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SpaceX Shows Off 7-Man Dragon V2 Capsule 140

Posted by timothy
from the yes-please dept.
As promised, SpaceX has unveiled its design for a 7-passenger space capsule, intended for carrying astronauts to the International Station or other missions. Writes the L.A. Times: "SpaceX's Dragon V2 spacecraft looks like a sleek, modern-day version of the Apollo capsules that astronauts used in trips to the moon in the 1960s. Those capsules splashed down in the ocean and couldn't be reused. SpaceX builds its Dragon capsules and Falcon 9 rockets in a vast complex in Hawthorne, where fuselage sections for Boeing's 747 jumbo jets once were built. The company is expanding its complex, near Los Angeles International Airport, and has more than 3,000 employees."

NBC News offers more pictures and description of what conditions aboard the Dragon would be like, while astronaut Chris Hadfield says that for all its good points, the Dragon won't eliminate the need for international cooperation in space: "The United States cannot fly to the Space Station without Russia, and Russia can't fly to the Space Station without the United States. It's a wonderful thing to have. If you look at the whole life of the Space Station, think of all the tumult, with the fall of the Soviet Union, and the devaluation of the Ruble in 1998, and other countries backing out of it, the Columbia accident, which would have left us completely helpless if we hadn't had the international commitment. It's easy to have a one-month attention span, but that's just not how you build spaceships, or how you explore the rest of the universe."
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SpaceX Shows Off 7-Man Dragon V2 Capsule

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  • by saloomy (2817221) on Saturday May 31, 2014 @05:34PM (#47137905)
    That spacex doesn't provide to ferry humans up to the IIS? Why do they still need the Russians to get up there?
    • by UK Boz (755972)
      Until NASA has examined every rivet it wont be going anywhere with people.
      • 1960s? (Score:5, Informative)

        by chfriley (160627) on Saturday May 31, 2014 @08:16PM (#47138561) Homepage

        "astronauts used in trips to the moon in the 1960s."

        Just one point about the summary, not just the 1960s, there were more trips to the moon using Apollo in the 1970s than in the 1960s:
        1960s Apollo moon trips: 8, 10, 11, 12 (2 landings 11, 12, and 2 circumnavigations)

        1970s: 13, 14, 15, 16,17 (4 landings, not Apollo 13 obviously)

        (There were other Apollo missions that were not moon trips, 7, 9 for example that were in earth orbit, Apollo-Soyuz etc).

        • Re:1960s? (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Teancum (67324) <robert_horning@n ... t ['etz' in gap]> on Saturday May 31, 2014 @10:50PM (#47139131) Homepage Journal

          You also can't ignore the Skylab 2, 3, & 4 missions that all used Apollo hardware as well as the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project (something that arguably paved the way for the ISS in terms of cooperation between the Soviet Space Agency and NASA). All of those missions also flew in the 1970's.

          It is a pity that the manned mission to Venus never happened, which was also supposed to use Apollo hardware and something very similar to Skylab for extended mission resources. It could have happened for the price of a single shuttle mission too.

    • by Flytrap (939609) on Saturday May 31, 2014 @07:11PM (#47138325)

      Maybe the small matter of getting the thing into space using a rocket engine is why they still need the Russians.

      The most powerful rocket engines are made by the Russians... and the US buys several a year to launch its biggest payloads into space (http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/us-military-national-security-agencies-vexed-by-dependence-on-russian-rocket-engines/2014/05/30/19822e40-e6c0-11e3-8f90-73e071f3d637_story.html)

      SpaceX is developing some pretty powerful launchers, but until they can match the power and reliability of the Russian RD-180, I don't think that NASA or the Pentagon (who are the biggest buyers of the RD-180) will be turning their backs on Russian engines.

      From the linked article: "Long-term U.S. plans to produce a domestic cousin to the RD-180 never got off the ground. The aerospace sector discovered that it was comfortable with the workhorse Russian engines when it came time to launch sensitive missions like spy satellites. The Atlas V rocket has made more than 50 consecutive successful launches using the RD-180. NASA and other government agencies rely on the Atlas V for some of their scientific payloads."

      I have no doubt that the Dragon capsule will live up to its billing... So far, Elon Musk and SpaceX exceeded expectations on virtually everything. But, until then, the rickety, but dependable Russian Soyuz will continue to be the preferred choice of most astronauts for getting to and from the space station.

