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Government Moon The Almighty Buck

Russia Cancels All Moon Missions Till 2025 (sputniknews.com) 135

schwit1 writes: Faced with a shrinking budget and poor economic conditions, Russia has once again trimmed back its proposed ten-year space plan for the next decade in space, canceling all Moon missions until after 2025. Russian might now have a giant government-run aerospace corporation, but flying space missions is not really its primary task. Like all government agencies divorced from profit and loss, its primary task is really to provide pork barrel jobs, regardless of whether those jobs do anything useful or not. Thus, Russia will have a very expensive space program for the next decade, but the money spent will not accomplish much of anything new.
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Russia Cancels All Moon Missions Till 2025

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  • by Frosty Piss ( 770223 ) * on Tuesday December 29, 2015 @05:26PM (#51204805)

    Nice unbiased "story". It's always fun to read the editorials at Slashdot.

    • by Adriax ( 746043 ) on Tuesday December 29, 2015 @05:40PM (#51204885)

      This isn't biased. This is so far tilted towards capitalist supremacy it's almost horizontal.
      It's like a piece of anti-commie propaganda from 1969 got republished with some dates mixed up.

      I'm actually afraid not cheering the article on will result in my username being put on a House Unamerican Activities Committee list.

      • by 93 Escort Wagon ( 326346 ) on Tuesday December 29, 2015 @06:59PM (#51205355)

        I'm actually afraid not cheering the article on will result in my username being put on a House Unamerican Activities Committee list.

        I'm not worried - I've got photos of J. Edgar Hoover in a dress held in several safe locations around the world. If anything happens to me, those images go straight to Woodward and Bernstein!

      • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

        I would read that story between the lines. Hmm, spending more on the space program and not many launches. I would consider that a development cycle. Developing new orbit achieving technology costs a lot of money and for commercial and other reasons is kept very secret until the launch or major construction cycle begins but until then all the engineering et al is done in strict secret apart from of course the size of the budget and funnily enough where large portions of that money is not being spent.

        So yo

        • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

          I think they are preparing to take their bits of the ISS independent once NASA losses interest, selling access to the ESA and maybe partnering with China. Once NASA is out of the way they will be free to work more closely with China, which has plenty of money to spend and aligns with their goal of getting to the moon. They see the future as being based around access to three moon and beyond, with orbital space stations being commercial hubs for doing research, tourism and repair missions.

    • by 93 Escort Wagon ( 326346 ) on Tuesday December 29, 2015 @06:55PM (#51205317)

      What's interesting is they don't even mention that Russia's rockets are still what we're relying on to get people and supplies to the ISS right now. Yeah, it's not sexy in the least - but they're doing something we currently can't (which is ludicrous)!

      Hopefully SpaceX will be changing that in a few years; but that old saw about "people who live in glass houses" comes to mind...

    • The article comes across as factual reporting on a subject of general interest, whereas your post is biased.

    • It appear that all samzenpus delivers is mindless, right-wing extremism and paid adverts thinly disguised as 'tech articles'. I'm definitely driting in the direction of not bothering reading /. anymore.

      ...pork barrel jobs, regardless of whether those jobs do anything useful or not.

      And what is this? A cheap shot at fundamental research from somebody who hasn't got a clue? Most of the progress in science, technology and medicine since the dawn of time is based on research that would have been seen as wortless waste of time by most of contemporary society - science used to be regarded as

  • Or least they would have if they put any people on their N1s.

  • Why not split the effort with China? One make the launch vehicle(s) and the other the crew capsule and lander?

    • China and India can collaborate on the rocket's first stage, Russia can make the second stage, the USA can make the capsule, the EU can make the lander, and Canada can put a robot arm on top. Considering the reliability of good close working relations, the way different parts always work well together in rocket science, and the impossibility of changing budget priorities in any of the countries, it can't fail.

    • Or why not do what the US is doing, and merely hiring commercial companies to provide a service based on a technology implemented roughly 60 years ago?

  • by NotDrWho ( 3543773 ) on Tuesday December 29, 2015 @05:29PM (#51204821)

    Thus, Russia will have a very expensive space program for the next decade, but the money spent will not accomplish much of anything new.

    So, just like the U.S. then?

    • by DigiShaman ( 671371 ) on Tuesday December 29, 2015 @05:33PM (#51204839) Homepage

      Glut in the oil market = no extra money to spend. Tis why Russia is pissed at Saudi Arabia.

      • by Tablizer ( 95088 )

        Tis why Russia is pissed at Saudi Arabia.

