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Space Science

Kosmotras Launches Again 11

apsmith writes "When somebody says "world space power", how many of you think of Ukraine? Kosmotras has done it again though, with a third $1000/pound launch December 20, 2002 to low Earth orbit of six spacecraft on the Dnepr (formerly SS-18 ICBM) launch vehicle. Among the six were a variety of small European, South American, and one Saudi satellite, and a 'dummy' of the commercial TrailBlazer craft headed to the Moon next year. The Rubin2 craft launched yesterday is also of interest, as it will be the first Internet-controlled spacecraft to operate 24 hours a day without having to use ground stations."
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Kosmotras Launches Again

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  • Sustainable? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by crow ( 16139 )
    Is this a sustainable industry, or are they just using up inventory of old ICBMs?
    • Re:Sustainable? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by softsign ( 120322 )
      They appear to have some staff working on manufacturing in Ukraine, so it would seem that they may have the capability to build new rockets. However, I'm sure it's much more cost-effective for them to buy SS-18's from the Russian military. Given the former USSR's massive aresenal of ICBMs, this is probably a sound business plan for at least the next two decades. By that time, I sure hope we have better ways of getting payloads into orbit than by sitting them atop a couple hundred tons of solid fuel.
  • Wasn't this NASA's or X-project's or somebody's goal for cost to weight ratio of putting stuff in orbit? Is this relatively cheap compared to what it costs NASA per pound? Anyone know?
    • The Dnepr can launch 4500 kg, and the cost figure I heard was $10 million...

      And yes, it was NASA's goal for their "Space Launch Initiative" to bring costs down "an order of magnitude", to about $1000/lb. Unfortunately, government regulations prohibit NASA from using any non-US launch vehicle...
  • The Artemis List [] received the following press release earlier today on the successful Trailblazer "mockup" launch - I haven't seen it up elsewhere:


    SAN DIEGO TransOrbital, Inc. and International Space Company (ICS) Kosmotras
    today announced a "perfect launch" of TransOrbital's "Trailblazer" satellite at 8pm, Russian time.
    The launch represents a major milestone in TransOrbital's much-anticipated routine lunar
    delivery service.
    Today's launch, from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, of the "Trailblazer" into
    low Earth orbit was pronounced a total success by TransOrbital president, Dennis Laurie. The
    mission was designed to test rocket separation, downlink telemetry, spacecraft orientation and
    mass properties in preparation for the formal lunar launch.
    Vladimir A. Andreev, Director General of ICS Kosmotras, said, "We are excited about
    teaming with TransOrbital's first commercial development of the Moon. The ICS Kosmotras
    Dnepr LV SS-18 ICBM provides a proven cost effective technology for lunar launches."
    TransOrbital is on target to begin routine Moon travel, starting in October 2003. Laurie
    stated, "Significant commercial demand exists for high definition (HD) video, lunar mapping,
    data storage, scientific research, communications, and data archiving. Many corporate
    marketers see their products associated with the first commercial missions to the Moon."
    "Additionally, there is worldwide demand from private citizens to send personal items
    such as photographs, legal documents, business cards, burial ashes, and jewelry
    to the Moon."
    TransOrbital is the first and only commercial company licensed by the U.S. Department
    of State and the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for private
    sector flights to the Moon.
    Sir Arthur C. Clarke noted visionary and renowned writer, praised today's mission and
    commented, "All good wishes on TransOrbitals successful "TrailBlazer" launch."
    Support for the Trailblazer program has been provided by a number of companies,
    including Lunar Enterprise Corporation and Space Age Publishing.
  • Also, it looks like David Livingston of The Space Show [] will be interviewing Paul Blase of TransOrbital from Moscow tomorrow (Dec. 22), to broadcast Christmas Day:

    The December 25, 2002 Space Show program will feature Paul Blase, the
    Chief Technical Officer (CTO) of TransOrbital, Inc., the company
    preparing to send private missions to the Moon. Mr. Blase will be
    interviewed in Moscow, Russia on Sunday morning, December 22, 2002 at
    9AM PST as he will have just returned from the Ukraine to witness the
    Dnepr launch with the mock-up TrailBlazer payload onboard. The Space
    Show, hosted by Dr. David Livingston, focuses on timely and important
    issues influencing the development of outer-space commerce and space
    tourism, as well as other issues that are of interest to us all. This
    pre-recorded edition of The Space Show will air 8-9 PM Pacific Standard
    Time, Wednesday evening December 25, 2002 on KKNW 1150 AM in Seattle and
    on the internet.

