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ISS NASA Space United States

ISS Crew Stuck In Orbit While Russia Assesses Rocket 105

astroengine sends word that the astronauts aboard the International Space Station will be staying up there longer than expected while engineers for Russia's space program try to figure out if it's safe to launch more rockets. The recent Russian cargo mission that spun out of control and eventually fell back into the atmosphere sparked worries that a vessel sent to retrieve the astronauts wouldn't make it all the way to the ISS's orbit. Roscosmos and NASA said the next rocket launch will be postponed at least two months. Even though the Russian cargo ship failed to reach the ISS, they have plenty of food, water, and air to last them to the next scheduled supply run — a SpaceX launch in late June.
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ISS Crew Stuck In Orbit While Russia Assesses Rocket

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  • by jpellino ( 202698 ) on Tuesday May 12, 2015 @01:56PM (#49675305)
    They're the closest next best backup for the Russian flights. Also they're not run by a government with a national leader who does bizarre things even by national leader standards. Yes, I understand that's not a tremendously high bar, but it's worth a look.
    • by Dunbal ( 464142 ) * on Tuesday May 12, 2015 @02:02PM (#49675391)
      While I am not an astronaut, the Kerbals have taught me that the tricky part of manned spaceflight is mostly the getting there. Coming back is pretty routine - in fact with just the tiniest amount of delta-v, it's unavoidable! I was under the impression that there is an "emergency" Soyuz capsule permanently docked at the ISS anyway for just this sort of contingency. But surely a "crew rating" would not be necessary to get an empty capsule using tried and tested tech (mercury, gemini, Apollo) up to them to ride back in. Oh, and GO KERBALS!
      • by ColdWetDog ( 752185 ) on Tuesday May 12, 2015 @02:06PM (#49675433) Homepage

        Yes, they can get back on man rated Soyez. No booster required. But then the can't bring another crew up until the rescue capsule is replaced by - wait for it - another Russian booster.

      • by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Tuesday May 12, 2015 @02:23PM (#49675627) Homepage

        Coming back is pretty routine - in fact with just the tiniest amount of delta-v, it's unavoidable!

        Sure, but presumably people mean safely.

        Any clown can crash into the surface of the Earth in a spectacular fireball. I should think it's the keeping them alive part that's the tricky part.

        • by Dunbal ( 464142 ) *
          Considering the first Russian cosmonauts actually bailed out of their capsules and floated down to earth with regular parachutes, it's pretty low tech. Lots of industrial processes use some form of ablative heat protection and the aerodynamics for keeping a re-entry vessel oriented in the "right" direction all by itself aren't too complex for today. Putting something that can survive re-entry together can't be too hard. The landing part - which can be trickier - can be circumvented in the above manner, by u
        • by matfud ( 464184 )

          It is not simple but it is well tested. move away from the space station. Do the hokey cokey dance stuff to wibble around. Wait a long time. Do a hard burn for deorbit. Pop the top off. Rotate so you are the correct way up and pretty much hang on to your hat cos you have little control from that point on. Land. Point gun at bears while waiting for helicopters (if they can find you and you did not sink in a lake)

          Simple.

        • by matfud ( 464184 )

          What ever happened to the concept individual person escape sheild/capsule things?

      • by sjames ( 1099 )

        They do have a lifeboat they can use to evacuate the station. However, ISS is not really meant to be left unmanned for an extended time, so that presents it's own problems.

      • Bear in mind that KSP doesn't model several important aspects of returning to the earth (or Kerbal). It doesn't cover keeping the thing pointing in the right direction so that you don't die in a fireball. It doesn't cover keeping the thing from entering the atmosphere too steeply so that you don't die in a fireball. It doesn't cover keeping the thing from (not) entering the atmosphere too shallowly so that you don't die in the frozen wastes of space.

        Aside from these basics of getting the thing flying the

        • It actually does, now. They just reworked the aero and heating so that parts will explode if you expose them to too much air friction. Unless you use stability control or keep your heat shield pointing in the right direction manually, it will tumble and conceivably tear itself apart / burn to a cinder. If you come in too shallow, you will aerobrake and head back out to space in a lower orbit where you may lose power - Kerbals don't eat or drink without an addon, so electrical power is the biggest concern

    • by umghhh ( 965931 )
      Which leader do you exactly mean? I think you should clearly call them as all leaders of major countries possibly involved in this discussion (i.e. about space travel) did and continue doing bizarre things. Each one in one's own little way of course but still.
    • So, what bizarre thing has Obama done recently?

    • Actually I hope SpaceX don't get distracted by this. They are doing some incredible things, and pushing a lot of boundaries, which is not easy to do for a high profile company. At this stage they could likely bounce back from a launch failure, but lose a crew and it is all over. Best leave it to the Russians until SpaceX has got a reusable first stage sorted out. There may be more rocket explosions in that development process and at the moment the media seems to have settled down about these being ''failure
      • by khallow ( 566160 )

        At this stage they could likely bounce back from a launch failure, but lose a crew and it is all over.

        Sorry, it's not that big a deal though they may well lose their commercial contract with NASA which would be a significant setback.

      • well, if NASA suddenly told SpaceX "their stranded, this is an emergency" and we HAD to use an "non-man rated" Dragon to get them back...even if it didn't work right and crashed this isn't SpaceX's fault. It's Congress's / NASA's fault for screwing up so badly that there was no other choice...at least there is a chance to get them down if Russia can't.
      • Lol. F9R would have nothing to do with manned launch until it was vetted.
        • by Megane ( 129182 )

          If they had to take "stranded" astronauts down in an emergency, the launch vehicle wouldn't matter at all. Just fit a Dragon capsule with some Soyuz seats (so that they can use their custom-fitted seat cushions) and some O2 tanks and CO2 scrubbers, and send it up.

          I'm not sure if the hatch door can be properly shut from the capsule side, or if it can be un-berthed without using the arm. Maybe they could undock the capsule and have everyone suit up and EVA to it, after docking it first to install seat cushio

    • by TWX ( 665546 )
      Heh. The monchrome graphics, the 40x25 font overlaid... I think that my 8088 with a CGA monitor could have displayed that content.

      Come to think of it I had an Indy-500 car racing game whose graphics were better than this, and would play on that computer.
  • Not stuck in orbit! (Score:5, Informative)

    by hackertourist ( 2202674 ) <hackertourist@CO ... l minus caffeine> on Tuesday May 12, 2015 @02:00PM (#49675359)

    They have a Soyuz attached to the station and can use that to return to Earth if they need to.
    They're just postponing a scheduled crew change, which is possible because despite the Progress failure, they still have enough supplies to last them until the next scheduled supply run.

  • Independent failures that pile up can be bad. Of course, just checking the safety for two months is far different from being unable to retrieve them.
  • by Tablizer ( 95088 ) on Tuesday May 12, 2015 @02:20PM (#49675589) Journal

    Houston Control: "...and, uh, your luggage went to Mars."

  • Where does the shit go ? Do they have a place for two more months' worth of crap ? I mean - seriously...
  • The coffeemaker still works.... right?

  • "Another month in outer space? (sigh) Oh, darn... (smirk)" or "Man, this is bullshit!"

    .
  • I suggest Space Oddity

  • by p51d007 ( 656414 ) on Tuesday May 12, 2015 @04:01PM (#49676437)
    For not having their own "capsule" system, they shelved in the 70's. Should have NEVER stopped upgrading Apollo.
  • The worst they can find.

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