      However, the real reasons that astronauts like Chris Hadfield et al think that the Russian Soyuz will be hard to replace are hard to fit into a single post.

      • Consider, for instance, that the Soyuz TMA-M can hang around the space station for 6 months, and be ready for use to return astronauts safely back to Earth, without a maintenance crew having to go and check every nut and bolt - a feat that even the Space Shuttle could never muster (for the record, the Space Shuttle had a mission duration of about 12 days - a few Columbia missions went up to 16/17 days).
      • Another example is that it takes the Soyuz just 6 hours to go from launch to docking with the space station (for comparison, it took the space shuttle almost 3 days to reach the space station after launch).
      • There are many other little things like these that are not cool or sexy, but make the ruthless efficiency and effectiveness with which the Soyuz executes and fulfils its purpose is second to none. It will take a lot more than a larger tin-can and a more comfortable ride to convince astronauts to put their lives in SpaceX's hands.
      • by jamstar7 (694492) on Saturday May 31, 2014 @08:47PM (#47138673)

        However, the real reasons that astronauts like Chris Hadfield et al think that the Russian Soyuz will be hard to replace are hard to fit into a single post.

        • Consider, for instance, that the Soyuz TMA-M can hang around the space station for 6 months, and be ready for use to return astronauts safely back to Earth, without a maintenance crew having to go and check every nut and bolt - a feat that even the Space Shuttle could never muster (for the record, the Space Shuttle had a mission duration of about 12 days - a few Columbia missions went up to 16/17 days).
        • Another example is that it takes the Soyuz just 6 hours to go from launch to docking with the space station (for comparison, it took the space shuttle almost 3 days to reach the space station after launch).
        • There are many other little things like these that are not cool or sexy, but make the ruthless efficiency and effectiveness with which the Soyuz executes and fulfils its purpose is second to none. It will take a lot more than a larger tin-can and a more comfortable ride to convince astronauts to put their lives in SpaceX's hands.

        OK, keep in mind orbital parameters. The ISS's orbit was specifically placed the way it was to allow the Russians to get to it with ease. It's on a steep incline that takes orbital corrections to manuver to from any other launch site than Baikanour. It passes directly over Canaveral occasionally, but the delta-v required to do a one shot insertion orbit to ISS from Canaveral is expensive. That's why the Shuttle was downrated for ISS missions in payload and duration.

        Shuttle was also a hell of a lot more complicated than a Soyuz capsule. It's like comparing a Prius to a Model T. Soyuz was designed for no-frills get them to orbit. Shuttle was designed to get a shitpile of cargo to orbit along with the crew and the gear to operate independently of anything once there. Think of it more like a spacegoing Winnebago.

        • How hard would it be to move the ISS? It's obviously not going to endure any great acceleration, but it needs to occasionally accelerate to adjust for atmospheric drag anyway. Just reangle those and nudge it a little each time. You wouldn't want to take it all the way equatorial, but enough to reduce the requirements from somewhere more southerly.

      • by thrich81 (1357561)

        "The most powerful rocket engines are made by the Russians..." -- the Russian RD-180 is a powerful and advanced engine, the best in it's current class of kerosene burners, BUT this has nothing to do with the ISS. No one is using an RD-180 powered rocket for either manned or unmanned access to the ISS. The only current launch vehicle using the RD-180 is the US Atlas V (according to my quick Internet research) which is not going to the ISS. And the all-American Delta IV can launch as much or more payload t

        • by Teancum (67324)

          The CST-100 (the spacecraft being developed by Boeing and also in the commercial crew competition that SpaceX is involved with) was planned on being launched on an Atlas V using the Russian RD-180 engines. That was supposed to dock with the ISS at some point in the future. They might be using a Delta IV instead, but that move is also much more expensive and one of the reasons why anybody is even discussing finding a replacement engine to the RD-180 as the cost savings really is that significant. Payloads

      • The most powerful rocket engines are made by the Russians

        Hmmm...

        RD-180 - 860,568lbf at S/L, a bit more in vacuum.

        F-1 - 1522000 lbf at S/L.

        Yeah, we're not making F-1 anymore. Which I understand is a side-effect of Shuttle - the capability to build more Saturns was deliberately eliminated so that there'd be no talk of an alternative to Shuttle....