    PLEASE NOTE THE FOLLOWING: The December 25, 2002 airing of this edition
    of The Space Show will be a pre-recorded program due to the holiday
    schedule at KKNW. You can hear and participate in the live recording
    session with Paul Blase from Moscow, Russia, Sunday morning, December
    22, 2002 at 9AM Pacific Time. This pre-record session will include the
    additional Special Edition part of the interview. As this is a live
    interview session, your e-mail questions and telephone calls using the
    toll free number are welcome and will be in real time.

    Paul Blase and TransOrbital have been at the forefront of companies
    planning commercial Moon missions.
    Mr. Blase and his associates founded TransOrbital in 1998, to in his own
    words, "develop the lowest-cost, commercially profitable lunar mission,
    leading to future commercial lunar exploration and development, and
    eventually colonization." TransOrbital was recently awarded NOAA
    licenses for its mission, has obtain the necessary export permits
    required under the law, and its TrailBlazer mission is scheduled for
    October 2003 on a Russia Dnepr launch vehicle. We will discuss the
    TrailBlazer mission with Mr. Blase, along with the full range of
    commercial lunar missions being planned by TransOrbital. We will ask
    him about the mock-up payload process, about both his and the
    TransOrbital relationship with The Mex-LunarHab (MLH) Project and the
    Mex-AreoHab (MAH) and MLH projects. Since this interview will be the
    first for Mr. Blase after witnessing the Dnepr launch from the Baikonur
    Cosmodrome, we will be able to receive a first-hand report not only on
    the Dnepr, but the launch facilities, the entire Russian launch
    experience, and much more. Listeners are encouraged to call or e-mail
    questions or comments to the guest or the host either before or during
    the show. To speak to with Mr. Blase or the host during the program,
    please use the toll free number which is 1 (866) 68-SPACE (1 866 687-7223).

    You can e-mail the guest or the host during the program at
  • So, these guys are undercutting NASA by a full order of magnitude in cost. Does anyone know if the U.S. is actively/secretively trying to shut these guys down? It cannot be good for the U.S. launch market and although they can try and defend their postion with all sorts of legal twists and turns, I think companies will not stand by idly when they can launch their satellites at one tenth of the cost somewhere else...

  • Yeah technology test witht his flight and then the money mission to the moon for mapping and all that. The real mission - slam Trailblazer probe into Moon while beaming back video of it. The big questions - where can I sign up for a live feed and what music should be played over the final broadcast? Isn't this is what technology should be about - making bucks and improving the quality of life and learning new stuff as well? Yeah the Moon is goinmg to get bit more banged up and a bit polluted. But really nothing compared to what the first tour bus of tourists will do to it.
    • Personaly I would be happy with making (only) the bucks need to pay for the mission. Improving the quality of life and learning new stuff IS the main point! On the other hand a little extra $$ will help pay for the follow on missions like: Seriously, anyone interested in this should send us a e-mail so we can start a contact list. You are not the only person planning on seeing the real time 'barnstorming' downlink. Anyone interested helping NOW can take a look at this page: sHome.html "give your loved one the moon" or "send your mother-in-law(picture) to the moon" ...We have to pay for it somehow... Robert
  • Rubin 2 (Score:2, Funny)

    by zomB1kenoB ( 629547 )
    Looks like a standard PC crammed into a spaceworthy shell. The ultimate case mod? "Look guys I shot my PC INTO SPACE! And I can control it through the INTERNET!!! Just wait till SLASHDOT sees this! I'm the coolest casemodder EVER!"

The other line moves faster.