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ISS NASA Space United States

Russia Wants To Work With NASA On a New Space Station 152

HughPickens.com writes with news that Russian officials are talking about working with NASA to build a new space station as a replacement for the ISS after its operations end in 2024. Igor Komarov, head of the Russian Federal Space Agency, was unambiguous in his support for such a partnership. He added, "It will be an open project. It will feature not only the current members of the ISS." NASA, while careful not to discourage future cooperation, was not so enthusiastic. They said, "We are pleased Roscomos wants to continue full use of the International Space Station through 2024 -- a priority of ours -- and expressed interest in continuing international cooperation for human space exploration beyond that. The United States is planning to lead a human mission to Mars in the 2030s, and we have advanced that effort farther than at any point in NASA's history. We welcome international support for this ambitious undertaking." They reiterated that there are no formal agreements in place as of yet. These comments come as three crew members arrive at the ISS, two of whom will be up there for an entire year.
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Russia Wants To Work With NASA On a New Space Station

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  • or something like that.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Well, the situation in Ukraine isn't the doing of the folks at Roscosmos (I'm guessing mostly scientists, engineers, managers and administrators like Nasa), but you can be sure otherwise mutually beneficial cooperation will an early casualty of the political fallout. Too bad. I'm surprised all cooperation hasn't already be suspended actually. Politicians mustn't have got around to it yet.

      • by duckintheface ( 710137 ) on Saturday March 28, 2015 @07:37PM (#49362805)

        "I propose that the United States delivers its astronauts to the ISS with the help of a trampoline." Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin
        http://bit.ly/1BSlzlo [bit.ly]
        That's why the US can't trust the Russians to be part of a future joint space project. As soon as they have some leverage, they will use it.

        • by xfizik ( 3491039 )
          How do you explain the fact that Russia is still delivering US cargo and people to the ISS?
        • by Luckyo ( 1726890 )

          One should not throw stones when one lives in a house of glass. US is currently massively leading in top politicians making stupid talking points just to advance certain agenda, ranging from the entire Iran ordeal to the current conflict between branches of government that made country half-ungovernable.

          • And still the #1 nutcase politician running a country that isn't North Korea is still the shirtless russian by an entire furlong.
            • by Luckyo ( 1726890 ) on Sunday March 29, 2015 @08:17AM (#49364407)

              Out of interest, what do you then call US leaders who reacted the way they reacted and continue to act when Castro took power in Cuba in an overthrow of massively unpopular US-supported dictatorship then? Or when he took USSR nuclear missiles?

              That country didn't even have direct ground access to US, nor had been used as staging ground for assault on US heartland several times before in the history. Let me remind you of an obvious fact: all countries do things that Russia does and much worse when they feel their survival is threatened.

              The best part is that you're massively anti-democratic with that statement - overwhelming majority of Russian people specifically support the current policy of Russia. Not the leader but his policy. Even pro-Western organisations doing polling in Russia are in full agreement with this. How would you feel about comparing US leaders to North Korean ones in terms of "sanity"? Because one could easily make the point that they are far more crazy. Whereas North Korean leaders are quite logical in their actions being driven by survival of their dictatorship in their country, US leaders are often driven by severely conflicting interests that end up hurting the country itself as they feud with one another.

              Please remind yourself that "insanity" and "not being pro-Western" are only synonyms in propaganda.

        • by dbIII ( 701233 )
          As soon? When did the last shuttle fly again?
          Yes they have leverage now but we handed the lever to them long ago.
      • Well, the situation in Ukraine isn't the doing of the folks at Roscosmos (I'm guessing mostly scientists, engineers, managers and administrators like Nasa),.

        Why? There was a military installation in Ukraine - the rocket testing facility or something. All the personnel was nominally military and really scientific. When all this Ukrainian crisis began all they were to be sent to Donetsk to kill "vatniks" and "kolorads". They plainly refused, were fired and I believe they work for Roskosmos. We Russians are in need of good personnel.

