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Russia Announces End to Space Tourism in 2010

timothy posted about 6 years ago | from the will-rely-solely-on-domain-name-sales dept.

Space 96

epsas writes "On Cosmonaut's Day (April 12th 2008) the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roskosmos) announced that they will cease it's $40,000,000-a-flight space tourism enterprise. Vitaly Perminov, the head of Roskosmos, elaborated on this statement by citing national criticism of the space tourism project; all the while reiterating Roskosmos's focus on the International Space Station and the new launch site at Vostochny Cosmodrome: 'Vitaly Lopota, the president of the Energia space rocket corporation, said he believes space tourism is a forced measure compensating for insufficient financing of the Russian space program.' This statement (made the day before) by Vitaly Lopota follows another announcement that 'Energia is ready to send missions to the Moon and Mars if told to do so by the government.'"

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96 comments

eat my shorts slashdot !! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23137348)

Eat my shorts slashdot !!

Re:eat my shorts slashdot !! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23138712)

Shorts eaten.

so?? (5, Insightful)

caffeinemessiah (918089) | about 6 years ago | (#23137364)

italy Lopota, the president of the Energia space rocket corporation, said he believes space tourism is a forced measure compensating for insufficient financing of the Russian space program

And this is bad...why?? If space programs are languishing in funding for either development or research, why not charge rich suckers (with dreams just like us) huge amounts of money to fund it? If you have the infrastructure, it sounds lucrative. And I'd be willing to bet that the market would support even more ridiculous prices than $40 mil.

Public private partnership that works (5, Interesting)

symbolset (646467) | about 6 years ago | (#23137410)

I don't care if they call it the Pepsi Cosmodrome and sell seats that defray the costs. I actually hope they get YouTube to sponsor streaming video of the entire operation, with product placement, endorsements, memorabilia, space scouts and the rest of "The Man Who Sold The Moon [wikipedia.org]" experience. What I care about is that they go, and keep going.

The Russians pioneered manned spaceflight [bayqongyr.com] and it's not for us to tell them how to do it. If they like capitalism, so much the better.

Re:Public private partnership that works (4, Insightful)

Cassius Corodes (1084513) | about 6 years ago | (#23137752)

I suspect its a pride issue rather than anything else. To them having paid seats looks like they have to go around begging to get enough money to take off.

Re:Public private partnership that works (3, Funny)

megaditto (982598) | about 6 years ago | (#23138048)

Beggers can't be chosers.

IMPORTANT MESSAGE FOR TIMOTHY AND EPSAS!!!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23211552)

From the summary: they will cease it's $40,000,000-a-flight

"its".

Re:Public private partnership that works (3, Insightful)

TheLink (130905) | about 6 years ago | (#23138620)

Pride? Begging?

"space tourism" was the most important experiment the ISS was ever involved in.

To have your space program sustainable due to willing customers rather than solely dependent on government enforced taxes is what I call making progress[1]. One of the milestones in aerospace and the Russians were pioneers.

It is a step backwards if they discontinue space tourism (and do not move it to some other agency/organization).

[1] When people stop clapping hands and cheering every time after space vehicles somehow manage to lift off without blowing up, that's even more progress ;).

Re:Public private partnership that works (1)

Cassius Corodes (1084513) | about 6 years ago | (#23139006)

I don't disagree with you champ, but I'm fairly familiar with the Russian mindset, and I have no trouble believing that that is the reason they are stopping it.

Re:Public private partnership that works (1)

TheLink (130905) | about 6 years ago | (#23142516)

I agree with you too.

Still, from one of the links 'In his congratulatory letter to those working in the space industry, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Russia was the first nation "to open the way to the stars to humanity."'

I'm sure space tourism will count almost as much as "first person in space" in the history books.

Now what someone should organize is a "vote off the planet" "reality show". Then we could vote people off the planet (return trip or one-way ;) ). Now that would be what I call progress :).

Even if "winners" politely decline their one-way trip to space, I think many voters would still feel the cost of casting their votes more than worth it, especially if the "decline interview" is televised on the show.

Re:Public private partnership that works (1)

Dr. Cody (554864) | about 6 years ago | (#23138874)

Speaking of pride in the face of destitution, are any of you guys getting a lot of ads for "Anastasia International" lately?

It's marketing genius, really.

Re:Public private partnership that works (1)

rbanffy (584143) | about 6 years ago | (#23138906)

"Control is an illusion, order our comforting lie. From chaos, through chaos, into chaos we fly"

Likes the tagline. Where is it from?