        You gotta hand it to the Saudi's, they know how to play it for the longer run. High oil prices cause R&D into alternative energy and marginal oil fields. It takes a while to ramp those up.

        Whenever the alternatives and marginal fields are close to kicking in, pull the plug on prices and frustrate investors. Wait a few years and the alternatives fade, giving you a near monopoly. Burnt investors then won't play again in the future, knowing the rug will again be pull

        • Burnt investors then won't play again in the future

          Hardly. Real investors only look at the numbers and probabilities. If the Sauds are counting on being able to raise their oil prices again, in the near future, they've embarked upon a truly stupid strategy. The Wright brothers weren't the first people to attempt powered flight. Alternative power is here to stay, the real question is "when" they will return a profit that justifies the investment cost.

      • It's not a cost problem, they found the

  • by Hardhead_7 ( 987030 ) on Tuesday December 29, 2015 @05:30PM (#51204825)
    Not that the Russian government isn't incredibly corrupt and wasteful, but this is actually probably what you'd want to do. If your economy is tanking, you'd want to continue to put *some* money into aerospace for as long as you could to retain talent and prevent you from having to rebuild it from the ground up later. Maybe not enough to do big ambitious projects, but you'd want aerospace on "idle" for when (hopefully) the economy improves.

    I mean, NASA stopped building big rockets that went to the moon and "just" went into low earth orbit for a few decades, and they're *still* basically back at square one when it comes to building Saturn V-sized engines. Imagine if aerospace had been completely shut down.
    • NASA didn't build the F1, the Rocketdyne corporation did.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      It isn't really that Russia's economy is tanking, though it does have problems it is reasonably healthy. Russia has a massive income hole due to the dropping oil prices, something like half the Russian government income comes from Oil, low oil prices mean the government no longer can afford a lot of shit that it normally has no problems with. So even if the Russian economy was massively growing at a rate higher than China's it would still be in a huge hole due to oil prices.
  • Or maybe (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tomhath ( 637240 ) on Tuesday December 29, 2015 @05:33PM (#51204835)
    Russia has decided that a manned space missions aren't worth the cost and risk.
  • Not much point, really, of going to the moon unless we're going to establish a lunar colony. And odds are asteroid mining is a better investment anyways.

    Though it would be nice to be able to go to the moon, if we so choose. And there's probably value in inspiration, too.

    • The moon would be a good place to do the refining from the asteroid mining. Some gravity, but not so much it makes it hard to launch, and little atmosphere to worry about contaminating the metals. Doing smelting in freefall would be difficult, as the separation of impurities only works well under gravity.

      • It would still require fuel to move materials off the Moon. I still think either orbital smelting, or even better, portable smelting that you can move from asteroid to asteroid, is far better than putting smelting and refining facilities on a gravity well that still requires an escape velocity of 2.38km/s.

        • It would still require fuel to move materials off the Moon.

          Two words: Rail Gun.

          The reason I'd bring it up is that, at least in theory, smelting will work the same way as it does on Earth except it's being done on the Moon. Nothing new to learn. Rail Guns for launchers have already been done--there's nothing really new to invent, just design.

          In the case of asteroids, there's some research that needs to be done on how do you smelt in zero G. Can a way be figured out? Sure, but that will take time and effort as well. And once you figure out how to do it, how are

      • You may be interested in this report I'm working on:

        https://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/... [wikibooks.org]

        Rather than one or two places, it envisions settling the whole Solar System using networks of self-replicating factories.

      • Doing smelting in freefall would be difficult, as the separation of impurities only works well under gravity.

        In space, you can have as much "gravity" as you want.

      • Freefall lets you make impossible alloys.

  • That summary (Score:4, Insightful)

    by poity ( 465672 ) on Tuesday December 29, 2015 @05:37PM (#51204875)

    You can see from my commenting history that I have no love for Russia, but that summary... what are you trying to pull?

  • On the other hand, the point of this "pork barrel" may be to maintain an aerospace skills base and industrial capability. This is what defence R&D budgets are for and it's why so many pointless systems are paid for and then discarded by the military. A military industrial base in a vital interest.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 29, 2015 @05:45PM (#51204907)

    Do we really need the juvenile editorializing like you did in the line below?

    "Like all government agencies divorced from profit and loss, its primary task is really to provide pork barrel jobs, regardless of whether those jobs do anything useful or not."

    Really? REALLY? Grow up and get some street smarts. The real world is far different than what you state above.

