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No More Space Tourists After 2009, Russia Says

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the after-gathering-up-all-of-these-box-tops dept.

Space 105

mknewman writes with disappointing news for anyone with the money that it would have cost to fly as a space tourist, excerpting a story that says "Russia's space chief says there won't be any more tourists headed to the international space station after this year. Anatoly Perminov told the government newspaper Rossiiskaya Gazeta that there will be no room for paying tourists because the space station's crew is expanding from three members to six."

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105 comments

Oldest sales trick in the book (5, Insightful)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 5 years ago | (#26550499)

"Buy now while stocks last".

Re:Oldest sales trick in the book (1)

religious freak (1005821) | more than 5 years ago | (#26550561)

Good call... no, great call

Plus, Russia still needs money, I'm sure they'd take some kind of offer. This is more like saying: "this price has gone up... way up"

Re:Oldest sales trick in the book (1)

G00F (241765) | more than 5 years ago | (#26551527)

Not to forget it was also seen as an embarrassment for them not long ago. Think it was even on /.

01110100 01101000 01100001 01101110 01111000

Re:Oldest sales trick in the book (1)

troll8901 (1397145) | more than 5 years ago | (#26552959)

There were so many Slashdot articles on space tourism [google.com] , that I'm lost even before I've begun reading.

01110100 01101000 01100001 01101110 01111000 (thanx)

01111001 01110010 01110111 01100101 01101100 01100011 01110101 01101101 (yr welcum)

Re:Oldest sales trick in the book (1)

doti (966971) | more than 5 years ago | (#26552223)

so, the price is expected to rise?

Re:Oldest sales trick in the book (2, Funny)

Em Ellel (523581) | more than 5 years ago | (#26552863)

Good call... no, great call

Plus, Russia still needs money, I'm sure they'd take some kind of offer. This is more like saying: "this price has gone up... way up"

Yeah, because they could not have just set the price to whatever they wanted...I mean they'd have to be the only ones offering space tourism, like some sort of a monopoly, to do that... Oh wait, they are....

-Em

This story could easily have been about Taco... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26550581)

Re:This story could easily have been about Taco... (0, Redundant)

samriel (1456543) | more than 5 years ago | (#26551005)

Yeah, because quoting The Onion is funny, tasteful, and insightful. If I had modpoints, I'm mod you like +10 funny. You would've easily been a 15 if you'd included Xkcd, and heaven forbid you should link to Penny Arcade... they'd have to buy a new server just for the rating I'd give you!!!

Re:This story could easily have been about Taco... (2, Funny)

EthanV2 (1211444) | more than 5 years ago | (#26552525)

But the ratings system only goes up to 5.

Re:Oldest sales trick in the book (4, Funny)

Lachlan Hunt (1021263) | more than 5 years ago | (#26551239)

I've been saving my pocket money for this, and I was so close to having enough! I only need another $19,996,142 to reach my $20 million dollar goal, but unfortunately it doesn't look like I'll reach that amount before the end of the year.

Re:Oldest sales trick in the book (1)

No.2 (258174) | more than 5 years ago | (#26551975)

I think the price increased to $30 million. There was an article posted last year that mentioned that the price went up and that they would discontinue the space tourism after this year.

Damn! (4, Funny)

A. B3ttik (1344591) | more than 5 years ago | (#26550503)

So much for my dream of posting from space.

Re:Damn! (3, Funny)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 5 years ago | (#26550531)

"first post from space"

Re:Damn! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26550725)

You'ld never get that; the latency is too high.

Re:Damn! (3, Funny)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 5 years ago | (#26550839)

Well, if subscribers can apparently see articles in the future, maybe people in *cough* web space *cough* can see even further!

And then there's always the google "search tomorrow" function. [google.com.au]

Re:Damn! (1)

fpophoto (1382097) | more than 5 years ago | (#26551019)

Well, if subscribers can apparently see articles in the future

Good point, but if memory serves, subbies can only see stories up to roughly 15 minutes ahead, at most. If you're in orbit, it should allow you to get first post easily. Further out? Tough luck.

Re:Damn! (4, Insightful)

doti (966971) | more than 5 years ago | (#26552343)

first (post from space) != (first post) from space.

Re:Damn! (1)

oldspewey (1303305) | more than 5 years ago | (#26550619)

I somehow doubt that the Russian government will be the last entity to offer rides for paying tourists.

Re:Damn! (1)

BigGerman (541312) | more than 5 years ago | (#26556715)

Unfortunately, pretty soon they would be the only entity capable of human flight.