Re:so?? (5, Interesting)

Jafafa Hots (580169) | about 6 years ago | (#23137444)

This is more about Russian national pride. They felt humiliated at the state of desperation they had sunk to, so now that their economy is doing better, they're looking to restore some of the prestige and remove the "Filene's Basement" aura now attached to their space program.

Russians are very proud, and theres a huge resurgence of nationalism currently. That's whats behind this.

Re:so?? (3, Insightful)

freedumb2000 (966222) | about 6 years ago | (#23137492)

Instead of canceling it, they could create a huge media event around it. They are after all the ones to even offer comercialized space tourism, if that is not something to be proud of. In the beginning they might have done it out of desperation, but if they wanted they could bring it to the next level now. Too bad really, to have misplaced national pride get in the way, but I guess Putin stands for backwards thinking with long passed national values (which he imprints on on his citizens). Too bad really.

and?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23137514)

I really don't care who sees them as prideful creatures and who doesn't. That's just tabloid talk. The main issue is that the Russian govt is now going to make up for the funding shortfall that forced them to get by on tourism. But hey, the silver lining in the meantime was that ordinary civilians got access to space, even if they were rich types. There is a market demand for going into space, and the Russians tapped it. Now that they want to resume big science, that's great - I'm not going to knock them for it.

Re:so?? (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | about 6 years ago | (#23137564)

All they're going to do is put more money in Virgin Galactic's pockets instead of their own.

Even so, I wonder if this is about "national pride" at all. The Russian space tourism came in at, what, $20,000,000? Virgin Galactic's tickets will be someting like $200,000 - 1/100th of the price. Sure, you will only be skipping along the atmosphere, but I'm sure there are a lot of rich people who wouldn't mind making that tiny $17,800,000 compromise.

Re:so?? (1)

QuantumG (50515) | about 6 years ago | (#23137628)

Yeah, it's aimed at a different market segment. Maybe if SpaceX ever gets a man-rated Dragon into the air then a $20 million product will be available again.

Re:so?? (2, Interesting)

Cassius Corodes (1084513) | about 6 years ago | (#23138052)

Like you have pointed out - these commercial space tourism joints only get a small taste of space. If you tag along with the Russians you get to experience a complete resupply mission. In my opinion you cannot compare the two.

Re:so?? (1)

Sheltem The Guardian (940038) | about 6 years ago | (#23140144)

For 20M you spent a few days on IIS, you could conduct research or other activity. For 200,000 you'll just see some stars and a big round earth, and that's all.

Re:so?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23137742)

While I dont doubt that national pride is part of this decision; they arent going to be losing any revenue.

NASA is currently working on inking a deal with Russia to send some Soyuz' to ISS with American only crews post shuttle retirement. Part of this deal would involve stepping up the amount of Soyuz crew training conducted in the US as well. All of this of course will be for a 'small' fee I am sure...

Full disclosure: I am a NASA contractor employee.

So, .... (1)

WindBourne (631190) | about 6 years ago | (#23137884)

They are inking a deal with russia in spite of their just telling congress several days ago that they were not going to? Do not get me wrong. I would like to see us continue some level. But it would be even better if congress would spend a bit more NOW and fund spacex and perhaps another to create a human rated space craft. Of course, the issue with that, is that it will show congress that it could be done quickly.

Fortunately spacex and bigelow (1)

WindBourne (631190) | about 6 years ago | (#23137848)

Tourism really needs to continue. I have seen kids that have noticed it and think that it is interesting. They are learning that you do something other than shoot for being an astronaut and still make it into space

Re:so?? (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about 6 years ago | (#23138042)

Russians are very proud, and theres a huge resurgence of nationalism currently.

Fueled largely by international hatred of W and his policies, and a bit by oil revenues. (I'm just the messenger. Even if you agree with W, you have to admit he's very unpopular around the world.)
     

Re:so?? (1)

khallow (566160) | about 6 years ago | (#23138980)

Your message is in error. Bush is very unpopular. But blaming him for nationalism in another country, that I might add would be there no matter who was president of the US, shows lack of understanding.

Re:so?? (4, Insightful)

baboo_jackal (1021741) | about 6 years ago | (#23138746)

This is more about Russian national pride. They felt humiliated at the state of desperation they had sunk to, so now that their economy is doing better, they're looking to restore some of the prestige and remove the "Filene's Basement" aura now attached to their space program.

If you were to replace all the "they/their" with "Putin/Putin's," you'd be spot-on correct.

Anthropomorphizing nations and their macroscopic behavior as if "all citizens" were behind it, and that a given nation "feels/thinks/believes" one particular thing in unanimity (or even on the balance) is a common basis of flawed statements and arguments about "national policy."