    Stick to the news until you have a clue how the real world works. Is there waste and port barrel jobs in government? Absolutely. But that's the primary task of all government agencies? Jeesh. /. out to require a basic understanding of high school civics to avoid your kind of childish, pollyanna thinking.

    And meanwhile, the OP ought to spend some time around the countless government agencies and people who work very hard and succeed in making all of our lives better. It would be a real eye-opener.

    Signed,

    First time poster after hundreds of hours over years of lurking.

  • More sanctions (Score:4, Insightful)

    by smooth wombat ( 796938 ) on Tuesday December 29, 2015 @05:49PM (#51204939) Journal
    Faced with a shrinking budget and poor economic conditions, . . .

    This can't be right. Every Russian troll everywhere will tell you there is nothing wrong in Russia. The sanctions on Russia for its invasion of Ukraine and theft of Crimea are having no effect. Everything is fine.

    Yet these same trolls can't explain why their banks keep failing, why their biggest quasi-bank, VEB, needs $13 billion to keep itself afloat, why every other week another article comes out, such as this one, saying more and more programs are getting cut or eliminated, why pensioners are having their money allowance reduced, or why, based on current projections, Russia will run out of money before the end of 2016.

    Corrupt fascist oligarchs such as Putin will tend to have this effect on a country, especially when the mothers of the Russian soldiers killed invading Ukraine are not allowed to talk about their son's deaths [theguardian.com] because deaths of soldiers during "peace time" are state secrets [bbc.com].

    The longer Russia keeps invading and attacking its neighbors, the more it keeps trying to bully its neighbors, the longer sanctions will stay. The trolls can whine all they want about the sanctions not having any effect, but the louder they squeal the more one knows they're hurting.

    There's a reason former Soviet bloc countries have embraced the freedoms of the West rather than the repression of Soviet Russia. They know all too well the indignities and injustice served upon them by Russia. Witness the deportations of Tartars from Crimea, the daily raids on Tartar homes to see if there is any "subversive" material, the refusal by the Russians to allow Tartars to speak their own language or have their own schools.

    Russia will suffer until it either dies or changes. Unfortunately the Russian people are too stupid to make change happen.
    • by xfizik ( 3491039 )
      The poor economic conditions are overwhelmingly due to low oil prices. The effect of sanctions is minuscule compared to the oil factor.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Full of hate toward Russia and little knowledge about outside what MSM told you about!

      And, NO, the Russia's propaganda report all the events of bad economy to their people:
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2H5X3WYm_3U

      Just watching how Avakov and Yatseniuk was in fight with Saakashvili early this month. And Saakashvili's report on Yatseniuk corruption, etc.
      Don't you know about the 'lustration' law which bans ALL officials worked for old government without judgment.
      Corrupt fascist oligarch Putin have not billio

    • It's Tatars, not Tartars.

  • Like all government agencies divorced from profit and loss, its primary task is really to provide pork barrel jobs, regardless of whether those jobs do anything useful or not.

    Isn't it a bit early to audition for a job with the Trump administration?

  • Believe it or not, there are LOTS of Russians interested in doing some real science. So I don’t know maybe some people working there will do other useful research with the budget they have? Just a wild thought.

    That being said, they don’t have the same freedoms there as we have in other major European nations, North America, etc. There may a culture of keeping your head down so you don’t get into trouble. It’s not as bad as during the Soviet era, but it’s not awesome either.

  • by Joe_Dragon ( 2206452 ) on Tuesday December 29, 2015 @06:02PM (#51205011)

    in soviet russia we moon you!

  • by iamacat ( 583406 ) on Tuesday December 29, 2015 @06:26PM (#51205151)

    I hate Putin, but the links in this story do not support its conclusion. What is the total budget for Russian space program? What other missions are planned? Has anyone quantified waste versus useful work?

    It could be that moon is just not the most scientifically or commercially important target right now and they are focusing on more interesting missions. Obama reached the same conclusion a few years back while INCREASING total NASA budget to focus on Mars exploration.

  • by melted ( 227442 ) on Tuesday December 29, 2015 @06:51PM (#51205295) Homepage

    I'm also cancelling all my purchases of Italian supercars until 2025 due to budget constraints.

    There's no story here folks. Russia is still flying designs from the late 60s. Even at the height of the Soviet power they did not manage to build a rocket with enough lift capability to take humans to the moon. They sure as heck can't do this now. Their space exploration has been confined to LEO for more than a decade. Old guard has retired and/or died off, the best and brightest are leaving the country in droves. It can't be done there. Shit, it can barely be done over here.

