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ISS NASA Science

Sarah Brightman's ISS Trip In Peril 105

Posted by samzenpus
from the no-space-for-you dept.
RocketAcademy writes "Actress/singer Sarah Brightman's trip to the International Space Station may not happen in 2015 as scheduled. Space Adventures works with the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) to fly private citizens like Brightman on Soyuz taxi flights. Those taxi missions normally last eight days, but NASA and Roscosmos are considering a plan to extend the 2015 taxi flight to one month, so it can carry a scientist to perform some additional research aboard ISS. If that happens, Brightman will lose her seat. This situation points to the need for more flexible transportation options and new orbital facilities which are not subject to the same operational restrictions as ISS. SpaceX, Boeing, and Sierra Nevada are working on the transportation problem, while Bigelow Aerospace expects to begin launching its Space Station Alpha in 2015. So, the era of citizen astronauts visiting ISS may be drawing to a close."
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Sarah Brightman's ISS Trip In Peril

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  • With good reason (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    ISS is a research platform.
    Flying privately should only be done at great expense as it is since time and space is limited there.

    And in other news, thinking of starting Space Flight Auction house.
    Coming soon to a theatre near you!

    • by delt0r (999393)
      What research?
      • by thegarbz (1787294)

        Really? What kind of a question is that?

        http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/index.html [nasa.gov]

        • by delt0r (999393)
          I see a lot of brochure science and very little research. For the billions that its cost I would expect at least a few peer reviewed papers. Well really for that kind of money i would expect something either equivalent to the Higgs or a lot more than a few papers.

          After all the Higgs discovery was delayed for 2 decades for that orbital white elephant. And it cost a lot more and is still a money suck.
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by Anonymous Coward

            I see a lot of brochure science and very little research. For the billions that its cost I would expect at least a few peer reviewed papers. Well really for that kind of money i would expect something either equivalent to the Higgs or a lot more than a few papers.

            Some are linked to here:
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_research_on_the_International_Space_Station#References

            After all the Higgs discovery was delayed for 2 decades for that orbital white elephant. And it cost a lot more and is still a money suck.

            The ISS and LHC are funded from entirely separate budgets, and the LHC wouldn't have been built significantly faster even if more money had been thrown at it. It takes time to design and build a collider of the required size. Even if funding hadn't been withdrawn from the Tetravon it would've been detected by the LHC at about the same time. Certainly there wasn't a delay of 2 decades.

            • LHC

              Maybe not the LHC but what about the one in Texas that we spent a ton of money on then canceled.

            • by MightyYar (622222)

              Certainly there wasn't a delay of 2 decades.

              I think he's referring to the Superconducting Super Collider [wikipedia.org]. It would have cost $12 billion, which was the same as the estimate for the US portion of the ISS at the time. The two projects were commonly discussed at the same time. It's probably a bit of an exaggeration to say it delayed Higgs by 20 years - maybe it was only 15. But it was designed to do around 2.5x the energy of the LHC, so we won't know what other science was delayed until we build a 40 TeV collider someday.

          • by Teancum (67324)

            In spite of links like the one above that seems to treat the International Space Station as a research platform, its real purpose was hardly to conduct research in weightlessness.

            Keep in mind that the actual purpose of the structure is to perform two important tasks:

            1. 1) To keep rocket engineers gainfully employed on a major engineering project.... especially engineers from the former Soviet Union so they don't sell their services to countries like North Korea and Iran.
            2. 2) To act as a "vehicle" to transfer kn
            • You seem to have some very weird ideas. Even worse you seem to believe in them. You definitely should look for a psychiatrist.
              • Your comment makes no sense to me, other than perhaps as trolling. I see nothing wrong with the Parent's statement, and sometimes maintaining knowledge is expensive, but far less expensive than relearning it.