Re:so?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23139610)

it is not about pride but about money
now when government is back to full support of russian space program they dont need space tourists' money any more and can concentrate on science work.
It was Yeltsin who was starving russian space exploration and thanks to Putin they are finally back to science

Re:so?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23144928)

This is not about russian pride. The simple truth is that the US space shuttle will also retire in 2010 and there will be a 5 year gap before the Crew Exploration vehicle is ready. so the only way for US astronauts to get to the international space station will to be to buy seats with the russians. So there simply would not be any seats left for space tourists because the US will be buying them all

Re:so?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23137520)

What this means is that Russia is now wealthy enough to state-finanace its space missions.

Tourists (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23137386)

From TFA:
"Tourism is a forced activity. I am sorry, but we have built the
ISS [the International Space Station] not for space tourists but for
serving the needs of the people of Earth," Lopota said.


Ah finally! It's nice to have confirmation from officials that tourists are, in fact, not people. Now if only i could get that hunting permit ...

Re:Tourists (3, Funny)

jamstar7 (694492) | about 6 years ago | (#23137560)

It's Tourist Season already? I thought I had a couple more weekends to get in practice at the range...

The Moon and Mars, you say? (1)

kris.montpetit (1265946) | about 6 years ago | (#23137394)

I think this is a good refocussing of their efforts-maybe in twenty years for 40 mill we can go chill on mars :D

Re:The Moon and Mars, you say? (1)

lessthanjakejohn (766177) | about 6 years ago | (#23137416)

Yeah, but with inflation at 4% that would be $87,644,925.72

Re:The Moon and Mars, you say? (1)

Rahga (13479) | about 6 years ago | (#23137634)

Doubling the price through inflation isn't a problem as long as they outsource to America for half the price. Wonders of the weak dollar.

Re:The Moon and Mars, you say? (1)

call-me-kenneth (1249496) | about 6 years ago | (#23137662)

Not a cat in hell's chance; an attempt at a manned Mars mission won't happen this side of 2050. And I still haven't had any takers on that bet. *shrug*

Re:The Moon and Mars, you say? (1)

kris.montpetit (1265946) | about 6 years ago | (#23138142)

One can always hope. Unfortunately all that will catalyze the trip would be another arms race..

that has already started (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23140660)

China is in it in a BIG way. [k2climb.net] The west is not. Yet. But of course, we have started. Do you really think that the anti-missile system is being set-up against Iran or even Russia? We have locations on American/Canadian DEW line, South Korea, and Japan (all south of russia, so would be useless). America is working closly with India and trying to keep Pakistan as a close friend. We are trying to get Russia to partner, and we are building to the west of Russia. DOD is pushing us to the moon as well.

There are more defenses that are going in, but it is thought not to be enough.

Re:The Moon and Mars, you say? (1)

WindBourne (631190) | about 6 years ago | (#23138338)

How much and how will this be handled. And exactly what is the bet? I think that before 2035, man will step on Mars.

Re:The Moon and Mars, you say? (1)

call-me-kenneth (1249496) | about 6 years ago | (#23140052)

Well, if you're serious, we'll have to get in touch offline... I'm thinking a $100 stake (which won't buy you a beer in 2035, so it's just a bit of fun really.) I'm happy to do it on a virtual handshake I guess.

Re:The Moon and Mars, you say? (1)

WindBourne (631190) | about 6 years ago | (#23140528)

I am serious. I believe that we will shoot for the moon around 2015-2017 (commercial and china). The more so because of our issue with another country that is escalating (is moving from defense strategy to attack strategy ), combined with the one material that we can not easily shoot into space; radioactive material. Uranium/plutonium is now thought to be on the moon surface which would make this our ability to provide cheap power on the moon surface, in the ground, and most importantly, rocket fuel. We will go by 2035 to mars ( I think around 2025-30 ). So, yes, I will bet on 2050. Do you have a trash account?

Re:The Moon and Mars, you say? (1)

call-me-kenneth (1249496) | about 6 years ago | (#23141944)

sure, you can mail me at i - m - i - p - a - k , without the hyphens and spaces obviously, at google's mail service.

Unfortunate (4, Insightful)

Chairboy (88841) | about 6 years ago | (#23137442)

The space tourist was paying most of the cost of the Soyuz booster/capsule while allowing the RSA to continue meeting its commitments to the project. This is a step backwards for space, government funding doesn't have the same potential for long term growth that commercial money does. Look at the airplane, for instance. Government funding did big things, but the real growth and expansion came with private funds.

Re:Unfortunate (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23137782)

The real growth came from the military.

Re:Unfortunate (2, Insightful)

khallow (566160) | about 6 years ago | (#23138944)

Even that growth is limited. The power of commercial endeavors in space is that they pay for themselves. So that means there's feedback in the system encourage further investment in space.