Your dream came true! (1)

denzacar (181829) | more than 5 years ago | (#26553729)

Parent post, just like this one was posted from space - from third planet orbiting a yellow dwarf star in of the minor spiral arms of this galaxy.
Natives call the planet Earth.
Star it orbits they call Sun.
Spiral arm they call Orion Arm, and the galaxy Milky Way.

If you are reading this - you are probably on that very location yourself.

Free Willzyx (1)

Xelios (822510) | more than 5 years ago | (#26557891)

I guess it's time to try the Mexican space program. Space, si. Fly. 200 dollars.

Oh, Really? (2, Funny)

bradgoodman (964302) | more than 5 years ago | (#26550519)

They can say whatever they want - in reality, there's always gonna be enough room for Benjamin Franklin...(or enough of them!)

Oblig. (1)

hendrix2k (1099161) | more than 5 years ago | (#26550527)

In Soviet Russia, space tours you!

And.... (1)

KraftDinner (1273626) | more than 5 years ago | (#26550553)

Queue the "In Soviet Russia" jokes.

Re:And.... (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 5 years ago | (#26550593)

How about:
"In Soviet Russia, space trip buys you!"

Re:And.... (4, Funny)

oldspewey (1303305) | more than 5 years ago | (#26550641)

In Soviet Russia, jokes queue you.

CUE (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26553195)

With just the parent's mistake I wasn't going to bother ... but when I saw your reply, well.

  • Queue = a sequential ordering of items or people, or to make such an ordering
  • Cue = a signal to begin an action, or to make such a signal

Re:CUE (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26553799)

Well, depending how many Soviet Russia jokes actually follow, either word could be appropriate

I don't get it. (3, Interesting)

Futile Rhetoric (1105323) | more than 5 years ago | (#26550567)

This seems like a fantastic way to help funding the space programme, and Russia isn't exactly awash in cash. Seems stupid.

Re:I don't get it. (5, Informative)

oodaloop (1229816) | more than 5 years ago | (#26550661)

With rising gas and oil prices, Russia has a lot more money now than it did when it started the space tourism business. Maybe that's curtailed a little recently, but I think it will pick up again when OPEC cuts production. They could probably swing this on their own now.

Re:I don't get it. (5, Informative)

Futile Rhetoric (1105323) | more than 5 years ago | (#26550771)

OPEC has been cutting production, and the oil prices are still less than 30% of what they were half a year ago. Its stock market has lost 80% of its value. Russia has some reserves built up, but anticipates a budget deficit for next year (and possibly the years after that). They have a lot of spending to do, like the announced plans to raise pensions, retool the military, etc. Will the oil prices bounce up? Maybe -- it depends on how quickly we're heading towards recovery (and it doesn't look like we're in any hurry), and whether or not last year's high oil prices had been a bubble in the first place.

In light of this, it seems absolutely mad to cut off a pretty reliable source of funding. The only thing I can think of to explain the decision is that (as someone remarked above), they're simply playing hard-to-get, or that space tourism is not that profitable for them in the first place (which I frankly cannot imagine).

Re:I don't get it. (1)

floodo1 (246910) | more than 5 years ago | (#26551145)

Or maybe TFA is right, and they just dont have the space (hehe see that "the space"!! :)

Re:I don't get it. (2, Insightful)

Futile Rhetoric (1105323) | more than 5 years ago | (#26551247)

Not good enough. When this much money is on the line, you make space. Besides, it's a way to relieve the world's rich people of their money for the good of the Motherland. These people make some terrible commies, I must say.

Re:I don't get it. (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 5 years ago | (#26551353)

Well, the USSR was never communist. We just call a totalitarian nation that, but it was VERY far from that. In fact, it is no different for us calling ourselves a democracy (we share a FEW attributes of a democracy, but in reality, we are a socialist republic.

Re:I don't get it. (1)

DiegoBravo (324012) | more than 5 years ago | (#26552207)

I listen this frequently from die-hard leftists/marxists/X-ists. I'm pretty sure that if the URSS would be still alive and strong (despite local deaths/abuses that were always counted as marginal imperfections), that same people would be today saying that the URSS is the single true and mighty communist implementation.

Re:I don't get it. (1)

Em Ellel (523581) | more than 5 years ago | (#26553045)

I listen this frequently from die-hard leftists/marxists/X-ists. I'm pretty sure that if the URSS would be still alive and strong (despite local deaths/abuses that were always counted as marginal imperfections), that same people would be today saying that the URSS is the single true and mighty communist implementation.

