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Moon Technology

Russian Moon Landing May Take As Many As Six Launches (examiner.com) 242

MarkWhittington writes: Russia has made no secret of its desire to land cosmonauts on the lunar surface sometime in the late 2020s. As the United States, at least for the current administration, has decided to bypass the moon in favor of Mars, Russia could move to wipe out the humiliation it suffered at the hands of NASA when it lost the 1960s race to the moon with the landing of Apollo 11 on July 20, 1969. However, a story in TASS suggests that a Russian moon landing effort would be complex, requiring up to six launches of its Angara rocket.
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Russian Moon Landing May Take As Many As Six Launches

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  • by transporter_ii ( 986545 ) on Monday November 30, 2015 @07:49PM (#51030769) Homepage

    Apparently space travel was much easier back then.

  • by ColdWetDog ( 752185 ) on Monday November 30, 2015 @07:51PM (#51030779) Homepage

    They're talking about 2029 as the earliest launch date with a flyby perhaps a year earlier. All of this, of course, depends on funding. Which doesn't seem like such a bright spot:

    n September, Russia’s Federal Space Agency Roscosmos announced that it will send a lander, Luna 25, to the Moon's south pole in 2024. After touchdown, the lander will investigate the lunar surface for future lunar bases. The Luna 25 mission was initially proposed in 1997 and has since suffered a number of delays, but it seems that with Europe's aid the mission could finally get the jump-start it needs. Construction of the spacecraft has already begun.

    So, they are trying to send an unmanned probe to the moon that was supposed to be launched 18 years ago in another nine years. And you thought NASA has budget problems.

    And they want to send a whole metric shit ton of equipment - six booster loads full. From a scientific point of view it sounds great. But it doesn't sound particularly realistic.

    • It's not really surprising considering that NASA's annual budget is more than triple what Roscosmos' budget is.

      • by Grishnakh ( 216268 ) on Monday November 30, 2015 @09:24PM (#51031281)

        Everything costs a lot more in the US though. One US dollar spent by the US government at some US contractor is not going to go nearly as far as the same amount (in Rubles of course) spent by the Russian government.

        Just look at how ridiculously inflated defense costs have gotten in the US. An aircraft carrier cost about 2.5B 20 years ago, now they cost 15B. Inflation isn't that high in this country.

        • by KGIII ( 973947 ) <uninvolved@outlook.com> on Monday November 30, 2015 @09:42PM (#51031337) Journal

          Inflation isn't that high but there are lots of costs associated with such projects. These are not the same carriers purchased twenty years ago - look at the available tech that they can now stuff into one.

          That does NOT negate your point about it being too pricey. It just means that the rate would almost certainly exceed inflation because they're not even similar products except they both float and launch planes - not even the planes are the same in many cases. Add in the amortized design changes and, yeah, it's gonna be more costly - tech that we have now simply was not available then. It is still, of course, too damned expensive because, honestly, we've got enough of 'em already and nobody else can even remotely compete with such a class.

          We've won... We can trickle along with moderate improvements at much lower cost, at a decreased level of alertness, and be fine. Our military has lots of problems but our Navy is, very much so, far above any other blue-water force on the planet. Bar none.

          That said, there's no real comparison between the two types of carriers. Even if we left the design largely the same, the amount of tech that was unavailable for prior inclusion would make it more expensive by default.

          Finally, I wonder if the Russians are accepting anonymous donations? I'd throw a few bucks there way. I like space and I like Russia. I've donated to NASA before (I'll skip the novella) and that made me feel pretty good. Donating to Russia would be even more meaningful as they're probably able to stretch the Rubles further even after their administration takes their cut.

          • by khallow ( 566160 )

            Inflation isn't that high but there are lots of costs associated with such projects.

            Of course, there are. The thing here is that they'd still cost $15 billion even in the absence of the "tech" because the cost driver is corruption and inefficiency not the tech.

        • Yes, and any Russian project is going to be beset by graft and corruption. Look how much the Sochi Olympics cost.
          • Yes, and any Russian project is going to be beset by graft and corruption. Look how much the Sochi Olympics cost.

            Yes, and the amazing thing is they still manage to fly. The NASA budget is over 10x that of the Russian space agency, which almost feels like an alt-space company like Space X.