Re:Unfortunate (1)

lusiphur69 (455824) | about 6 years ago | (#23139236)

Space research is pure science, for the most part, with little in the way of spin-offs or direct benefit. The reason most of such work is performed in academia is because companies wishing to leverage R&D have far more lucrative areas they could be working in.

Having seen the results of the X-Prize, I would suggest to Ayn Randistas that perhaps the free market isn't the best - or only - solution to every problem. If anything, it leads to a duplication of work, lack of collaboration, myopia and cutthroat profiteering on anything marketable..case in point: AZT or other HIV retrovirals which, while not costing terribly much to synthesize, cost insane amounts so that can provide big P/E ratios to it's shareholders.

Lovely system, capitalism.

Re:Unfortunate (1)

khallow (566160) | about 6 years ago | (#23140260)

Space research is pure science, for the most part, with little in the way of spin-offs or direct benefit. The reason most of such work is performed in academia is because companies wishing to leverage R&D have far more lucrative areas they could be working in.

I'm not sure what that had to do with my comments. But as I see it, that's a problem with the way that space research is conducted these days rather than some inherent limitation of what research you can do in space. Also it's worth noting that a considerable portion of such research is conducted in private universities partially subsidized by government funds. It doesn't fit nicely into any ideological pidgeonholes, but there are definitely capitalist aspects to the way research is done in universities today.

Having seen the results of the X-Prize, I would suggest to Ayn Randistas that perhaps the free market isn't the best - or only - solution to every problem. If anything, it leads to a duplication of work, lack of collaboration, myopia and cutthroat profiteering on anything marketable..case in point: AZT or other HIV retrovirals which, while not costing terribly much to synthesize, cost insane amounts so that can provide big P/E ratios to it's shareholders.

I must be thinking of some other X-Prize. The X Prize I observed, delivered a working vehicle and some interesting competitors. Further, I don't see where you're going with the HIV comments. I read it as "cutthroat competition results in HIV treatments." But I'm sure that if there's ever a problem, you'll be around to tell us.

Lovely system, capitalism.

I give up. Why do you think you're being sarcastic? Your examples are weak, assuming they were meant to disparage capitalism in some way.

Re:Unfortunate (1)

lusiphur69 (455824) | about 6 years ago | (#23155322)

You should have read it as 'cutthroat competition leads to unaffordable HIV treatments'. The substances themselves are cheap, but because of the profit motive these treatments are only available to the rich. Witness Magic Johnson vs. much of Africa. A humane nation would, instead of trying to squeeze money from a rock, remove the patent protection and allow the market to really decide.

"I must be thinking of some other X-Prize. The X Prize I observed, delivered a working vehicle and some interesting competitors. "

We most definetly were not looking at the same X-Prize. What I saw were clumsy, amateurish rocketplanes with no overaching design philosophy and certainly no use beyond 5-minute space 'tourism'.

Last year, Google announced the Google Lunar X Prize. The search leader is putting up $30 million in prize money for teams that successfully land a robot on the moon.

I don't know about you but I don't see a paltry 30 million doing much to stimulate commercial space ventures. In essence, collaboration is key - and competition, with the profit motive removes all incentive to collaborate, instead replacing it with secrecy.

I really have trouble with free market capitalists - they generally have no grasp of economics and instead a fuzzy sense of ideals. That, and a well-worn copy of the Fountainhead.

Re:Unfortunate (1)

khallow (566160) | about 6 years ago | (#23160006)

You should have read it as 'cutthroat competition leads to unaffordable HIV treatments'. The substances themselves are cheap, but because of the profit motive these treatments are only available to the rich. Witness Magic Johnson vs. much of Africa. A humane nation would, instead of trying to squeeze money from a rock, remove the patent protection and allow the market to really decide.

There are well established procedures for imminent domain in the US, that is seizing property as the other party is fairly compensated. IP can be handled in the same way. It's pretty simple. Compensate the drug companies amply and open source the drug recipe.

We most definetly were not looking at the same X-Prize. What I saw were clumsy, amateurish rocketplanes with no overaching design philosophy and certainly no use beyond 5-minute space 'tourism'.

SpaceShipOne was not amateurish. Neither were some of the other contenders like Armadillo Aerospace and Pioneer Rocketplane.

Last year, Google announced the Google Lunar X Prize. The search leader is putting up $30 million in prize money for teams that successfully land a robot on the moon.

I don't know about you but I don't see a paltry 30 million doing much to stimulate commercial space ventures. In essence, collaboration is key - and competition, with the profit motive removes all incentive to collaborate, instead replacing it with secrecy.