        • RD-171 has similar performance to the F-1 engine and is still used in Zenit. RD-180 is an RD-170 engine cut in half basically.

      • Maybe the small matter of getting the thing into space using a rocket engine is why they still need the Russians.

        Uh? SpaceX build all their engines in-house.

        Consider, for instance, that the Soyuz TMA-M can hang around the space station for 6 months, and be ready for use to return astronauts safely back to Earth, without a maintenance crew having to go and check every nut and bolt - a feat that even the Space Shuttle could never muster (for the record, the Space Shuttle had a mission duration of about 12 days - a few Columbia missions went up to 16/17 days).

        That's a human consumables issue. Nobody is living in those Soyuz during that time.
        They never tried something like this with the Shuttle, but just docking an empty one for
        a couple of months would probably have worked too. A Shuttle landing never required
        a maintenance crew (although, in hindsight, this would've been nice. The known problems
        were still all launch issues though).

        Another example is that it takes the Soyuz just 6 hours to go from launch to docking with the space station (for comparison, it took the space shuttle almost 3 days to reach the space station after launch).

        That's a very recent development. It has been used how often now, three, four time

        • Is it a human consumables issue?

          When I read the comment my mind jumped to harsh conditions of space. Having all of the components work flawless for a few weeks is one thing, a few months is another thing.

          • by cbhacking (979169)

            As harsh conditions (for non-living things) go, Space isn't bad. There's no corrosion, no erosion, no wind or rain or waves (or windblown debris or acid rain or ocean salt). Temperature stresses are a problem, but all spacecraft, including the shuttle, are designed to accommodate them. Radiation is a problem, especially for the computers, but that's why spacecraft use redundant and hardened electronics. Micrometeorites are a valid concern; you need to make sure that they can either be resisted or their dama

            • Well, I was referring to the Dragon Capsule, not the SS. But to your point.

              Lines that hold pressure may be rated for weeks and thousands of temperature cycles may not be rated for months and 10's of thousands.

              The Soyuz capsule is designed to be a life boat and for months at a time it is basically dead. so it has the ability to start from a cold start. The SS couldn't do that.

              Not saying that it (either the SS or Dragon) couldn't be designed to those specifications but that were not. The things you point our

  • But... but... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Saturday May 31, 2014 @05:57PM (#47138007)
    You know, international cooperation can be a wonderful and mutually-rewarding thing.

    But relying on it, or even worse: having to rely on it, for space exploration (which has strategic value) is not just not smart but kind of insane.

    It's kind of like when the military was buying chips from China:, a little bit crazy, and a lot stupid.

    But that's Government for you.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      You epitomize the kind of thinking that keeps us going to war.

      You idiot.

      • by jamstar7 (694492)

        You know, international cooperation can be a wonderful and mutually-rewarding thing.

        But relying on it, or even worse: having to rely on it, for space exploration (which has strategic value) is not just not smart but kind of insane.

        It's kind of like when the military was buying chips from China:, a little bit crazy, and a lot stupid.

        You epitomize the kind of thinking that keeps us going to war.

        You idiot.

        Not really. Jane nailed it in one this time. Single-sourcing and then outsourcing your military hardware to a potential enemy is not a good idea. And even civilian gear can have military applications. If your potential enemy becomes a real enemy, you're VSF. Look at Russia. Indifferent to them before WW1 and afterwards, allies in WW2, then enemies during the long Cold War, followed by mutual friendship for a few years til Putin decided to annex most of Ukraine. Now we're pissed off at them again and

        • by dbIII (701233)
          Some extremely surreal moments occurred in WWII on that note with things like Vickers refusing to let other companies build some parts because that would violate an IP deal with a German company - which resulted in the only factory in the UK making those parts was bombed by German bombers with the same parts.
          However we are talking about a civilian case and the nature of space travel means you need a LOT of international co-operation just to be able to talk to people/instruments in space 24/7. NASA employs
        • Dude, you fail simultaneously at history and at geography.
          First, there was no indifference before WW1 and afterwards.
          Here [wikipedia.org] is one of the reasons why USSR has mistrusted USA since the beginning. And here [wikipedia.org] is why the distrust was mutual.

          Here [wikipedia.org] is how the mutual friendship looked like.
          And here [www.issa.nl] is a map of Ukraine. The red peninsula in the southeast is Crimea. No matter how you look, it isn't even close to be "most of Ukraine".