        PS. Vatnik is a derogatory term for a person incurably poisoned with Soviet Communist propaganda ("vatnik" was a jacket with cotton h

    • they call ukraine "new russia"

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/N... [wikipedia.org]

      i suggest the usa call kamchatka "new alaska"

      china can reclaim outer manchuria they lost to russia in the mid 1800s

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/O... [wikipedia.org]

      fuck you russia, imperial bullying douchebag

      we should not be doing any space program with these assholes, we should be shutting down programs

      • If you know the history you should know that the historical Ukraine is the minuscule part of modern Ukraine, while Novorossia and Crimea attached to it by Tsars, Bolsheviks and Khruschev. And the last piece was Sevastopol annexed from Russia in 90-s.

        • if you know your history, the area is ottoman, tatar, lithuanian, polish...

          history can be used to justify any ignorant adventurist shit you can devise

          what's actually important is the fucking borders of a fucking sovereign nation, and that modern states respect that

          you didn't notice the imperial bullshit russia did on georgia in 2008?

          russia is doing imperialism 1850 style. it needs to be, and will be, punished for being a stinking pile of destabilizing shit because of insecure nationalism. oh glorious russia

          • What Russia did to Georgia in 2008 is a continuation of what Georgia did to itself in the early nineties. It was the same story as in the Balkans. Besides, as funny as it may sound, Russians were sort of the good ones in 2008. The then-president of Georgia saw his popularity dwindling and wanted to boost it - especially within the nationalist circles - with a little war on the break-off population which was de-facto independent for 15 years.

            what's actually important is the fucking borders of a fucking sover

            • What Russia did to Georgia in 2008 is a continuation of what Georgia did to itself in the early nineties

              i stopped reading there

              russia has no right to invade a sovereign country. do you understand? of course they have a "reason." do you have a functioning brain? can you see through their bullshit?

              russia meddled in an *internal* georgian dispute that occurred within the internationally recognized borders of georgia. then it divided the country into a "new" bullshit country abkhazia

              is it ok if the usa invades the mexican district of sonora and announces that it is a new country? why can the usa do this? uhhh...

              • i stopped reading there

                And this is a part of the problem. Saying "la la la I can't hear you" doesn't change the facts. Kindly read completely, then respond.

                russia meddled in an *internal* georgian dispute that occurred within the internationally recognized borders of georgia. then it divided the country into a "new" bullshit country abkhazia

                Abkhazia is not a new bullshit country, it is, in fact, a very old one, but it is a different history lesson. Russia meddled in an internal Georgian dispute because, amo

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 28, 2015 @07:07PM (#49362711)

    Why do they retire the ISS? Wouldn't it be a lot cheaper to keep it in orbit and expand/maintain what we already have up there?

    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 28, 2015 @07:32PM (#49362795)

      The materials are not radiation rated for much longer than 2024, and we simply don't know how long some of the seals will last.

      • by Ecuador ( 740021 )

        Holy crap, I didn't realize they had seals up there! I would assume that at most there would be some otters...

    • by Chuq ( 8564 )

      That's what I was thinking ... even if all modules eventually get replaced, Ship of Theseus style. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

    • The station is exposed to full daylight and darkness each 45 min orbit. Apparently the thermal cycling caused by each hot/cold change forms microscopic cracks in metals so they are worried about the structure losing strength over time.
    • The space environment puts incredible wear on hardware. Remember that in LEO, it gets extremely hot, then extremely cold every 90 minutes (orbital period), and this puts a lot of fatigue on the hardware. It's unlikely that they'll keep the hardware around after the ISS hits end-of-life.

      OTOH, it'll be exciting to see what the US can do, with the availability of a 100 ton-class super heavy lift rocket. Maybe something with huge, pre-fitted Skylab-like modules? I'm sure they'll be looking for something with 1)

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Watch out for little green men showing up. Sure, they will claim to be locals just protecting fellow Russians, but it never goes well.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Station Spaces you!

  • I know there are at least a few efforts at work on private space stations, including space hotels.

    To me it no longer makes sense for government to work on a space station, when they could be helping to fund private efforts by guaranteeing to lease some of the space aboard commercial stations for government use.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Come up with a business case for one.

