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ISS NASA Space Science

Russian Rocket Fleet Grounded Again 66

Velcroman1 writes "Failed pressure chamber tests have forced Russia to postpone two manned launches to the International Space Station — echoing a 2011 situation that left the country's space transport vehicles grounded and led to speculation that scientists may be forced to abandon the orbiting space base. Six astronauts are currently aboard the ISS including two Americans: Commander Dan Burbank and Flight Engineer Don Pettit. 'There is plenty of margin for the current space station crew to stay onboard longer, if necessary, and plenty of margin in our manifest for upcoming launches,' a NASA spokeswoman said. But Soyuz issues are scary nonetheless. 'This re-entry capsule now cannot be used for manned spaceflight,' an unnamed source told Interfax."
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Russian Rocket Fleet Grounded Again

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  • Re:This (Score:5, Informative)

    by robot256 ( 1635039 ) on Friday January 27, 2012 @03:49PM (#38843891)

    Already in the works, these articles from last summer, and at least two companies planning to use the man-rated Atlas 5 rocket

  • Re:This (Score:4, Informative)

    by geekoid ( 135745 ) <`dadinportland' `at' `'> on Friday January 27, 2012 @03:58PM (#38843995) Homepage Journal

    Nope. Sorry, I know far too many people at NASA for that to remotely ring true.

    However, Space flight is very dangerous, requires high label of engineering and maintenance, and is risky not jsut to the crew, but to everyone who wants to get to space. So there are a lot of details and NASA, being the experts, know what companies need to do. Companies OTOH get all pissy when they find out going to space is in no way like flying a plane and need to be held to a high standard, just like NASA.

    NASA has nothing to gain by limiting private companies. Being able to rational remove themselves from low orbit bus trips is something they would like see happen.

    Congress did NOTHING to help them move to a new launch vehicle. NASA originally didn't want a shuttle, they wanted specialized ships. One for people, and one for Cargo. Had congress allowed for that, we would have a more robust commercial launch system...probably.

  • by ChrisCampbell47 ( 181542 ) on Friday January 27, 2012 @04:05PM (#38844073)

    Alexei Krasnov, chief of piloted programs:

    "The malfunction was found in the service elements of the descent capsule....but no decision was taken to delay a forthcoming launch.

    Krasnov acknowledged that several days ago some problems really emerged....but the problems are related to a service element, rather than the descent capsule,

    Krasnov did not rule out that “the schedule of piloted missions will be revised,” but he sees no tragedy in this. “There are program reserves to deal with the emerged problem,” he underlined.

    “It is very good that upon the results of the tests we received critical remarks before the spaceship was brought to the Baikonur spaceport, because we have some time and possibilities to examine everything in detail,” Krasnov concluded. []

  • Re:This (Score:4, Informative)

    by notany ( 528696 ) on Friday January 27, 2012 @04:25PM (#38844349) Journal

    But we can save money. Soyuz program is the most successful launch platform by wide margin. It's safe, cheap, reliable and can launch frequently. Soyuz has over 1700 successful launches. It's the closest thing to "space truck" that there is.

  • Re:This (Score:4, Informative)

    by bobcat7677 ( 561727 ) on Friday January 27, 2012 @04:46PM (#38844635) Homepage
    Atlas is in the process of being human rated...but they are taking quite a while to do it. Not projected to have it's rating till 2015. The Delta rockets have the right payload rating for Soyuz, but I am sure integrating the systems would be a problem. Even Space X's Dragon probably won't be human rated till 2015 even though it starts delivering cargo to the ISS in March...though there is an effort underway at SpaceX to try and speed up that process I think.

The greatest productive force is human selfishness. -- Robert Heinlein