As I mentioned earlier, competition is the most effective form of cooperation. Collaboration requires funding sources who have no expectation of getting monetary return on their investment.

I really have trouble with free market capitalists - they generally have no grasp of economics and instead a fuzzy sense of ideals. That, and a well-worn copy of the Fountainhead.
There's one word that deflates free market capitalists, "externality". Use it and you'll never have trouble again. Getting back on subject, mildly regulated markets work in a variety of applications, some that manage far larger assets and volume transactions than those that occur collectively in government space programs. Again, what is wrong with the approach aside from some mild hoarding of knowledge (ie, trade secrets)?

Re:Unfortunate (1)

QuantumG (50515) | about 6 years ago | (#23138000)

There's an interesting article on the Space Review [thespacereview.com] at the moment that outlines how the air freight industry really got started and suggests that a parallel for sub-orbital vehicles might not be completely inconceivable.

Re:Unfortunate (3, Informative)

khallow (566160) | about 6 years ago | (#23138920)

Continued tourist flights to the ISS were untenable. By 2010, the station is fully operational (heh). There'd be a lot more resistance from the other ISS partners to continuing this. There's also the possibility that the launch schedule after 2010 can't fit in a space tourist. The station has to maintain a microgravity environment which means eliminating vibration. Dockings are a source of vibration wo even now the number of dockings to the station is very restricted.

Re:Unfortunate (1)

call-me-kenneth (1249496) | about 6 years ago | (#23140016)

There's no more chance of any significant "expansion" of manned activity in space than there is of building cities in Antarctica.

You know.... (1)

symbolset (646467) | about 6 years ago | (#23154500)

I think the space expansion will happen first, but the way global warming's going antarctic cities don't look that unlikely either. Once they find the vast oil and coal reserves there it's all over.

Re:Unfortunate (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23148940)

That's not true though. Counting Dennis Tito, the first space tourist launched in 2001, there have been a total 5 tourists out of 15 manned Souyz flights. The costs of launching a manned Soyuz mission is somewhere around $70 million (quoted around the time of Tito's flight) to $100 million. The tourists payed around $20-25 million each. The $40 million cited in the article is a nominal price tag. To the best of my knowledge, no one has payed that much. This is much less than 10% of the Soyuz program budget for the last 7 years.

The tourism deal only worked out because many of the Soyuz flights only have two planned crewmen, leaving a seat open, and because activity is limited on the ISS at the moment, with only 3 three nominal crewmen. Once the ISS is completed, the crew complement goes up to 6 and they will have a regular regimine of activity.

Tourism on the ISS is a dead end. There's no room for it to grow. If it's going to become commercially viable, it will have to come from commercial investment.

Drat! saving the money in my penny jar for this! (1)

loose electron (699583) | about 6 years ago | (#23137448)

Is this good or bad? The media show of the few immeasurably rich going into space has brought good attention to the space programs, but at times, it has been humorous in a sad sort of way.

More money on robotic research, best bang for the buck in outer space, IMHO.
Also, why do we need to go back to the moon in order to go to Mars? I see no rhyme or reason in that stupidity except thats what GW Bush wants, which means that it will probably disappear in a year or two.

Re:Drat! saving the money in my penny jar for this (2, Insightful)

POTSandPANS (781918) | about 6 years ago | (#23137526)

The moon is quite important to a mars trip. Getting from earth to the moon uses a lot of fuel. Going to mars from the moon is easier, especially if you send some extra fuel and supplies to the moon before you get there. Going to the moon also gives you a chance to test out your equipment in a harsh environment while you are still close to home.

Re:Drat! saving the money in my penny jar for this (1)

call-me-kenneth (1249496) | about 6 years ago | (#23137682)

Nonsense. It takes a huge amount of energy to drop back down the gravity well to Mars three days out of Earth, and another huge amount to get back up and back onto a trans-martian orbital trajectory. Secondly the martian environment is massively different from the moon. For example, a lunar lander isn't going to work on Mars, what with the much higher gravity, much higher arrival speed, oh yes and the atmosphere. There's no benefit whatsoever in stopping at the moon on the way, and anyone who says different either doesn't know what they're talking about or is a moron.

Re:Drat! saving the money in my penny jar for this (1)

glittalogik (837604) | about 6 years ago | (#23137774)

What about resources that can be mined from the moon? At the very least, wouldn't it make sense to take off from Earth as lightly as possible and pick up heavier resources (water, building materials) on the way? Of course that relies on an established lunar infrastructure to be in place first, but once that's up and running...

Re:Drat! saving the money in my penny jar for this (1)

KeensMustard (655606) | about 6 years ago | (#23137864)

Why would robots need water? I notice that the earlier missions to Mars (Spirit/Opportunity/etc) didn't need to stop off for supplies - why would future missions?