      Balance the risks.

      It won't make sense.

  • by Todd Knarr ( 15451 ) on Saturday March 28, 2015 @07:29PM (#49362787) Homepage

    If the US wants to go to Mars for more than a single short mission, it's going to need the ISS or a replacement. We'll need to be able to build ships in orbit so they aren't limited by the constraints of the first hundred or so miles of the trip (lifting the ship up from the surface to Earth orbit), that's the only way we'll be able to build them large enough for the crew, supplies and equipment needed for a mission of more than a week or two. And if we want this to be a sustained thing, sending more than a couple-three missions, we're going to need to be able to build ships without shipping the majority of their components up from surface.

    We can already see the parallels from large historical construction projects in the US. For Hoover Dam they didn't ship the concrete in from the nearest cities and they didn't have the workers commuting between the dam site and those cities. They set up the cement plant on-site to make the concrete from local materials and a town sprang up at the site to house and supply the workforce. For resources (silver, gold, timber, cattle, oil, etc.) it's worked the same way, people moved to where they were needed and the facilities and infrastructure to house, support and feed those people grew with the population. Because frankly you just can't run an oil field in Texas with all your workers and suppliers back in New Orleans.

    • by Mashiki ( 184564 )

      I strongly have the feeling we'll see space elevators before we get to Mars. Moon will be before that, and probably in my lifetime.

      • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

        Nah, permanent moon base and yep, free for all mines. You get there first and you stake your 1km by 1km mine and develop it within a decade, then it is yours. Want to stake a hundred, you had better develop them all and get them in production, else you will lose them. Think that is unfair, exactly how easy or hard do you expect it to be to develop a mine on the moon and that mine to start producing the materials for a larger moon base, a real space colony station and then a much larger space ship than peopl

        • by itzly ( 3699663 )

          We have plenty of 1x1 km areas on Earth that you can go mine for a lot less effort, but there's very little interest for most of them. On the moon, where everything will cost magnitudes more, mining is even less interesting.

    • by phayes ( 202222 )

      Who says ISS is better adapted to performing on-orbit construction better than something newer built for the purpose and without the political circus that comes with ISS? You?

      If, as hoped, Space-X brings it's MCT online with as few problems as the Falcon 9 has had, ISS's assemblage of bite-sized modules is going to look old real quick.

      • That's why I said "or a replacement". At the least, the ISS can serve as a construction shack while assembling that replacement, and as a source of parts and refined/processed raw materials to expand it's replacement. It's replacement may not even ever be truly separate, it may start as new modules attached to the ISS and once those new modules have enough space the original ISS modules would be disconnected and cannibalized.

        • by phayes ( 202222 )

          Who says that the best plan is to perform lots of lengthy construction in LEO? Beyond dwarfing the lift capacity of the modules that form ISS it may also render Mars direct (or almost - send up one with all the hardware & fill it's expansive resevoirs with a second or even third) preferable.

          As for reuse of raw materials, other than for consumables like water and maybe ammonia, there is little to profitably mine usefully from ISS for a Mars mission. If the seals are unreliable to the point they want to a

    • Do you really think there are going to be humans in LEO turning bolts with hand-held wrenches, and that's how the Mars ship will be built? Did you not notice that even in the safety of Earth's factories, humans aren't really doing that kind of stuff anymore? By the time we get around to building a Mars ship, I doubt our automated manufacturing machines will be worse than now, and unlike humans, these machines can actually be designed to perform optimally in space.
    • Re:Need the ISS (Score:4, Informative)

      by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Saturday March 28, 2015 @09:13PM (#49363117) Homepage

      If the US wants to go to Mars for more than a single short mission, it's going to need the ISS or a replacement. We'll need to be able to build ships in orbit so they aren't limited by the constraints of the first hundred or so miles of the trip (lifting the ship up from the surface to Earth orbit), that's the only way we'll be able to build them large enough for the crew, supplies and equipment needed for a mission of more than a week or two. And if we want this to be a sustained thing, sending more than a couple-three missions, we're going to need to be able to build ships without shipping the majority of their components up from surface.