  • " Like all government agencies divorced from profit and loss, its primary task is really to provide pork barrel jobs". Like CERN?
  • 1. New doesn't mean useful
    2. Going to the Moon is not exactly new...
  • Their wars against Ukraine and in Syria (against who knows whom) cost money, which it does not have. Hoping, the oil will remain at above $100 per barrel, Putin spent years entrenching his own position instead of reforming the country. With the oil below $40, their currency reserves are melting and no relief is forthcoming. As Kennedy put it decades ago about USSR — they are trying to maintain a First World military with a Third World economy...

    That such a large country remains so dependent on oil-ex

    • Russia as a country has pretty much self-sufficient economy. All this sanctions and currency exchange rate bullshit works like protectionism measure to support local businesses by protecting them from competition with foreign importers, perhaps it was even coordinated between Russia's and US/Europe governments behind closed doors.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by mi ( 197448 )

        Russia as a country has pretty much self-sufficient economy.

        Yeah, and so does North Korea. Russia does not grow enough food of its own [quora.com], it can not make its own cars [economist.com] — nor computers. Their sanctions do not support "local businesses" — maybe, they are helping Chinese firms. Russians are increasingly suffering [forbes.com] and it will get worse.

        But I was not talking about sanctions specifically. Even without the sanctions they would've been overstretched fighting several wars. Too overstretched for traveling t

        • You think firing some surplus soviet missiles is stretching economy in any way? Not nearly as much as world war II and that proved pretty survivable.. But Russia's international policy indeed got more aggressive after Serbia gets picked on just because it's too Orthodox for someone tastes and was USSR's ally in the past, and Syria gets picked on because it is ruled by a more or less secular(by local standards) socialist party, and NATO keeps maintaining occupation zone in Ukraine while Ukraine and Russia sh
          • by mi ( 197448 )

            You think firing some surplus soviet missiles is stretching economy in any way?

            Your attempts to trivialize it are pathetic. It is not just "surplus missiles". Wars are expensive — a single launch of Grad or Uragan costs hundreds of thousands, for example — and your country can not afford them. Not with oil below $40. Heck, you are willing to barter tanks for some bananas [lenta.ru] already!

            Not nearly as much as world war II and that proved pretty survivable...

            Yeah, sure. Only the loser — Germany

            • I actually want Russian military to occupy Ukraine. It was molested by a bunch of president-thieves and Russian integration would be way better. But Putin's government is direct successor to Eltsin's government. They're just a bunch of Western fanboys. They're not in accord with "west" only due to blatant failure of US and european diplomacy to establish more or less amicable contact with them. This government won't actually occupy Ukraine, they're just another bunch of US puppets that got betrayed by said
              • by mi ( 197448 )

                I actually want Russian military to occupy Ukraine.

                Sosi huj, moskal'skaja svoloch'. Ruki korotki.

                • Don't worry, it'll happen. Novgorod and Kiev were founding cities of Russian nation and they'll return to one nation state once again. Liberal-Xenopatriot government government under your friend Putin won't be able to delay it anymore.
                  • by mi ( 197448 )

                    Kiev were founding cities of Russian nation and they'll return to one nation state once again.

                    Well, you better learn Ukrainian then, mraz'.

                    • I don't mind it as long as all Russian oblast' are covered by new Ukraine. I merely want unity and Ukrainian equally fits as descendant of language of Rus'. If you're able to unify us I'm with you.
                    • by mi ( 197448 )

                      I merely want unity

                      Too much blood and tears have been shed over the past two years for this to happen any time soon. Russia will wallow in its own misery, while China eats it up from behind [night-freddys.ru].

                      If you're able to unify us I'm with you.

                      I doubt, it is in Ukraine's interests. Good fences make better neighbors.

                      But we are so far away from the topic now, that I'm ending my participation.

                    • What a bullshit demagoguery. Boring template phrases from propaganda pamphlets like 'too much tears'. I'm so disappointed..
  • What the hell is that write-up: Musings of a neoliberal part 451?
  • 1) It is poor writing to say things like "...government agencies divorced from profit and loss, its primary task is really to provide pork barrel jobs, regardless of whether those jobs do anything useful or not..." in a slashdot post without giving the slightest data-based foundation for such an (obviously biased) statement

    2) If the news is true, then it may provide some confirmation for the theory that EU sanctions are actually working, which would be good news. Please note my careful phrasing of this hypo

  • The 20 billion dollar budget passed, and then they killed the Orion project. So, they'll never know how to get through those pesky Van Allen Belts! And they just found their virtual reality budget. Because, fooling people's eyes is more important than exploring.

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