Re:Drat! saving the money in my penny jar for this (1)

call-me-kenneth (1249496) | about 6 years ago | (#23140062)

What resources, rocks? I've got news for you, spacecraft thrusters don't run on rock. And as you say, a huge iraq-war scale investment would be required to set up that infrastructure anyway. Believe me, people cleverer than you and I have thought about this, which is why the official NASA Mars mission template/ design study is a straight-to-Mars design and has been for thirty years or more.

Re:Drat! saving the money in my penny jar for this (1)

loose electron (699583) | about 6 years ago | (#23150894)

Agreed - no good reason to stop at the moon to get to Mars - except perhaps to dump the politicians out. You want to assemble and gather things - do it in LEO (low earth orbit) and then get out of LEO for Mars.

Optional mission components (1)

symbolset (646467) | about 6 years ago | (#23154524)

and another huge amount to get back up and back onto a trans-martian orbital trajectory.

Omitting this non-essential objective from the mission is what makes it do-able.

I'll bet you think I'm kidding. I'm not.

Re:Drat! saving the money in my penny jar for this (1)

drsquare (530038) | about 6 years ago | (#23156838)

Then we have to work out what's more efficient, sending a spaceship and fuel to the Moon, then to Mars, or going straight to Mars. Unless you're assuming that the fuel and spaceship get to the Moon by magic.

Re:Drat! saving the money in my penny jar for this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23137554)

Also, why do we need to go back to the moon in order to go to Mars?

Because we need to develop and test technologies we'll need to get to and remain on Mars, and the Moon makes a good testbed. If anything goes wrong, the Moon's only 2 days flight time from Earth.

Reprioritization? (4, Interesting)

zappepcs (820751) | about 6 years ago | (#23137516)

I'm not really seeing the problem with that. Personally, I think that if politicians and world leaders (I'm looking at you over there in the Whitehouse) could stop their idiocy and work together on a few things, we might find resources (not jut money) to do things like exploit^H^H^H^Hore the solar system a bit, perhaps go finding things like more room to live, more minerals, and perhaps some mysterious substance that helps us to manage global climate change.

The more that we all sit here on this rock arguing about stupid stuff, the longer the Borg has to get here before we are ready, god damnit!

Seriously, the more we learn about space, the solar system, universe etc. the more prepared we will be to better care for this little rock we call home. I do not believe that there is any one country that has the resources to do this alone. I believe it will take huge cooperative efforts to find the answers that humankind actually needs.

Right now we are starving people for the chance to make weak fuel out of corn. When you look at the facts of biofuel, it seems astoundingly stupid to do what we are doing as a group. I think that if we are going to find something that will help serve our energy needs we will have to keep exploring. Only through exploration do we find things that change life as we know it.

Sadly, if Vladimir Smith found out how to create a zero point module (go Stargate) next week, it would be kept a secret and not released to the public until some whistle-blower feels guilty on their deathbed. ZPMs and other such 'free energy' systems/devices and those that do not make anyone any money will be hidden from sight. A sad fact, and not to seem socialist but if we don't all try cooperation to solve some of the very urgent problems, Armageddon sans god is all that is left us. Nuclear energy might become safer with new discoveries lately, and I'm all for it. If you are not using it, safety and discoveries to make it safer are hardly on the radar of those who need to be inventing stuff like that. With nearly free electricity we can carry on with electric vehicles.

The space agencies around the globe really need to work together as has been shown, space tourism really isn't going to foot the bill for the kind of exploration that we need to be doing.

Solar and wind power are not THE answer to the energy needs of the human race and the planet Earth. We need to expand technologically beyond what we have so far. Look at Monsanto? GM foods and people are still starving around the globe. If we don't get some socialist ideas in action soon, we're headed for a scifi nightmare ending. Space exploration thus far has embodied all that is generally good in humankind: Exploration, advancement, betterment, working for the common good. Even if it was a space race for bragging rights or dominance of the domain, it was done in a way that has helped us all in one way or another. We need much more of it.

Yes, you can believe the book "The day after Roswell" http://www.amazon.com/Day-After-Roswell-Philip-Corso/dp/067101756X [amazon.com]if you like, but the way that space exploration has changed our lives is without comparison. I hope that this is one thing that we, as the human race, end up getting right.

Re:Reprioritization? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23138176)

+1 Crackpottish

Re:Reprioritization? (1)

khallow (566160) | about 6 years ago | (#23140314)

Given that most of your post is off-topic and wrong, here and there, I'll just focus on the sentences that are mostly on topic.