      And the ISS will help how, exactly? The entire ISS came from the Earth's surface. Unless you have a really fancy plan to do asteroid/lunar mining, that's where all future materials will ultimately come from too. The ISS is way, way down in Earth's gravity well so if you could do mining you wouldn't build it there anyway. We can assemble a ship in orbit with or without the ISS, nothing really gets easier. What we're building must have a crew module, so any astronauts working on assembly can just live there. Not that I really see the need, the assemblies could dock like spaceships do and just interlock with bolts.

      Star Trek has ruined a generation's sanity when it comes to space stations. The only reason you'd want a space station is so you can have a ship come in for maintenance, repair, upgrades or refueling in orbit so they don't have to go down the gravity well. If all you're doing is sending ships out never to return, it's a total waste of time. Unless you get to the point where you have a shuttle taking things from Earth orbit and Mars orbit and returning for a refuel it doesn't make sense. And it probably doesn't make sense unless you can refuel in Mars orbit. Which means it's not happening in this century.

      Space stations are not like gas stations where you just drop by as you pass one by. Unless you're planning to be in Earth orbit, entering Earth orbit to dock with the ISS and deorbiting to get to your destination costs a helluva lot of fuel. And that is the crux of the issue, it almost never makes sense to build a waypoint into your route as opposed to just going to whereever you were planning to go in the first place. If possible you might not even want to assemble in oribt, just launch multiple rockets on the same trajectory and have the bits assemble in zero g before firing off to their final destination.

      • And the ISS will help how, exactly? The entire ISS came from the Earth's surface. Unless you have a really fancy plan to do asteroid/lunar mining, that's where all future materials will ultimately come from too.

        Yep, it did. And yep, we will need asteroid or lunar mining of some sort to get raw materials. Like I said, we can't sustain orbital manufacturing and construction while lifting the majority of the materials and supplies from the surface, which means we'd better stop dismissing lunar and asteroid min

        • by Kjella ( 173770 )

          which means we'd better stop dismissing lunar and asteroid mining and such as sci-fi dreams and start figuring out how to make them work

          Well then start there, not build the Enterprise and say "When we're ready to build the warp drive..." because even Mars One got more realistic plans for travelling to Mars than anyone got for lunar/asteroid mining.

          your workforce for the next step can have a place to stay in orbit rather than commuting to and from the surface all the time.

          The effects of radiation and zero-g, not to mention humane working conditions means you'd want to rotate the crew a couple times a year. Nobody will live in space any more than they'd live on a nuclear submarine, unless it's another massively shielded artificial gravity sci-fi dream.

          And ultimately it'll end up being recycled into raw materials or basic parts for something else once it's no longer needed

          Nobody has suc

    • by itzly ( 3699663 )

      If the US wants to go to Mars for more than a single short mission

      They don't. The only (poor) reason to go to Mars is to plant a flag. Mars is a barren wasteland, with high radiation, low temperatures, almost no atmosphere, and no easily accessible materials or water. Apart from the coolness factor, there's nothing to be gained from having a few people walk on the surface.

    • The ships used for a mars colony should be re-used. Construct ship (at station), fill ship, send to mars, unload (at station), return to earth.
  • by BlueCoder ( 223005 ) on Saturday March 28, 2015 @07:41PM (#49362821)

    Please explain to me why it needs to be replaced? It's took a lot of money to get all that weight up there in the first place. As an engineer I want to reuse and expand and not throw anything away.

    NASA can't build tin cans that can survive in space for a hundred years? There are planes from WW2 that are still flying and those rattle. And yes I can understand that they can turn into swiss cheese but that's what patching and welding is for.

    Hopefully at some point Elon Musk will be able to back away from the day to day operation of SpaceX and start recycling and manufacturing facilities in space. Things get at least a hundred times cheaper when they don't have to survive the stresses of liftoff. I can see a day when everything is covered with shielding panels and as they get corrupted are replaced, melted down and recast.