  • Nothing wipes out humiliation of a country that no longer exists like going to the moon 60 years later with a rocket that - still on paper - is 1/6 as capable.

    • But Putin could ride it! Kennedy never did anything like that.

      OTOH, if we do elect Donald Trump as president, it might be an excellent idea to emulate.

      • by TWX ( 665546 )
        If it takes that long to do it, I think Putin will be riding it in the form of a powder packed into an especially lightweight urn...
      • You're not going to any Planet if Trump gets elected. Those funds will be diverted to some unnecessary Middle East Military action.

    • Nothing wipes out humiliation of a country that no longer exists like going to the moon 60 years later with a rocket that - still on paper - is 1/6 as capable.

      Try to be fair - it is a good exercise, if nothing else. The US moon landing was not really much more than an expensive dick waving expedition with little or no plans for the future, as events have shown. Hopefully what the Russians and Chinese intend to do will be more planned and more constructive. I mean, it makes my shudder to think that anybody travelled up there in a tin can with a computer system about as powerful as a Furby. Brave - very brave; just not all that smart.

      In my view, we should start sen

  • Sputnik? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Sir Holo ( 531007 ) on Monday November 30, 2015 @08:02PM (#51030841)

    FTSummary: Russia could move to wipe out the humiliation it suffered at the hands of NASA when it lost the 1960s race to the moon with the landing of Apollo 11 on July 20, 1969.

    Uhm, "lost" the space race?

    Sputnik? Remember?

    Oh, and Russia also landed a craft on, and beamed back images from, the surface of Venus. They were first. In fact, and I expect to be corrected, I don't recall the US ever landing a probe on Venus that did anything other than send back a few blips of telemetry readings before dissolving in the Venusian atmosphere.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      "when it lost the 1960's race to the moon"

      Reading comprehension isn't your strong suit, is it?

    • by TWX ( 665546 )
      Sputnik was a lot more the glove slapped across the face than the pistol shot on the dueling grounds. After the United States' success with the Lunar Landing the Soviet/Russian and American programs headed into obviously different directions, but the development of the Shuttle and the Soviets' failure with their equivalent, and the Soviets/Russians success with inexpensive LEO and stations while the United States failed with Skylab and then had enough development problems that they relied on the Russians f
      • Re:Sputnik? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Dunbal ( 464142 ) * on Monday November 30, 2015 @08:39PM (#51031035)
        Sputnik was never intended as a "slap in the face to anyone". Self centered people tend to think that others do things especially for their own benefit. Sputnik was a mere step forward in technology. It would have been difficult to create an orbital satellite that did NOT fly over the United States at some point or other. That America decided to take it as a personal insult from "those commie bastards" is another thing entirely.
        • by jedidiah ( 1196 )

          Sputnik in fact was an AFTERTHOUGHT.

          The Russians had a single unified ICBM effort and they decided to just "put a cherry on top" as it were. American leadership was much less in a panic about it than the general public. Eisenhower also liked the idea of setting the precedent of allowing sat overflights as the US was priming to put up spy satellites.

          • by KGIII ( 973947 )

            Eisenhower also, likely, knew that we weren't as far behind as the populous believed. One could say what we weren't even really "behind" so much as we were concentrating on different aspects. Not long after Operation Paperclip, we were able to put stuff *in* space but we were concentrating more on things like navigation, processing, accuracy, and reliability.

            Another interesting aside, and someone correct me if I'm wrong, Yuri didn't actually do much in the way of piloting his craft. It was controlled from t

      • Re:Sputnik? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Waffle Iron ( 339739 ) on Monday November 30, 2015 @09:02PM (#51031191)

        but the development of the Shuttle and the Soviets' failure with their equivalent

        Actually, the Soviets succeeded in realizing that an airplane-shaped payload strapped onto the side of a rocket makes no sense after only one flight. It took us over 100 flights before we realized the same thing. I think they won that round.

        • by TWX ( 665546 )
          The shuttle's misuse as a payload delivery platform was not a technical failure of the vehicle. You are right, it was a terrible cargo vehicle, but would have been an excellent vehicle on which to operate longer-duration special missions that required the equipment to be launched and returned in one configuration.