I'm not really seeing the problem with that. Personally, I think that if politicians and world leaders (I'm looking at you over there in the Whitehouse) could stop their idiocy and work together on a few things, we might find resources (not jut money) to do things like exploit^H^H^H^Hore the solar system a bit, perhaps go finding things like more room to live, more minerals, and perhaps some mysterious substance that helps us to manage global climate change.

What's wrong with "exploit"? It's a good word and accurately describes what we're going to do with the universe. Seize the day.

The space agencies around the globe really need to work together as has been shown, space tourism really isn't going to foot the bill for the kind of exploration that we need to be doing.

I disagree. Competition is a more effective form of cooperation. Let's do that first. Second, space tourism has never been presented as the be-all of space development. As you've probably noticed, we have a serious lack of profitable opportunities in space. Space tourism could seed future growth in space, but it's not going to drive a space civilization all by itself.

Look at Monsanto? GM foods and people are still starving around the globe. If we don't get some socialist ideas in action soon, we're headed for a scifi nightmare ending.

Why are you blaming Monsanto for failed societies around the world? It's not their job. Nor should it be.

Re:Reprioritization? (1)

zappepcs (820751) | about 6 years ago | (#23140624)

To put a finer point on it, and try to keep it all on topic, at least within the scope of my comment's original intent:

Exploit the solar system: like big oil has done for the Earth. This is not a good thing for the average joe.

Space tourism has not been successful so far. I didn't say it couldn't be. Competition is always good... well, unless you consider that the big oil companies are competing? They are ALL making obscene profits at our expense. These are not the companies that I want competing for the resources of the solar system.

I don't blame Monsanto for failed societies, rather I offer up what Monsanto could have been and done but didn't. We now have GM foods but they are generating money through lawsuits not saving people from starving. The ideology is wrong in the case of Monsanto, and the rest of the globe helped to make it that way.

Re:Reprioritization? (1)

khallow (566160) | about 6 years ago | (#23146962)

Exploit the solar system: like big oil has done for the Earth. This is not a good thing for the average joe.

It has given us modern civilization, version 1.0. Most people think that is a good thing.

Space tourism has not been successful so far. I didn't say it couldn't be.

Given that nobody is in the space tourism business, it is surprising that we have any. As I see it, the few tourists that Russia launches will generate significant income for Russia and help its space program in a time of need. So it has been successful for the limited purpose so far.

Competition is always good... well, unless you consider that the big oil companies are competing? They are ALL making obscene profits at our expense. These are not the companies that I want competing for the resources of the solar system.

I think the problem here is that obscene profits are due to the restrictions on the oil industry in the US (and possibly Europe). The big oil companies don't get most of their profit from drilling for oil. They get much more from refining end products for consumers. And that profit comes from the limited competition in the refinery business. The only people in the world that can make the complex blends and byproducts used in the developed world are refineries situated near the eventual consumption of the petroleum goods. Sure the Saudis could easier build such a refinery, but there'd be weeks of delay. Any local refinery could react much faster. And in the US, the primary consumer of oil, no new refinery has been built in decades (unless something has changed recently). Effective competition here would have resulted in lower profits overall.

I don't blame Monsanto for failed societies, rather I offer up what Monsanto could have been and done but didn't. We now have GM foods but they are generating money through lawsuits not saving people from starving. The ideology is wrong in the case of Monsanto, and the rest of the globe helped to make it that way.

In other words, Monsanto is irrelevant. I really don't see where you're going with this.

Grammar Check? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23137534)

"announced that they will cease *it's* $40,000,000-a-flight space tourism enterprise"

It's = conjunction for it is.

They will cease it is $40,000,000?

It should read:
"announced that they will cease *its* $40,000,000-a-flight space tourism enterprise"

I see this mistake all the time, and it drives me crazy!

"THEY will cease IT'S"??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23137570)

I can't decide which error to bitch about first.

haha (3, Interesting)

Nyall (646782) | about 6 years ago | (#23137578)

I bet this is just marketing.
sort of like how disney keeps saying that they are going to lock such and such title up in their vault for 50 years and not ever let it see the light of day.

Not wanting to compete with SpaceX in 2010? (1)

FleaPlus (6935) | about 6 years ago | (#23137736)

I'm actually wondering if maybe part of the reason for the announcement is to spare them from having to compete head-to-head with the SpaceX Dragon [spacex.com] in the commercial sector, which will likely be carrying crew to orbit in the 2010 timeframe at a lower per-person price than the Soyuz. It'd be kind of humiliating for Energia to be out-done in the commercial space sector by a US startup company, but they can save face if they announce ahead of time that they're exiting the industry due to reasons of national pride.

