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ISS Space Science

Russian Resupply Crash Could Mean Leaving ISS Empty 291

astroengine writes "In the wake of the Russian Progress vehicle crash shortly after launch on Aug. 24, a chain of events has been set into motion that could result in the decision not to fly astronauts into orbit. If this happens, the ISS will be temporarily mothballed before the end of the year to avoid landing astronauts during the harsh Kazakh winter."
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Russian Resupply Crash Could Mean Leaving ISS Empty

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  • by kabloom ( 755503 ) on Sunday August 28, 2011 @11:02AM (#37233790) Homepage

    Russia has had fewer astronaut fatailities [wikipedia.org] than the United States, and all of the fatalities Russia has had have been less recent than any of the US's fatalities (those occurring in space, not on the ground). Although it would certainly be a tragedy if people died on a Russian spacecraft, please remember that the reason we now rely on Russian spacecraft is because people died on American spacecraft, and NASA responded by retiring all of the spacecraft involved in the human space program (without developing replacements).

  • Re:Oh if only (Score:4, Interesting)

    by yog ( 19073 ) * on Sunday August 28, 2011 @02:52PM (#37235352) Homepage Journal

    During the 2008 presidential election, Obama's campaign website contained a plan to cancel Constellation to pay for a national daycare program.

    Someone must have told him not to run on an anti-space platform, because this particular plank was later removed. Furthermore, his national daycare program never got off the ground.

    However, other expensive initiatives were indeed passed (healthcare, various bailouts), and Obama did follow through and cancel the current NASA shuttle replacement, until "the technology exists" in 10 or 15 years.

    The subsequent uproar from senators and congressmen in affected districts, supporters of the American space program, the press, and the general public then forced the Obama Administration to backtrack a bit, and they restored parts of the program including the actual capsule and a modified launcher.

    However it is clear that Obama has never been a big supporter of manned space efforts. Bush's vision was to replace the Shuttle fairly quickly, but unfortunately he shut down the shuttle before actually having a replacement in the wings. This gave Obama an opening to not only shut down the publicly funded manned program and give it over to the private sector, but he could blame Bush for the whole mess.

  • Re:Is that bad? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by NNKK ( 218503 ) on Sunday August 28, 2011 @08:02PM (#37237466) Homepage

    For more fun and to find out how it works, check out the Spin gravity calculator [artificial-gravity.com].

    In a nutshell, if you can't built a space station half a mile in diameter, don't even bother thinking about it.

    Cool page, but it doesn't really agree with you. Note its quote:

    In brief, at 1.0 rpm even highly susceptible subjects were symptom-free, or nearly so. At 3.0 rpm subjects experienced symptoms but were not significantly handicapped. At 5.4 rpm, only subjects with low susceptibility performed well and by the second day were almost free from symptoms. At 10 rpm, however, adaptation presented a challenging but interesting problem. Even pilots without a history of air sickness did not fully adapt in a period of twelve days.

    This suggests anywhere from 1-2 RPM could probably be workable, suggesting a practical radius of as little as 0.15 miles, or diameter of 0.3 miles (~241/482 meters). Further, this assumes 1g. It's highly unlikely that 1g is necessary.

    Mars is one of the most likely targets for extended-duration missions, and has a surface gravity of 0.376g. So let's say 0.4g. This lowers the diameter to as little as 180 meters (~0.11 miles).

    If you bring it up to 400 meters in diameter, or less than 1/4th of a mile, you can have 1 1/3rd RPM at better than Mars-equivalent gravity.

    Finally, diameter/radius can be a deceptive way of looking at this, since a basic spinning station need not be circular. A first pass need be little more than a room attached to a counterweight with cables.

Machines that have broken down will work perfectly when the repairman arrives.