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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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  • by ackthpt ( 218170 ) on Friday January 27, 2012 @03:36PM (#38843715) Homepage Journal

    Consider the source - Itar-Tass is probably Russian for "Fox News"

    Back before the walls came down Tass was the mouthpiece of the Kremlin. If Tass is saying something then it's with the full support of Putin.

  • Year of the Dragon (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Sponge Bath ( 413667 ) on Friday January 27, 2012 @03:43PM (#38843809)

    From Space X's website : "Today marks the start of the Year of the Dragon in the Chinese calendar, and this year, SpaceX's Dragon will become the first privately developed spacecraft to visit the International Space Station."

    I hope so, or we may eventually have to rely on Chinese launch capabilities.

  • Re:This (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ColdWetDog ( 752185 ) on Friday January 27, 2012 @03:43PM (#38843815) Homepage

    The weird thing is that we DO have significant launch capabilities. The Atlas and Delta [] systems have excellent safety records, they haven't been human rated for some odd reason. Seems like a good time to do some paperwork?

  • Title is misleading (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Mercano ( 826132 ) <mercano@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Friday January 27, 2012 @04:22PM (#38844291)

    The title of this story is misleading. It isn't the rockets that are grounded, its the spacecraft that sits on top of them.

    Also, for what it's worth, the shuttle wouldn't have been help matters much if the Russian's can't fly a Soyuz. While the shuttle is fine for swapping crews (in fact, the shuttle's runway landings are gentler than the Soyuz's parachute landings, a good thing for people who have spent the last six months in 0g), the shuttle can only fly a two week mission, meaning without a Soyuz attached to the station, we'd have to leave people in orbit without an immediate way home, a risk that neither NASA nor Roscomos is willing to take. The Soyuz itself is only rated for six months in orbit, giving them a limited window to fix the problems before we have to talk about unmanning the station.

  • by hairyfeet ( 841228 ) <bassbeast1968 AT gmail DOT com> on Friday January 27, 2012 @05:13PM (#38844993) Journal

    So why don't we work on man rating Atlas or Delta? It seems like we could get that off the ground a hell of a lot quicker than that "we'll recycle old shuttle parts!" clusterfuck that was constellation. Its pretty obvious there needs to be a not only plan B but a plan C and D if we are gonna keep going out there and both atlas and Delta have been used for ages and is well tested tech.

    Personally though i think we should just wash our hands of the whole "meatbags is spaaaace!" idea until we can come up with some better engine tech than overgrown V2s and just let the bots handle it. As we have seen with the NASA small missions you can get a HELL of a lot of real hard science done for a hell of a lot cheaper than sending meatbags up for even a week, we're talking years worth of data about everything from how our sun works to closer looks at the farthest planets. until we develop some better engine tech, which can be tested on the probes so nobody screams if it blows up the first couple of tries, it just seems to me the smarter money would be to use our limited budgets and resources on probes than trying to act like its still the sixties. hell the only reason we were willing to blow metric fuckloads of money on it then was so we could give the Ruskies a collective teabagging and say "In your FACE Boris! you see that moon over your head? it has an American flag on it giving you the finger so bite it!". Now that the cold war is over the whole thing, while a nice notch in the history books, just seems pointless to continue when all we'll have to show for it is some pictures off some astronaut's Nikon of LEO, like we don't have a bazillion shots of the blue marble. Quit wasting money on matbags and get to cranking out probes to send all over our little corner to learn all we can, doesn't that sound like a better plan?

  • Re:This (Score:4, Interesting)

    by hairyfeet ( 841228 ) <bassbeast1968 AT gmail DOT com> on Friday January 27, 2012 @05:34PM (#38845259) Journal
    I don't know about him but I'm friends with one of the engineers that designed the shuttle mockups (really cool stuff, he has a great shot of him pushing a 25+ ton model all by himself because it was so perfectly balanced, also got to hold some of the actual blueprints for the shuttle interior cargo hold he rescued from the trash) and he sadi too many politicians were involved and i for one believe him. you look at the map of where the shuttle parts were being built and it looked like a shotgun blast on the map of the USA because so many politicians wanted a piece of the action so him saying that nothing got approved that would hurt Congressman Porkus from bringing home the bacon rings true to me. After all look at how many bridges to nowhere and other completely pointless projects we've had over the years because it brought money in to the right senator's or congressman's district. Sadly that is the problem with large government projects, suddenly all the congressmen are squealing like little piggies and fighting for a spot at the trough, nobody gives a crap about the good of the country, just the good it'll do their re-election campaign.

Loose bits sink chips.