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ISS NASA Science

Sarah Brightman's ISS Trip In Peril 105

RocketAcademy writes "Actress/singer Sarah Brightman's trip to the International Space Station may not happen in 2015 as scheduled. Space Adventures works with the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) to fly private citizens like Brightman on Soyuz taxi flights. Those taxi missions normally last eight days, but NASA and Roscosmos are considering a plan to extend the 2015 taxi flight to one month, so it can carry a scientist to perform some additional research aboard ISS. If that happens, Brightman will lose her seat. This situation points to the need for more flexible transportation options and new orbital facilities which are not subject to the same operational restrictions as ISS. SpaceX, Boeing, and Sierra Nevada are working on the transportation problem, while Bigelow Aerospace expects to begin launching its Space Station Alpha in 2015. So, the era of citizen astronauts visiting ISS may be drawing to a close."
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Sarah Brightman's ISS Trip In Peril

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  • Re:With good reason (Score:5, Informative)

    by thegarbz ( 1787294 ) on Monday March 18, 2013 @08:48AM (#43202187)

    No, the ISS is, was, and was always intended to be a corporate welfare platform to keep defense contractors in business during the waning period of the cold war.

    Yes. Except for all the actual research that goes on. It's actually been quite a while since I've seen a webpage quite as long as the list of experiments they've carried out: []

  • Re:With good reason (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 18, 2013 @08:50AM (#43202203)

    The Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer is the biggest experiment up there, but you could reasonably claim that it doesn't need a human presence. The only reason it was bolted to the ISS was that the station had enough solar panels to power it and a convenient comms link already in place. The spectrometer is an energy and bandwidth hog.

    There are a LOT of experiments done of the type "pack some of this stuff in a box and see how it reacts to being in freefall". Sometimes the stuff in the box needs prodding, or activating, or feeding. It's things like biological models for development and growth in low gravity, or manufacturing techniques, or fluid handling, and so on.

    The ISS is serving as a test rig to prove that our spaceships don't have to be leaky deathtraps, while also trying to figure out ways that life support can be improved even further (e.g. growing crops in space, fully closed recycling loops, and so on).

    It has a big impact in making space travel easier. SpaceX would not be able to dream of Mars if the only experience they could draw on for living in space was flying scrapheaps like Skylab or Mir. You'd have to be insane to want to go to Mars onboard something like Mir.

  • Re:With good reason (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 18, 2013 @10:18AM (#43202769)

    I see a lot of brochure science and very little research. For the billions that its cost I would expect at least a few peer reviewed papers. Well really for that kind of money i would expect something either equivalent to the Higgs or a lot more than a few papers.

    Some are linked to here:

    After all the Higgs discovery was delayed for 2 decades for that orbital white elephant. And it cost a lot more and is still a money suck.

    The ISS and LHC are funded from entirely separate budgets, and the LHC wouldn't have been built significantly faster even if more money had been thrown at it. It takes time to design and build a collider of the required size. Even if funding hadn't been withdrawn from the Tetravon it would've been detected by the LHC at about the same time. Certainly there wasn't a delay of 2 decades.

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