    • And quite frankly I think we missed the ball in putting up a "space station" that is used for research rather than a "space garage/machine shop". The garage could build science stations and other garages.

      • by Luckyo ( 1726890 )

        That is wildly unrealistic with our current capabilities and well in the realms of fiction. In space you have countless problems when trying any kind of significant production, ranging from access to work force, access to hardware, having to lift all components and all machinery from the planet's gravity well into orbit, to things like power supply problems, cooling problems, highly hostile environment problems, and countless others.

        Even if we had the technological capability to do what you suggest, the cos

    • by ColdWetDog ( 752185 ) on Saturday March 28, 2015 @08:14PM (#49362953) Homepage

      A seagoing vessel is probably a better analogy (boats fall apart just floating around) - while there are ancient boats still floating, pretty much everything in them has been replaced at one point or another. In a dock - which is a pretty benign environment. It may be impossible to disassemble the ISS and replace the bad parts in orbit. Look at how much effort goes into just putting a new refrigerator on the outside of the thing. We just don't have the technology to uncouple a module, re weld a section and bolt / weld it back together again.

      We likely should be working on that ability but this sort of construction and repair isn't sexy enough, I guess. Space is hard. Very hard. Budget constraints have made it so the US and Russia are really just jogging in place on the ISS - very little real research (such as in orbit assembly) is even being contemplated.

      ISS-2 will be put together on the ground and boosted into segments and snapped together in orbit, but it won't be 'built' in orbit. There won't be any machining, welding, wiring, insulating or any of those types of functions done in space. We are no where near being able to do that past the sound stage.

      • It may be impossible to disassemble the ISS and replace the bad parts in orbit.

        Why? You have EVA access to all external parts of ISS Alpha. You should have access to all internal parts of the station. The real issue I've seen come up is all about seals. The station is mostly modular, single piece segments attached to a node. Just seal up that node junction internally (like it was before the module arrived), disconnect external connections, use the station arm to pull the module free, replace the seals, reconnect.

        I can think of at least a Lego and a car analogy, but I can't be bothered

      • by Ecuador ( 740021 )

        I thought the ISS was modular and not all modules are the same age. Can't they just start decommissioning and replacing the oldest ones first? I would assume when they were touting a "modular design" this would be the idea...

    • by DerekLyons ( 302214 ) <fairwater AT gmail DOT com> on Saturday March 28, 2015 @10:40PM (#49363319) Homepage

      As an engineer I want to reuse and expand and not throw anything away.

      If you were truly an engineer (a real one, not just someone with an overinflated title), you'd know that things age and wear out.
       

      NASA can't build tin cans that can survive in space for a hundred years? There are planes from WW2 that are still flying and those rattle.

      A real engineer grasps the impact of parts count and complexity. Not only is the ISS not just a "tin can", those planes are orders of magnitude simpler than the ISS.
       
      Not to mention that those planes take hundreds of man hours a year to maintain in flyable condition - and man hours in space cost tens of thousands per.
       

      Things get at least a hundred times cheaper when they don't have to survive the stresses of liftoff.

      Sure, as any engineer knows, you can easily manufacture things given enough infrastructure. Since you're an "engineer", you should be able to estimate the cost of developing a (currently non existent) weightless capable factory complex, and the costs of placing hundreds to thousands of tons on orbit, and the ongoing costs of logistics, support, and maintenance needed to produce those "hundreds of times cheaper" parts. You'll also be able to understand that a space craft is made of hundreds of different kinds of materials, only a few of which are amenable to recycling.

      • I understand the difficulty now, but maybe in 30-50 years, we'll be able to reclaim and re-use materials in space much easier than we can now. So, why not aim for middle ground? Aim to boost the ISS into a higher more stable orbit as a decommission method, to create a 'orbit landfill' if you will. I'd think it would be better than de-orbiting and burning up all that tonnage.