                • His comment is a conspiracy theorist bullshit, which absolute no factual evidence to support it. It is just fantasies from a troubled mind.
                  • by Teancum (67324)

                    Since you seem to have a strong command of what went into the building of the International Space Station and its history, perhaps you could come up with something that is a proper rebuttal rather than a bald personal attack?

                    I suppose it was just a fantasy that there ever was a Cold War between the Soviet Union and the United States of America? Something made up out of whole cloth and the work of conspiracy theory nuts?

                    • The Cold War was very true, but the fantasy resides in associating it with the ISS. That is the conspiracy theorist bullshit.

                      And I don't need to rebut claims that have nothing to sustain them. It would be a waste of my time. I can just call them bullshit and wait for the person who claimed them (in this case you) to try and fail to prove his absurdities.

                      Good luck!
                    • by Teancum (67324)

                      I should point out that the point of the Shuttle-Mir spaceflights prior to the construction of the ISS was a part of this technology transfer I was talking about. I suppose that was a fantasy too that never took place, just like the Apollo flights were just a hoax perpetrated in some Burbank studio?

                      My point was that the ISS was not really constructed to be primarily a research laboratory, which was ultimately a sort of afterthought. Ditto for much of the manned spaceflight program as a whole I might add,

                    • Your point is that you think the ISS was not really constructed to be primarily a research laboratory, which is not substantiated by anything you were capable of providing until now.

                      The fact that there was cooperation between US, Russia (and many other countries) after the cold war was over does not imply in any way that there was a significant technology transfer or that the ISS was made to this end (which would be a very expensive and stupid way of transferring technology, by the way).

                      And please, th
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        The Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer is the biggest experiment up there, but you could reasonably claim that it doesn't need a human presence. The only reason it was bolted to the ISS was that the station had enough solar panels to power it and a convenient comms link already in place. The spectrometer is an energy and bandwidth hog.

        There are a LOT of experiments done of the type "pack some of this stuff in a box and see how it reacts to being in freefall". Sometimes the stuff in the box needs prodding, or activ

        • by tibit (1762298)

          Mir wasn't all that different from ISS in terms of underlying principles. It was to ISS like a cheap motel is to a mid-tier chain hotel. Sure ISS is roomier and less smelly, but it's no interplanetary spaceship. It won't go to Mars just as Mir wouldn't.

          • by Teancum (67324)

            Some of the modules on the Russian side of the ISS were even intended to be either placed on Mir or on a scheduled "Mir II" spacecraft that was going to be built before the idea of the ISS was put forward in a serious proposal. Indeed Russia is still thinking of taking their modules away from the ISS and using them as the core of a new space station.... especially if the U.S. government wants to splash the American modules.

            Essentially, the ISS really is just an upscaled Mir, which is in turn based on techn

            • There is a lot more on the ISS than what was on MIR. Both ideas from USA and Russia went into it. For example, much of the solid communication comes from USA. And then you have the bathroom which was done cheaply by the Russians. And Life support via Russians was cheap and MOSTLY reliable, but it has had plenty of issues. OTOH, the new water recycling and life support systems from USA appears to be doing a good job. There is a great deal on the ISS that comes from western tech.
    • I wonder what the future of ISS will be, when Bigelow and others are making space less expensive and more accessible. I haven't heard of too many "earth shattering" breakthroughs from the ISS program, and lately all the excitement has been in the private sector. (Sarah Brightman doesn't have anything to worry about, she'll just have to wait a couple more years and then get a much cheaper ride.) On the one hand, cheaper access to space will make it cheaper to maintain the ISS, but OTOH they may soon be outsh

      • by Sarten-X (1102295)

        I haven't heard of too many "earth shattering" breakthroughs from the ISS program, and lately all the excitement has been in the private sector.

        So it's no different from any other government research?

        I've been out of the research scene for a few too many years, but as I understand it, most of the research done about the ISS is fairly mundane stuff that can't be done on Earth - growing crystals in low gravity, testing materials' resistance to radiation, and the like. There's nothing inherently earth-shattering about knowing that this particular material survived slightly better than that particular material. When the discoveries from the ISS do fina

        • So it's no different from any other government research?