          • They are working on getting more of it like the so called 'Republic of Donetsk'.

            • Like what? I don't really think Russia is really much help to the separatists there, besides maybe turning a blind eye to firearm smuggling. Compare that with the quick, professional and bloodless annexation of Crimea and you'll see what I mean.

              All the photo "proof" that was shown to us was quickly proven to be bogus.

    • The US isn't "relying" on anyone for space exploration. The US has plenty of its own rockets. It's merely relying on Russia for launching astronauts as an interim solution until the ISS project ends or a commercial company comes up with a manned vehicle.

      When it would cost you $1000 to buy a car, and your neighbor lets you rent his car for $10/day, and you only need a car for a few days, it would be a good idea to use his car. And if he has the tendency of being treacherous, well, then you can buy your own c

      • The US isn't "relying" on anyone for space exploration. The US has plenty of its own rockets. It's merely relying on Russia for launching astronauts as an interim solution until the ISS project ends or a commercial company comes up with a manned vehicle.

        You contradict yourself in the first 2 sentences.

        (1) The ISS is "space exploration". Or research, at any rate, as part of our space exploration program.

        (2) The U.S. does not have "plenty" of manned rockets. It is RELYING on Russian rockets -- and when it's not Russian rockets, it's Russian engines -- to re-supply and man the ISS.

        (3) The whole reason we're doing that is that we DON'T have plenty of our own rockets, especially of the manned variety. Or engines for the rockets we do have. We have been

        • Whoa, slow down there. You suddenly jumped from a discussion about space hardware to fucking federal budget planning and bank bailouts. One thing at a time.

          The shuttle was a huge boondoggle that cost $1bn (a conservative estimate) to send up astronauts in an aging, unreliable death trap that had completely blown up on 2 out of 131 missions. Don't get me wrong; it was a great piece of hardware for its time, and the engineers who designed it in the 70's should be commended. Especially, the shuttle main engine

          • The shuttle was a huge boondoggle that cost $1bn (a conservative estimate) to send up astronauts in an aging, unreliable death trap that had completely blown up on 2 out of 131 missions.

            That was MY point.

            But there was no justification in keeping the shuttle. Cancelling it was a wise and prudent decision, probably the best decision in the space program since 1969. Just for reference, all of SpaceX's achievements to date have been done with less money than a single shuttle launch.

            Cancelling it WHEN THERE WAS A REPLACEMENT AVAILABLE would have been a wise decision. Cancelling it before a replacement was just plain stupid. Now... don't get me wrong here: yes, it was old and worn out and too expensive. My point wasn't that it didn't need to be cancelled, but that a replacement should have been designed and flying before then.

            You could either 1) double NASA's budget and ask it to crash-design (excuse the pun) a new manned vehicle in a couple of years. Too costly and risky. 2) Pour money into private companies to do the same. The public would never go for it, and it would also be too risky. 3) Cancel the shuttle program and divert the leftover funds to private companies to design a new manned vehicle, and in the meanwhile send up astronauts (as part of ISS obligations) with Russian rockets.

            This is just laughable. First, actually, the public has been behind a larger space budget for many years. And doing it right wouldn't have been i

            • > First, actually, the public has been behind a larger space budget for many years

              Uhm, where the fuck do you get this idea? Public opinion polls about NASA's budget have always been pretty much on the 'undecided' end, and increasing NASA's budget has never had overwhelming support except for in the 60's. Besides, what people say in an opinion poll is not indicative of what they actually want. When it comes time to actually vote for their representatives, the tendency has been to vote against representati

              • Besides, what people say in an opinion poll is not indicative of what they actually want.

                Again, you contradict yourself within just a couple of sentences. First you say that polls didn't show what I claim, then you say that polls don't show what people want.

                But even if I was completely wrong about public support, this is all beside the central point here.

                No. Plenty of people called for a replacement, and many even had working designs. NASA couldn't fund them because its budget was limited and all of it was spent on the shuttle and NASA. Again, you fail to understand my point.

                I didn't fail to understand your point. You failed to understand mine. I wasn't pointing fingers at NASA alone, but NASA plus the rest of the Federal government. I have little doubt NASA would have done it IF it had the funds, but it didn't.

    • by dbIII (701233)
      It's like having to buy oil from Saudi Arabia.
      Sucks but the alternatives are worse.
      • What alternatives? The eco-people are getting in the way of increasing domestic production (And sometimes even with good reason), and the conservatives are getting in the way of any attempts to reduce oil consumption because they oppose anything that involves government intervention.