          It was our own damn political fault that we decided that the shuttle should contain the parts for a station, parts that individually had to be smaller than the shuttle's cargo bay. Had the ent
          • by dbIII ( 701233 )
            The need to get the thing into polar orbits of a certain height and the height envelope of what was possible to build and launch without building a new spaceport resulted in that bizzare compromise of the vehicle strapped onto the side of a rocket. It's a credit to NASA that they even managed to launch something shaped like that at all. If you don't see it as a big deal look up "bending moment" for a start, without even getting into centre of mass and aerodynamics.

            Had the entire payload of the launching r

          • by khallow ( 566160 )

            The shuttle's misuse as a payload delivery platform was not a technical failure of the vehicle. You are right, it was a terrible cargo vehicle, but would have been an excellent vehicle on which to operate longer-duration special missions that required the equipment to be launched and returned in one configuration.

            Utility > capability. Capability is just a technology demonstration in the absence of further usefulness.

    • Re:Sputnik? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by pr0t0 ( 216378 ) on Monday November 30, 2015 @08:20PM (#51030923)

      Agreed. I wasn't alive at the time, and I'm sure their was nationalistic pride that was lost to the Americans when we went to the moon; but the former Soviet Union had nothing to be ashamed about. Their aerospace chops were proven time and again. Sputnik, Gargarin, Tereshkova, Mir, Venera, etc., not to mention Sukhoi and Mig.

      That was 45 years ago. Today, the U.S. has to beg for rides to the ISS. WE'RE the ones who should be humiliated.

      • by Dunbal ( 464142 ) *
        I'm so often reminded of the "Tortoise and the Hare" tale when I think about the United States.
        • by Ogive17 ( 691899 )
          That seems like an unfair comparison without any explanation.
      • The US doesn't beg for rides, it pays for a ride. Just like I pay for an Uber ride instead of building my own car and using it. Makes sense for me, makes sense for NASA. Buying rides to the ISS allowed the US to stop financially supporting the space shuttle and divert that funding towards a next generation vehicle.
    • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
      re "Remember?"
      Soviet space program Notable firsts
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org] has the list of Venus related missions :)
    • Protip: Venus isn't on the Moon!

  • Humiliation? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by eumoria ( 2741315 ) on Monday November 30, 2015 @08:18PM (#51030919)
    "Russia could move to wipe out the humiliation it suffered" First to put something in orbit, first man in space, they landed robotic rovers on the moon around the same time we were there. I'm not trying to dismiss the amazing Apollo program but this is very biased nonsense. As an American the Russians should be proud of their space program. No humiliation.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by the gnat ( 153162 )

      The real humiliation wasn't the space race, it was losing their empire in 1989-1991. Most of the other European empires managed to get over the loss of their former colonies, but the Russians are still whining about it 25 years later, as if they had some sacred right to brutalize and exploit the Poles and Czechs (among many others). Ditto for China, which seems to be intent on claiming every territory that might have at one point been under Chinese rule as payback for its own supposed humiliation(s).

      (To b

  • by Robotbeat ( 461248 ) on Monday November 30, 2015 @08:21PM (#51030931) Journal

    6 launches isn't complex. We do twice that many flights to ISS every year. In total, we've done over 160 flights to ISS, with Russia doing over half of those.

    Anyway, I bet they can do it in 4 Angara launches. Russia is super experienced with in-space rendezvous, autonomous docking, and even more advanced things like propellant transfer (which they do regularly at ISS). 4 or even 6 launches would be no problem.

    They'll save a ridiculous amount of money by not building a megarocket like we insist on.

    But I agree with the skeptical posters here. Russia always talks about these sorts of things and never does them (not that we're much better). I think it's code-word for "if oil gets over $150/barrel and stays there, then we can do this."

    • by Dunbal ( 464142 ) *
      Hey don't knock $100+/bbl oil. It got a lot of countries a lot of alternative energy sources. Even now with cheaper oil, I don't see Germany shutting down its solar/wind projects. They will still be making electricity for a long time. The trick is convincing someone to make the initial investment.
      • Hopefully with cheaper oil, Germany is scaling back its coal production. Fear of Fukushima has done more environmental damage with the resurgence of coal than all the nuclear power accidents put together.