          Hm... yes and no. As /. readers, we get a steady trickle of "gee-whiz" news from various kinds of research, much of it government funded. But when was the last time you saw a story even on this site about a new discovery from ISS? Judging by the topic listing [slashdot.org] it's been quite a while.

          I get your point that research can be useful and worthwhile even if it doesn't make headlines. I just think they could be doing more. (And part of the reason might be that the ISS costs so much just to keep flying that they don'

          • by Sarten-X (1102295)

            But when was the last time you saw a story even on this site about a new discovery from ISS?

            It's been about as long as it's been since I've seen Slashdot have decent editing. Slashdot's a digest site, though, so it only reports what people submit, so it only reflects what's famous now.

            For example, after all these years we still don't have any experiments to see whether centrifugal "simulated gravity" would be helpful in mitigating the health effects of long-duration flights. Not even with mice! That would seem like a no-brainer.

            Close. Running an experiment like that would indeed require several people to have no brains. Sure, we can put people (or mice) in a centrifuge and spin them, but that doesn't really teach us much that's useful. How much force is actually needed to mitigate what effects? How much of the energy budget should be allott

            • Close. Running an experiment like that would indeed require several people to have no brains.

              Now you're just being silly. You list all the unknowns and cite this as a reason NOT to do the experiment. Isn't that what basic research is supposed to be about in the first place? If they'd spent the last few years on ISS finding answers to those questions, I would have nothing to whine about. Instead, this whole line of research has hardly been touched by NASA. That seems like a glaring omission to me, especially when microgravity health effects are so crucial to the success of long-duration flights.

              The

              • by Sarten-X (1102295)

                You list all the unknowns and cite this as a reason NOT to do the experiment. Isn't that what basic research is supposed to be about in the first place?

                No, it's not. Basic research is supposed to be about finding knowledge, not doing cool things. What I list are some of the variables in the trial (because it can't really be called an "experiment") that make it a bad candidate for spending the ISS's expensive time. A perfect experiment has only a single variable, so a fact can be conclusively determined. If a single variable cannot be isolated (as is often the case), statistical methods must be used to separate the effects of each variable, but the accuracy

        • I haven't heard of too many "earth shattering" breakthroughs ...

          Ironic pun is ironic. I think the research being done on the ISS is to further our abilities in space vs. on earth. For example measuring half life's / radiation to see if there is a difference when in space might yield a different decision on what type of fuel is usable for spaceships.

          The race is exciting, but we still need a pit crew.

          Yes, but the pit crew needs trained for the space race :( my pun isnt as good as yours, tho)

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by tgd (2822)

      ISS is a research platform.
      Flying privately should only be done at great expense as it is since time and space is limited there.

      And in other news, thinking of starting Space Flight Auction house.
      Coming soon to a theatre near you!

      No, the ISS is, was, and was always intended to be a corporate welfare platform to keep defense contractors in business during the waning period of the cold war.

      As the old joke went, "What is the purpose of the space shuttle? To build the space station! What is the purpose of the space station? To give the space shuttle somewhere to go!"

      The real problem with space tourism going to the ISS is that the Russian space agency is getting the money, not the US taxpayers.

    • by sosume (680416)

      The ISS is paid for by tax payers worldwide. Taxying rich individuals would therefore be akin to them calling a police car to get a ride downtown.

    • You boys know what makes this bird go up? FUNDING makes this bird go up. No bucks, no Buck Rogers.

  • Aren't we supposed to be focused on Virgin and Elon Musk these days? Isn't space tourism and ISS so last year? Tell me what to think is cool, I can't keep it straight anymore!

    • The interesting part is that the soprano outbid NASA, so her overprivileged ass will be rocketed into space instead of some NASA instrument or satellite.
  • by marto (110299)
    Now how will she hook up with that Starship trooper [wikipedia.org]?
  • So, Time to Say Goodnight ? I keed, I keed.
  • subject (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Legion303 (97901) on Monday March 18, 2013 @08:35AM (#43202133) Homepage

    A singer/tourist might have to give up a spot to someone who will do science. What's the downside, again?