        • by dbIII (701233)
          I'm getting more and more convinced that American education has declined to such a point that many think an analogy is something that comes out of an ass.
  • Let's not forget about close cooperation between American oligarchs and their Russian brothers. They absolutely don't care where their jets are the moment. It's all about power over nations. Having couple hundreds millions sheeps at disposal gives them warm feeling.
  • I didn’t think I would ever say this, but Chris Hadfield is entirely wrong. Cooperation is a wonderful thing, yes, but I tend to look at it a little more pragmatically: The Russians could easily refuse to carry non-Russian astronauts to and from the space station for whatever reason, marooning anyone already in orbit. They have clearly shown they have no problem breaking agreements when it suits them. Why can’t we see SpaceX as another entity that NASA can cooperate with to carry astronauts
    • They have clearly shown they have no problem breaking agreements when it suits them.

      Well, based on what I've seen in my time on this plant, The Russian Government, The EU, and the US governments break agreements, violate sovereignty and meddle in the affairs of other smaller nations as much as they want. It is one of the perks of being a top-dog in the world.

      However those are governments, you will generally find that people on all sides are more the less the same. They have fun, get laid, party, and have dreams and goals of their own.

      As such, just because the governments do nasty shit, do

      • by waimate (147056)

        Well, based on what I've seen in my time on this plant ...

        You're living on a plant ??

        My god, this place is bugged !!

  • by harperska (1376103) on Saturday May 31, 2014 @06:02PM (#47138041)

    Hadfield is a NASA PR guy (as well as an astronaut), so he is obligated to say all of the political talking points. Even though Dragon will remove US dependence on Soyuz for all LEO astronaut needs, that won't be for a couple of years yet, and in the mean time we can't afford to piss the Russians off to much lest they say 'nyet' and screw us out of access to the ISS before then. Note that he also was sure to cover the talking point of how awesome the Shuttle was. NASA is politically obligated to not admit it sucked even though the shuttle program was cancelled simply because it was a sucky boondoggle, because their funding comes from congresscritters whose constituencies greatly benefited from the shuttle's existence.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The Shuttle was awesome. Just not from a cost or safety perspective. It had a freakin' robotic arm in the payload bay and pretty decent upmass to LEO.

      The Russians own half the modules on the ISS, and they've threatened to detach them from the ISS after 2020; the ISS won't function without both the Russian and American modules. Not much good being able to fly to a non-functional station.

      Given the state of our space program and space program funding, it would probably take another 15 years and hundreds of bil

      • by jamstar7 (694492)

        The Shuttle was awesome. Just not from a cost or safety perspective. It had a freakin' robotic arm in the payload bay and pretty decent upmass to LEO.

        The Russians own half the modules on the ISS, and they've threatened to detach them from the ISS after 2020; the ISS won't function without both the Russian and American modules. Not much good being able to fly to a non-functional station.

        Given the state of our space program and space program funding, it would probably take another 15 years and hundreds of billions of dollars to build a new space station to replace the ISS -- whether it's in 2020 (the current termination date) or 2024 (the proposed extension date).

        Some heavy lifting capability, the US can launch replacement modules. Hell, we can put them in an orbit that makes SENSE if we don't have to worry about the Russians being able to get to it from Baikanour.

        • by Teancum (67324)

          The down mass capabilities of the Shuttle have not been replaced nor is it anticipated that it will ever be replaced within this century. That is one thing which the retirement of the Space Shuttle definitely hurt.

          • by jamstar7 (694492)

            The down mass capabilities of the Shuttle have not been replaced nor is it anticipated that it will ever be replaced within this century. That is one thing which the retirement of the Space Shuttle definitely hurt.

            Per specs, Shuttle could put 25 metric tons in LEO. Falcon 9 V1 can put 13.1 metric tons in LEO. Falcon Heavy is scheduled to put 53 metric tons in LEO and expected to fly in 2015. I didn't realise that the century is ending this year.

            • by Teancum (67324)

              The Falcon Heavy has zero metric tons of down mass capability. I'm not disputing that other vehicles can put up more tonnage. The Dragon spacecraft does have the down mass capability of about two metric tons... of pressurized cargo that must fit through the docking/berthing hatch. I suppose that is a start though.