      • by dbIII ( 701233 ) on Tuesday December 01, 2015 @12:13AM (#51031761)
        Yes, last time it kicked off the shale oil/gas boom with some pretty stupid cowboy goldrush antics that are starting to have a bit of fallout now. Meanwhile solar/wind/etc are quietly progressing worldwide to compete with the much lower price.
        Rusted on Republicans take note - the Chinese are making an absolute fortune selling those solar panels developed in the USA but forced offshore to keep some donors happy. America could be making a killing from that American technology if a few loud Texan oil executives had not put their interest ahead of the country. Those six million manufacturing jobs lost recently could be doing that and spinoffs instead of that many or more doing it in China.
    • ...

      They'll save a ridiculous amount of money by not building a megarocket like we insist on.

      ...

      Nothing says "big phallus" like a Saturn V.

    • 6 launches isn't complex.

      For a single mission it certainly is. We did ONE big-ass launch for each Apollo mission. The problem with multiple launches is that your risk increases - each one carries with it some chance of failure, and if even one fails, the whole thing is scrapped. You've also got a ton of risky and complicated orbital rendezvous to pull off... Apollo only had to do it once for each mission.

      Overall, this reeks of impracticality. This is something that COULD work, but I bet nobody's seriously planning on using this arc

  • by AHuxley ( 892839 ) on Monday November 30, 2015 @08:32PM (#51030987) Homepage Journal
    A more complex payload can now reach the moon without the many compromise of the past efforts as seen on television.
    A later permanent lunar ability would then be less tricky allowing for the wonders of the ultimate high ground to be explored and science shared.
    Russian has the very complex metallurgy, science, support, academics, computer applications to ensure all such projects will work.
    Lets hope the needed projects get the full funding soon :)
    • Russian has the very complex metallurgy, science, support, academics, computer applications to ensure all such projects will work.

      But, I'm not very impressed with their ability to control pollution... and by extension: dust.

  • Patriotic assholes (Score:3, Informative)

    by LostMyBeaver ( 1226054 ) on Monday November 30, 2015 @09:26PM (#51031287)
    Patriotism is a disease that makes a moron believe (s)he's better than someone else because (s)he's better than someone else because they were squeezed from a vagina that either already was a citizen of a country or squeezed from it in said country.

    Unless you're ass was the one planted in the pod which landed on the moon, you're the asshole who thinks Armstrong said "On small step for the United States". A man landed and walked on the moon and you make this about national boundaries? This is about what we can accomplish as human beings if we set our minds to it. Using something that barely counts as a computer and communications systems which worked nearly by accident, we sent humans riding on an enormous bomb into space and managed to actually slow them down enough to land on the surface of the moon.

    This was a victory for all of the world... not just the U.S. and it sure as hell wasn't a loss for the Soviet Union. The were able to see that their fellow man stood on the surface of the moon and be proud of what we can all accomplish and to know that if we reach for the stars... one day we might just reach them.

    Screw your pathetic patriotic nonsense... every day I come here and read Slashdot and see people from all over the world (including Russia and China) talk about popular science together as a common species. I visit sites where people from around the world work to further medicine and we don't consider patents or national boundaries, we consider illnesses. We work together to design new algorithms for pattern detection within ultrasound images to detect anomalies.

    I visit other sites where we discuss the mysteries of the Universe and generally find that we like those mysteries. Sometimes we wonder would we like it so much if they weren't mysteries. We speak as humans with no regards for national boundaries and who was squeezed from a vagina in a given place.

    Patriotism is for fools. Nationalism is for fools. There is only one reason for national boundaries and that's to have some order to managerial tasks like deciding who should pay for which roads to be built.

    I was born an American... when I learned that patriotism is a hoax, I decided to be something far greater... a human instead. My life has been far more fulfilling since.