That would make "that bloke" Branson happy (3, Insightful)

mapkinase (958129) | about 6 years ago | (#23137880)

End of Russian space tourism - more bucks to private space programs.

Re:That would make "that bloke" Branson happy (2, Insightful)

call-me-kenneth (1249496) | about 6 years ago | (#23140026)

Except that the Virgin/Scaled Composites thing is just a Mach 2 rollercoaster straight up to 100km, then plummet back to earth; whereas the Russian have a real space program, you know, that actually puts things in orbit. That's much, much harder to do.

Re:That would make "that bloke" Branson happy (1)

dreamchaser (49529) | about 6 years ago | (#23140482)

Yes, it's a bit like comparing a ride in a nice go cart to a ride in a Nascar around the track at 200mph.

Re:That would make "that bloke" Branson happy (1)

mapkinase (958129) | about 6 years ago | (#23140600)

You know why Empire State Building is the tallest on Manhattan?

Simple reason: Oil Money (2, Informative)

Tablizer (95088) | about 6 years ago | (#23138016)

Now that Russia has oil money due to high oil prices, they can afford to fund their space program without the need for tourism. I doubt tourism was profitable. They probably did it keep the space program alive and space workers employed during hard times. But with the oil money, they can end that practice.

Potential for Incident (1)

rlp (11898) | about 6 years ago | (#23138022)

They were no doubt concerned about an incident between paid visitors and ISS personnel resulting in the headline: "In Soviet Russia Tourists Space You!".

You Fail I^t? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23138074)

keep, and I won't keed to be Kreskin

Where Russia leaves off capitalism kicks in: (1)

Fluffeh (1273756) | about 6 years ago | (#23138250)

Okay, so it's maybe not quite totally at the same level, but there are other groups who are certainly looking at exploiting a good level of cash in people wanting to get into space:

Nothing wrong with making money off it according to Richard Branson
http://u.tv/newsroom/indepth.asp?id=70139&pt=n [u.tv]

Maybe the US should do it now (1)

stabiesoft (733417) | about 6 years ago | (#23138492)

As several posters have pointed out, Russia's fortune's have shifted and oil is making them serious rubles. We on the other hand might want to think about supplementing NASA with some tourists since we are broke.

Oh noes! (1)

brunokummel (664267) | about 6 years ago | (#23138592)

Now I have a deadline to raise $40,000,000...
In soviet Russia the Space has a time limit!
(sorry I couldn't resist..)

It's basic business sense. (3, Interesting)

jrhawk42 (1028964) | about 6 years ago | (#23138624)

By 2010 virgin galactic will have several flights, and a decent track record offering flights at a much cheaper rate(Virgin flights are only $200,000), and better suited for civilians (3 days training). It wouldn't make much sense to try to compete against them, and we all know how the Russians love business competition. Personally I'm not going to be too excited until we start getting flights to the moon, and really there's a ton of way cooler places on Earth you can go for a lot cheaper.

OMG, Sir Richard, it's just you and me now! (1)

aqk (844307) | about 6 years ago | (#23138960)

Sir Richard, if you perchance read Slashdot, this may well be your (and my) last chance for the Soyuz!

    I apologize to you, sir, for the rather base familiarity in my tawdry but very sensible Soyuz plea to you [youtube.com] , and would beg that you please reconsider this ill-thought Virgin Galactic nonsense!

I regret the price I gave you-$25M - was a tad understated, but still, $40M is surely not beyond our purse-strings, is it?

I await your kind reply, sir, and if it is not soon forthcoming, I shall resume the following ill-thought-out negotiations [youtube.com] with the those more progressive gentlemen Sergy and Larry!

  yours, etc, etc,

well. (2, Interesting)

TheShadowzero (884085) | about 6 years ago | (#23139070)

I feel like this is a good thing. I wouldn't want the final frontier to suffer the same consequences as other tourist spots. Space is not something that should be exploited for commercial purposes, at least until we all have spaceships and can go wherever we want at will.

Next moon landing hoax? (1)

don_oles (712034) | about 6 years ago | (#23139180)

I wonder what an idiot one can be to agree to fly to the Moon. Also sending an idiot to Mars for $$$$$$$$$$$ is too expensive. Better off with a simple gun. :)

That's pretty cheap (0, Flamebait)

Zibri (1063838) | about 6 years ago | (#23140408)

$40 and nill cents. Pretty cheap.

PS. Stop using "," as thousand seperators! You're confusing people outside the US (which, as we all know, is a small minority...).

2010: Odyssey Two (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23147026)


Isn't 2010 the year they're supposed to take Heywood Floyd and Walter Curnow to Jupiter?
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