#31774158)

    A figured I'd better google some numbers. Wikipedia says $60 million or $1.3 billion per launch, depending on how you calculate it [wikipedia.org]. Nasa says $450 million per launch [nasa.gov]. NASA's figure is more expensive than Soyuz for 6 astronauts. Wikipedia's low end figure is obviously a lot cheaper (and kind of hard to believe).

  • 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

     

  • Re:Old News (Score:5, Informative)

    by QuantumG (50515) * <qg@biodome.org> on Thursday April 08, 2010 @08:18AM (#31774176) Homepage Journal

    They agreed to pay $51 million adjusted for inflation.. the seats are for the 2012-2013 timeframe because they've already signed at this price last year - another reason why this is old news.

  • by QuantumG (50515) * <qg@biodome.org> on Thursday April 08, 2010 @08:27AM (#31774246) Homepage Journal

    the rocket is just going straight up, what's so hard?

    No, it's not.

    Are you telling me that if I had the best part of $60 million I couldn't design, build and fly my own rocket in to space?

    Elon Musk has spent a good part of a billion so far, has some of the brightest minds in the world working for him, and that's the cheapest *anyone* has developed a launcher for so far.

    Just strap a sealed chamber onto a grain silo of fuel, surely?

    Good luck with that.

  • by damburger (981828) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @08:29AM (#31774272)
    Don't forget to add in 25t of cargo launched alongside the crew (so no rendezvous needed for a crew+cargo mission). Furthermore, the shuttle payload bay is BIG and can accommodate payloads too large for any other currently flying vehicle.
  • 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.

  • by Smallpond (221300) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @08:55AM (#31774558) Homepage Journal

    Problem 1 - the burning fuel is hotter than the melting point of the engines.

    Problem 2 - the engines have to run at sea level and in a vacuum.

    Problem 3 - flying through atmosphere at 2000 MPH

    Problem 4 - getting down

    Get back to me after you think you have those solved cheaply and safely.

  • 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)

  • Re:Disgraceful! (Score:3, Informative)

    by elrous0 (869638) * on Thursday April 08, 2010 @09:19AM (#31774854)
    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."
  • Re:Disgraceful! (Score:3, Informative)

    by elrous0 (869638) * on Thursday April 08, 2010 @09:33AM (#31775036)
    You mean the 40 years when the Soviets put up the first space station and out the first probes on Venus and Mars? And how about the 30 years that the U.S. has wasted launching one useless space shuttle mission after another, that part of those 40 too?
  • Re:Disgraceful! (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 08, 2010 @10:24AM (#31775764)

    We lead the space race,

    Actually up until we put a man on the moon I think we were trailing in the space race.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_Race#Timeline_of_firsts_.281957-1975.29
    Russia:
    First satalite
    First Object in heliocentric orbit
    First Object to moon
    First animals sent and retrieved from space
    First human in space
    First space-walk
    First soft landing on moon

    I mean dang, it is amazing we got people on the moon first.

  • 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:Disgraceful! (Score:2, Informative)

    by maxwell demon (590494) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @12:44PM (#31778138) Journal

    We lead the space race,

    No. Just the moon race.

    and now we're reduced to begging for rides from the commies?

    No. First, Russia today isn't communist, and hasn't been for quite some time. Second, it's not begging for rides, it's buying rides. Just as you're not begging for food at your local grocery when you buy it there.

  • Re:Disgraceful! (Score:3, Informative)

    by BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @01:23PM (#31778724) Homepage Journal

    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 down to it, the Soyuz is, currently, the cheapest way to get a man to the ISS. The only thing that flying brick of crap known as the space shuttle was good for was cargo hauling a crapton of stuff to LEO. JAXA just demonstrated an autonomous, unmanned cargo freighter [wikipedia.org] that should help replace that role. The ESA, too, is in the process of developing a decent sized freighter for the ISS. Likewise, both Orbital Sciences and SpaceX are working on their own supply freighters for the ISS. SpaceX has taken the time to begin the preliminary work on man-rating their Dragon capsule. The space shuttle is a flying chunk of crap that, while it allowed for some interesting LEO science to be done, has stagnated the American space industry. As such, many other alternatives, both national and international, have developed over the past few decades that have made the shuttle obsolete. Bartering with the Russians for space on the Soyuz is just business as usual and, frankly, a damn fine business decision.

    However, since you are so avidly patriotic, let me scratch your nationalist funny bone a bit. Currently, American companies (not Russian, not Chinese, not Japanese, but American) are developing space hotels [wikipedia.org], the cheapest ride to LEO [wikipedia.org], cheap lunar landers [wikipedia.org], and a Mars rover the size of a Volkswagon bug [wikipedia.org]. We are still, far and away, the premier space industry on this planet. The best part is that, unlike most other countries, we don't have to rely solely on an over-regulated, stagnated, government agency which is prone to political grandstanding for our progress anymore. We Americans have the freedom, resources, and opportunity to access space privately, without NASA. Hell, even our college students are putting shit in orbit [wikipedia.org] today.

    So go ahead, bitch about what a sad state our country is in today. However, if you had half a brain you would realize that accessing space is neither easy nor cheap. Neither is it the exclusive right to Americans. No, in fact, space is the international frontier that the entire world can look to for progress and discovery. To fully harness the freedom of space, we don't need to keep waving our political dicks around screaming about American jobs and being the first country to do X. Nah, if we want the freedom of space, then it's time we lay down our outdated notions of nationalism and bullshitting and come together, not as a country, but as a species, to tackle the greatest challenge we have ever known. You want to bitch about us flying to the ISS on a Russian capsule? Well you, sir, and your ideals, are seriously out-dated. Human progress into the void that surrounds our tiny blue marble will not rest squarely on the shoulders of one government, or one country, or one company. Nah, it will rest on the shoulders of every man and woman mature and responsible enough to face such a daunting challenge with a square jaw and tenacious eyes of many bac

  • Re:Capitalism (Score:3, Informative)

    by shutdown -p now (807394) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @04:42PM (#31781610) Journal

    What do you think the answer to that would be in China? I'm betting it would be prison time.

    How quickly we forget...

    You do realize that it could also mean prison time and even death at some point in the West, including U.S.? Does the name "Pinkertons" remind you of anything?

    Merely reading on the history of the worker movement of the period, you're immediately bound to come by a lot mentions of worker's strikes and demonstrations being brutally suppressed. Whatever victories were won back then, they were paid for by blood.

    Whether it will happen in China as well, eventually, is something that is hard to tell, but it is not outright impossible.

The economy depends about as much on economists as the weather does on weather forecasters. -- Jean-Paul Kauffmann

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