              Again I repeat who is planning on building a vehicle that can haul a 15-20 ton satellite (or other piece of bulky equipment or even hunk of an asteroid) down from LEO to the Earth's surface, and

      • The Russians own half the modules on the ISS.

        It's more like 5 out of 17. And one of those (Zarya) was bought with US funds. A real shame that functions of Zvezda aren't redundant, though..

    • " simply because it was a sucky boondoggle"

      The question is was it a sucky boondoggle for technical reasons, or political reasons. Technically the shuttle had a lot going for it, pretty hefty re-usability, high performance, major cargo capacity up and down. I think its major issues came from the political side rather than a fundamental issue with the technology. Funneling massive amounts of money to various constituencies, relying on defense contractors & no bid contracts. With some relatively minor

    • by asavage (548758)
      Note that Hadfield is retired from CSA/NASA and while he held positions at NASA it was on assignment from the Canadian Space Agency.
    • First off, Hadfield is a (now retired) Canadian astronaut, so if anything he's a CSA PR guy. Secondly, he (rightly) considers the Russians to be the leading experts in long-term human presence in space - they have been building and operating space stations much longer than we have. Thirdly, he spent a good chunk of his career living and working in Russia, with the Russian space program, so he's pretty well qualified to understand their contributions to the ISS.

      I don't think he's at all the PR shill you s
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Fuck that looks shaky, Fully soft instroment pannel with no anolog backup, I guess in space iff you are screwed you are screwed. That door looks a bit light weight too :S

  • Or do all programs run bugfree the day you write them?

    • by CrimsonAvenger (580665) on Saturday May 31, 2014 @07:06PM (#47138313)

      Escape sequence test later this year groundside.

      At least one more of those from atop a Falcon in flight,

      After that, they can put men it for further testing groundside (pretty much more escape sequence testing).

      Then they send some men up in the thing.

      Note that in parallel with that testing, there'll probably be at least one unmanned test to the ISS to test whether this thing can dock to ISS without the robot arm.

      After all that, it goes live. Note that Dragon V2 is expected to be man-rated by 2016, if you're trying to guesstimate how long any testing will take. Note further that "man-rated" does not necessarily mean "ready to dock with ISS"....

      • Want to bet on whether or not SpaceX convinces NASA to let them transition to sending up the DragonV2 on the supply runs as part of the testing? It would give the new capsule valuable flight data, and wouldn't cost NASA another cent contract wise.

        • by Megane (129182)
          They're not really interchangeable. I'm pretty sure the berthing port is larger than the manned docking port, so that would limit the size of pressurized cargo because of the smaller door.
        • by jamstar7 (694492)

          Want to bet on whether or not SpaceX convinces NASA to let them transition to sending up the DragonV2 on the supply runs as part of the testing? It would give the new capsule valuable flight data, and wouldn't cost NASA another cent contract wise.

          Probably already in the pipeline for when they need to start testing the capsule in space. Unmanned cargo launches to see what it does, then go for the meatshots.

        • They have to alter the docking ring, something that's scheduled to happen later this year. That hardware will, IIRC, go up in one of the upcoming Dragon CRS flights. It's not needed for just the Dragon, either. Orion and all of the other capsules under development will also use it.

      • Awesome. I've been wondering about these details. You work for SpaceX or something?

    • by jamstar7 (694492)

      Or do all programs run bugfree the day you write them?

      That's what incremental tests are for. Like the legs they tested out on the latest Falcon launch.

  • Translation (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fnj (64210) on Saturday May 31, 2014 @06:56PM (#47138279)

    Hadfield: "The United States cannot fly to the Space Station without Russia, and Russia can't fly to the Space Station without the United States."

    Really means: "As a starry-eyed utopist, I don't WANT the United States to be able to fly to the Space Station without Russia, and I don't WANT Russia to be able to fly to the Space Station without the United States."

    Why stop there, Hadfield? Why not make it impossible to do without the cooperation of China, India, Africa, South America and the other 90+% of the world, too? Because it doesn't just take a village; it takes a whole world to do anything.

    Poppycock. Russia doesn't need the US to enable it to do a damn thing. And if/once the US gets its head out of its ass, it won't be abjectly dependent on Russia either. And the EU is there too, albeit not manned capability yet, and China and India are coming along rapidly too. And that is a good thing. The less you depend on a single gigantic tower of babel to accomplish everything, the better. That doesn't mean a desire for conflict. It means a desire for a rich flowering variety of innovating independent enterprises, because that is how you get redundancy.