        Maybe they could start a show on TLC called Space Hoarders and have interviews with astronauts to cover the cost of that orbit incre

  • So what happens in 2024? They shut ISS down? I expect to see another crater somewhere in the middle of Australia soon after.
    Anyway, if you are going to build another one, then move it far out at null gravity between the Moon and Earth, instead of stuffing around in Earth orbit, i.e. stationary. Make it count as a stepping stone at least.

  • The ISS was a huge waste of NASA money, costing as much as all of NASA's "space exploration activities" combined (source: [kerbalspaceprogram.com]). This prevented, killed and neutered many missions that would have produced genuine science. It was simply a mistake. So hooray, let's make a bigger one!
  • by Rei ( 128717 )

    "We are pleased Roscomos wants to continue full use of the International Space Station through 2024 -- a priority of ours -- and expressed interest in continuing international cooperation for human space exploration beyond that. The United States is planning to lead a human mission to Mars in the 2030s, and we have advanced that effort farther than at any point in NASA's history. We welcome international support for this ambitious undertaking.

    Yeah, that's basically "Go F* yourselves" in diplomatic speech.

    An

    • NASA currently has two critical projects: the ISS and congresional pork. They simply don't have any money left over for a third major project.
  • We forgave them after the cold war and they've just started it all over again.

    We could have been their partners before. But because their treachery we could only accept them as subordinates in any cooperative arrangement going forward. They have shown themselves to be unworthy of being trusted as equal partners.

    • No. Gorbachev agreed to reunification of Germany in exchange to nonproliferation of NATO. Proliferation of NATO occurred well before Putin's rule, in 1999. NATO is simply not trustworthy. Moreover. You Americans told us Russians that we are freed from terrible Bolshevik oppression and are part of Free World. For your internal use, you won in Cold War and coined a medal in commemoration. We Russians tried to be part of your World Economy and quite soon found that our oil money cannot buy anything except cons

      • In regards to non-proliferation of NATO, that can't hold indefinitely.

        The people of the world can make alliances if they want and associate with whomever they want. What is more Gorbachev gave away things that he couldn't control anymore. Much as the French sold parts of America to the United States. Of course they did... they couldn't hold the territory so they sold it. Had they not sold it, they would have lost it and gotten nothing for it.

        As to your economic situation, the US has offered Russia help with

      • by Gryle ( 933382 )
        You've got enough posts on this story that I don't think you're a troll. As such I'll engage you like a human being: 1) What do you think your oil money should be able to buy in addition to consumer goods? 2) Cite your source for Gadhafi's loans to European politicians.
  • Let me guess its gonna be like the current one, owned by Russia, but US pays more then 75% of the costs to build it?
    • by Anonymous Coward

      YES. Thank you!
      Not only that, but check out the orbit it was put in... The orbit more favorable to Russia, of course.
      Oh, and the cost to launch one of their "partner" nations' astronauts into orbit?? 3-5 times that they charged the "space tourist" guys to go up.

  • Dear Russia,

    We would be happy to cooperate on this project.

    However, you get to pay for it this time.

  • I'd say we team with Satan himself if we could just build a Stanford Torus. Or *anything* that spins. I want to look up and see this with my telescope before I die!

    Sure there's difficulty and complexity there, but so many of the problems we have (both biological and station operation wise) are fixed or at least minimized with a little artificial gravity. ANY "permanent" outpost needs artificial gravity. Many industrial processes we'd like to do might benefit from some weight/acceleration too. (and of cou

  • Perhaps they (the Russians and the U.S.) should concentrate their efforts in cleaning up the objects currently in low earth orbit. It wouldn't make much sense to assemble a brand new space station and then have it ripped to shreds by all of the junk they put up there. The current space station makes numerous orbital maneuvers every year to avoid potential impacts.
  • This thread was all right until it got invaded by Putinbots.

    I imagine their bizarro reality to be a bit like the raving Republican Right right before the Iraq War. A crazy, demented, sad place, full of crazy demented, sad people.

    Sputnik News/RT is Russia's answer to Fox News.

    And Putin and his entourage are basically the Slavic equivalents of US Republicunts, but with a bit more intelligence and rat-cunning.

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