    That said... as someone born in New York, I do take an irrational pride in New York pizza and bagels... it's not a competition, it's an observation... we do it better.
    • That's nice and all, but pride is a strong motivator and there's not much pride in being better than animals or plants. There's pride in being better than other people. That often comes in the form of your GROUP being better than another GROUP. Whether you're cheering for your football team or your country, pride at being a member of the best GROUP is a very strong motivator of both people and groups. We would not have gone to the moon in 1969 if it weren't a way to harness, leverage, and create national pr

    • New York pizza tasted like Domino's pizza to me, edible but far from delicous other than NY's stone baked crust. Chicago pizza kicks New York pizza's ass.
    • Patriotism is a disease that makes a moron believe (s)he's better than someone else because (s)he's better than someone else because they were squeezed from a vagina that either already was a citizen of a country or squeezed from it in said country. Unless you're ass was the one planted in the pod which landed on the moon, you're the asshole who thinks Armstrong said "On small step for the United States". A man landed and walked on the moon and you make this about national boundaries? This is about what we can accomplish as human beings if we set our minds to it. Using something that barely counts as a computer and communications systems which worked nearly by accident, we sent humans riding on an enormous bomb into space and managed to actually slow them down enough to land on the surface of the moon.

      As much as I agree that the moon landings were something for the whole world to be proud of, _especially_ the Soviet Union which initiated the space race, I think that you underestimate the effort required to put two men on the lunar surface, EVA, and return them alive with lunar samples. It was _not_ something that the Ice Commander and Buzz did while the whole world watched. It was an _American_ effort, with almost half a million people working on the project directly. And those who were not working on th

  • by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Monday November 30, 2015 @09:35PM (#51031315) Journal

    They have six rockets, but only one of them is loaded.

  • In the 1960's, the USA was faced with a decision; go to the moon fast using a lunar-orbit rendezvous technique, or take our time and do it right, with an Earth-orbit rendezvous. The Earth-orbit rendezvous would have built a space station, assembled the actual Moon rocket in space, and returned to Earth orbit to actually land in a landing capsule.

    Von Braun wanted to get there FAST, without bothering to assemble any space infrastructure along the way, and we won the "space race". But in doing it that way,

    • by tsotha ( 720379 )

      Von Braun wanted to get there FAST, without bothering to assemble any space infrastructure along the way, and we won the "space race". But in doing it that way, we didn't learn anything about space construction, or build anything that would last, and we haven't been back to the moon in nearly 50 years.

      If our on-again, off-again Mars quest is any indication, that's the only way to actually get there. One of the reason Bob Zubrin keeps pushing for a ten-year program is we can't seem to be able to hold the po

    • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
      Yes it was bespoke, agricultural solution that worked just in time.
      "How Nasa brought the monstrous F-1 'moon rocket' engine back to life" (16 APRIL 13 )
      http://www.wired.co.uk/news/ar... [wired.co.uk]
      ".. these were hand-made machines. They were sewn together with arc welders .. " The other political issue at the time was the attempts to block another Dora Trial https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org] that could have finally exposed the number and crimes of the Operation Paperclip https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org] German
    • by dbIII ( 701233 )
      Yes but didn't JFK state an end date and Von Braun react to fit the timetable?
      However it does make sense - Skylab should have been first and not last to be disgustingly abandoned to deorbit due to budget cuts.
      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        When JFK set his target to land on the moon he was probably thinking of cooperating with the USSR on the project. He had a good relationship with the Russian's top politicians which really helped during the missile crisis. If he had not been assassinated Apollo 11 could well have been a joint US/USSR mission, and cost a great deal less and had a longer lasting legacy.

  • by tkrotchko ( 124118 ) on Monday November 30, 2015 @09:56PM (#51031391) Homepage

    "As the United States, at least for the current administration, has decided to bypass the moon in favor of Mars"

    It's a way of kicking the can so far down the road that you can't even find the can.

  • Now, I'm curious. Could a Falcon Heavy send a Dragon into a lunar flyby orbit?

    Could a Falcon Heavy send a Dragon plus a service module, such that the Dragon could land and take off from the moon with its escape thrusters? What about the Space Launch System, if it ever gets built?

    • by dbIII ( 701233 )
      Need a heavier heavy - maybe a later model designed for it could do it, but the heavy is a tool designed for a different job.
  • People still believe the USA landed month Moon? That's sad.
  • by kheldan ( 1460303 ) on Tuesday December 01, 2015 @01:32AM (#51031947) Journal
    I'm betting that if and when Russia does have boots on the ground on the Moon, Putin tries to claim some (or all) of the real estate there, international treaty or not. Same bet applies to China, assuming they ever made it there (less likely, though).
  • Russia could move to wipe out the humiliation it suffered at the hands of NASA when it lost the 1960s race to the moon

    Second comes right after first!

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