    • But, but... Sarah Brightman's vacation plan's in 2015 are in peril!

      Dear samzenpus,

      You are about to receive a butt load of hate from us.

      Your's truly,
      The Internet

    • Re:subject (Score:5, Funny)

      by thegarbz (1787294) on Monday March 18, 2013 @08:50AM (#43202197)

      Well in space we wouldn't be able to hear her sing.

      Actually on second thoughts, can we launch the entire pop music industry up there?

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I'm setting up a Kickstarter for Celine Dion.

      • by PNutts (199112)

        In space no one can hear you auto-tune.

      • Sarah Brightman isn't that bad... though I can think of several others I'd rather send into space.
        • by thegarbz (1787294)

          I agree, but I was struggling with how to insult the pop industry without bringing her into it. She had to take one for the team.

      • Sarah Brightman is primarily a classical music singer. Though her large fortune and fame come from her pop-ification of the more famous classical pieces.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        But she's Fallen In Love With a Starship Trooper....

    • by owlnation (858981)

      A singer/tourist might have to give up a spot to someone who will do science. What's the downside, again?

      Sending Sarah Brightman into space would benefit mankind. Bringing her back from space... not so much...

    • A singer/tourist might have to give up a spot to someone who will do science. What's the downside, again?

      Sending up tourists isn't really a bad thing for science. They pay money to go, which gets used to fund a small portion of the science. It's a net gain.

      I don't find any problem with her giving up the spot for a researcher for this trip because they need it, but I also don't see any issue with the fact that the Russians send up tourists to the ISS. Sounds like a good idea to me, and back when we had the shuttle, my guess is the only reason NASA didn't do it was the fear of expensive lawsuits if someone go

  • by nitehawk214 (222219) on Monday March 18, 2013 @08:55AM (#43202213)

    Need? Because ISS's most important mission is giving rich people a place to float around in microgravity. That this is even an issue that a celebrity is getting bumped in favor of a scientist is absurd.

    • Need? Because ISS's most important mission is giving rich people a place to float around in microgravity. That this is even an issue that a celebrity is getting bumped in favor of a scientist is absurd.

      There's a market to send rich people up to the ISS to float around in microgravity. Doesn't that mean it's extremely important? If you can make money off them, then sending them up is a way to fund some of the science. What's the problem with that?

      • Need? Because ISS's most important mission is giving rich people a place to float around in microgravity. That this is even an issue that a celebrity is getting bumped in favor of a scientist is absurd.

        There's a market to send rich people up to the ISS to float around in microgravity. Doesn't that mean it's extremely important? If you can make money off them, then sending them up is a way to fund some of the science. What's the problem with that?

        Because we are sending rich people up there instead of doing science.

    • by Beorytis (1014777)
      That's exactly what I thought. I think it would be more correct to say: "This situation points to a demand for more flexible transportation options..."
  • Until we develop the technology and generate the will to access off planet resources, these finite things on earth that are being squandered for the amusement of the few need to be rationed responsibly. The incredibly burdensome task of putting each bit of weight into space should not be sold to the highest bidder, but to the highest science.
  • by Dcnjoe60 (682885) on Monday March 18, 2013 @09:13AM (#43202361)

    I understand the cost of flying a tourist there, but shouldn't they also be charged a portion of the cost of actually keeping them there? It cost a lot of money to develop the international space station. It costs a lot of money to maintain the international space station. And it costs a lot of money to operate the international space station. If I fly to Disneyland for a vacation, the flight is just one part of the cost of the trip. Likewise, to the ISS. For these space tourists, shouldn't they be paying for the full cost of their trip, particularly since almost all of it was funded by taxpayers of various countries?