    The star trek universe of a brotherhood of peoples is a siren song of what we (some of us) believe can be, and want to be, But man, it is not held together by everyone believing they NEED everyone else to accomplish anything. It is held together by everyone WANTING to collaborate with everyone else to mutual benefit. The Earth guys still have their own starship design, as do the Klingons, the Cardassians, and yes, even the Ferengi and the Romulans. The only way you can get into the brotherhood is to first prove you're good enough to Do Stuff yourself.

    • Chris Hadfield is a Canadian. Of course he wants international cooperation, otherwise, how is any non-US or non-Russian governmental astronaut/cosmonaut supposed to hitch a ride up and get a berth in orbit?
      • by c6gunner (950153)

        Chris Hadfield is a Canadian. Of course he wants international cooperation, otherwise, how is any non-US or non-Russian governmental astronaut/cosmonaut supposed to hitch a ride up and get a berth in orbit?

        You're kidding, right?

        At the moment, Canada pays the US to pay the Russians to get us into orbit. In a couple years we'll pay the US to pay SpaceX to get us into orbit, or we'll just pay SpaceX directly, and save a bundle in the process. It doesn't make bit of difference to us whether or not the US and Russia are cooperating.

        Hadfield's pro-international-cooperation stance is purely a result of his own values and politics. Though I have a hunch most astronauts would voice similar feelings.

    • by dbIII (701233)

      As a starry-eyed utopist

      No as a realist. If we wanted anything in the US to do the job well enough to reject the Russian's help NOW we would have had to put some effort in back from when Clinton was President. Since there is no other serious choice for a few years there's no option other than to accept reality, pay for seats on Soyuz, and give companies like SpaceX some help for a few years until they become a serious contender.

      Why not make it impossible to do without the cooperation of China, India, Afri

      • US. Hawaii. Europe. Japan. All friendly locations, long-term allies, politically stable. Between them you've got enough coverage for constant communications with everything in equatorial orbit, and most things in very inclined orbits too.

        • and most things in very inclined orbits too

          No.
          Which is why there is an international effort that includes sites in the southern hemisphere as well.

          • Much of the ISS communication is relayed via satallite, too.

            • by dbIII (701233)
              What a fine example of the Dunning-Kruger effect.
              Try the orange before looking for the more complicated stuff you don't understand either.
              • If I am wrong, then I am wrong. I am no expert in this matter: I simply googled a little and learned that the ISS has many communications links, of which several run via satellite. Perhaps though, rather than smugly insulting my intelligence, you would like to contribute a more detailed explanation of why I am wrong?

                The only obvious error I see on my part is in overestimating the height of the ISS, which would on closer examination pose more of an issue for the inclined orbit. But this doesn't explain why i

                • by dbIII (701233)
                  One word you can already relate to - lag.
                  There are a variety of other issues that make it far less desirable than ground stations such as bandwith, directional antenna placement and it being a hell of a lot easier to put hardware on solid rock than orbit.

                  Since you keep on pushing a silly suggestion from ignorance and pretending the obvious is not then why are you unprepared for consequences? If I told you "but the beige box really is the hard drive and the LCD is the computer" after being corrected once o
                  • I keep pushing until I understand why my suggestion is silly. I'm starting to get a better idea of that now.

                    My current conclusion is that communicating with the ISS without Russian cooperation, through ground stations in long-term friendly countries and DRSS relays, is possible - but it would mean periods of reduced-bandwidth higher-latency communication while in those parts of the orbit only DRSS can reach (It already communicates via that at times, so must have the hardware and antennas at both ends). I'd

                    • by dbIII (701233)
                      Forget Russia - just consider that a spread of points around the globe is better than about 1/4 of a hemisphere.
    • What? Believing that interdependence is good doesn't mean that you are a bleeding-heart one-love hippy. It just means that Hadfield is a realist and acknowledges all the expertise and capability of the Russians. And that he understands the fact that the ISS literally cannot survive without the Russian modules that perform critical functions.

      I'm not saying that scrapping our manned space capability before we had a replacement was a good idea, nor was it a good idea to design our workhorse military launch

We want to create puppets that pull their own strings. - Ann Marion

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