    • by nedlohs (1335013)

      What makes you think they aren't?

    • Re:True cost... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Teancum (67324) <robert_horning@n ... t ['etz' in gap]> on Monday March 18, 2013 @11:10AM (#43203199) Homepage Journal

      That is a fair question, and it should be pointed out that the cost to travel to the ISS has been steadily going up faster than inflation (at least faster than the CPI). I'd say that those space tourists are more than paying for their share of the costs for getting into space.

      Keep in mind that the point of these flights is to swap "emergency escape" vehicles in the form of Soyuz capsules. These are the lifeboats of the ISS where the people on the ISS can escape and return to the Earth if something really bad happens.... like a core module getting hit by a meteor. The Soyuz spacecraft have a limited amount of time they can be used in space, and to be safe they are replaced at regular intervals.

      Since only two cosmonauts are needed to fly this spacecraft, there is really an "extra" seat in all of these flights.... hence the reason why Russia was willing to sell the flight opportunities to a company like Space Adventures. Previously (in the Soviet Union era) this "extra seat" was often used as a public relations tool where "guest cosmonauts" were offered a ride from mainly countries with good relations with the Soviet Union. In other words, these "tourists" have been going up for several decades now. People flying on the Soyuz are still expected to know how to operate the spacecraft, which is why even the "tourists" still have to spend six months or longer in a training program at Star City before they are allowed to fly.

      This is no Disneyland vacation. Spacecraft capable of flying genuine passengers has yet to be built. Well, the Space Shuttle could have done that, but it was so expensive to operate that mere passengers weren't a viable option on that spacecraft either. Perhaps once the SpaceX Dragon is fully crew certified you might see some real tourists with much more limited training in spaceflight operations that are more completely "paying their own freight" to go into space. How many people do you know that in order to fly to Europe on a 747 need to be certified on that airframe as a commercial pilot (with multi-engine and instrument landing endorsements) before making the trip?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    In 2015, they don't know if they'd be shipping the fat Sarah or the skinny Sarah up there, and they can't calculate the fuel requirements.

  • WhoTF is Sarah Brightman? Seriously - I may not watch E! News, but there are a few celebrities who register some name recognition...just not this one.

  • Unofficially, another mission member was quoted saying that Sarah Brightman's trip may still be salvaged, if she can figure out a way "to keep the guys happy" for the duration of the flight.
  • I had to look this person up to see that she was a singer. Never heard of her before so I'm presuming like many others on here that if I haven't heard of something or someone, they can't be important.

    Which begs the next question, so what? Someone who can afford to spend their money on a trip to space can't go. What's the story other than they have the money to go to space?

    Now, if the story had been about Stephen Hawking being bumped from a space flight, THAT would have been important.

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      Now, if the story had been about Stephen Hawking being bumped from a space flight, THAT would have been important.

      Why, what could he do in space that he can't do on the ground? Besides, you know, be weightless.

      • More because he's actively (so to speak) involved in matters regarding space and for him to be as close as anyone can get to space without going to the Moon or Mars would be a highlight of his career.

        Who knows, maybe he would pick up on something that no one else has noticed.

  • Spare Soyez are kept as lifeboats in case space station become uninhabitable. But these lifeboats must be recycled within seven months due to lifetime of fuels and gases aboard. There are apprixomately three astronauts launched every 3 months for a six month rotation in fit these parameters. The plan to keep two of astronauts up for a whole year opened some short-term trip opportunities the private space touring group was hoping to purchase.
  • by PPH (736903) on Monday March 18, 2013 @11:28AM (#43203415)

    I thought the whole point was to launch her into space, one way.

  • For those of you either too young to remember or from the North American continent. It seems as soon as she got into Opera she tried to make this just go away. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kgW9l7CR1WQ [youtube.com]
  • They should be kicking scientists to let more private citizens on, not the other way around.

    The trivial science being done pales in comparison to the benefits of getting private space travel going.

There is no royal road to geometry. -- Euclid

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