Actually, USSR never was nor even ever claimed to be communist. In fact its in the name: USSR stands for Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. They were a Socialist state striving to one day become a communist nation. It is generally poor education that makes people think USSR was Communist, but no one with a clue has ever claimed USSR to be Communist.

-Em

Re:I don't get it. (3, Insightful)

DiegoBravo (324012) | more than 5 years ago | (#26554143)

Ok, from that technical definition you're right. If you assume as definition the promised paradise of the communist future, of course nobody will say that some society archived it. The problem with this line of thinking are the following conclusions:

1) Humanity never "enjoyed" a real communist society, so we must try again (as if all the "experiments" done were not enough.)
2) The failure (after failure...) of a lot of vocal people arguing about the communist benefits, has another excuse for avoiding the ridiculous

BTW, China was named itself communist (Mao tried a lot of pretty weird schemes with its people), but Russians always sustained that they were the true revolutionaries (i.e. more communists.) Of course that byzantine discussions were totally silly (as in the Trotsky case) but illustrate the fat books that can be devoted to the insubstantial issue of the degree/realness/quality of the socialist/communist governments.

regards,

Re:I don't get it. (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 5 years ago | (#26553115)

Well, as a Libertarian, I would tell you that they were never a communist country. China was never a communist country. And if the old USSR had not been finished in the 70's, I would still join the academicians in saying the same.

In fact, NO country is communist. Perhaps, the CLOSEST that anything gets is small communes like in Israel.

Re:I don't get it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26553495)

As a student of Russian history, I'm just going to leave it at 'you pursue idiocy with commendable vigor'.

Re:I don't get it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26551881)

I hardly think that they'll find enough space tourists to finance a new habitat module on the International Space Station, let alone the resources to do that before the ISS crew increases to 6.

Also, "commies", wtf? Regardless of what USSR was or wasn't, modern day Russia, or its people, is quite far from communist.

Peanuts... (1)

joh (27088) | more than 5 years ago | (#26551427)

In light of this, it seems absolutely mad to cut off a pretty reliable source of funding.

What? A flight costs a tourist about $20m. Even is this were pure profit (which I doubt) this isn't much. I don't know where the profits finally go, but I doubt that this makes any difference to Russia as a state. Peanuts, really. Russia is actually quite wealthy (the state, not the people), by the way. Building a launcher and a Soyuz craft for dedicated tourist flights seems to be out of the question.

The reason given (no spare seats when the ISS finally has a crew of 6) is totally reasonable and it has been known for a long time that this will be the case. They just had a spare seat now and then until now and sold it.

Anyway, if SpaceX and Bigelow get their way, there will be a commercial space station and commercial US flights for tourists in about five years.

Re:I don't get it. (1)

Vicarius (1093097) | more than 5 years ago | (#26552653)

Russia has some reserves built up, but anticipates a budget deficit for next year (and possibly the years after that).

Don't forget that they have 3-year budgets and "deficit" in one year can be offset by other two. Plus, they also were saving all the extra money they've been getting from high oil prices into a "Stabilization Fund" for a situation like this. Oil price was budgeted by them for around $70 for quite some time and even a year ago the prediction (and future budgets) anticipated a drop in price to around $60; even though at the time oil prices were skyrocketing through the roof. They must have known something.

Re:I don't get it. (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 5 years ago | (#26558949)

In light of this, it seems absolutely mad to cut off a pretty reliable source of funding.

Bah.

A grand total of six "space tourists" have made the run to the ISS.

Call it one a year to be generous.

You want to see some real money rolling in ? Open a deep discount drug store in the states.

Re:I don't get it. (2, Insightful)

dmitriy88 (1096195) | more than 5 years ago | (#26551365)

Surprisingly enough, they don't get all of their money from oil and gas.

"Despite higher energy prices, oil and gas only contribute to 5.7% of Russia's GDP and the government predicts this will drop to 3.7% by 2011."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russia#Economy [wikipedia.org]

Re:I don't get it. (1)

Futile Rhetoric (1105323) | more than 5 years ago | (#26552067)

I have never claimed otherwise. I would however like to add that oil and gas are not the only raw materials which Russia exports, and that demand is dropping on all of them.

Now, why don't you go ahead and look up how much percent of the state budget comes from oil and gas?

Re:I don't get it. (1)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 5 years ago | (#26556803)

Most of Russian economy is domestic, not international trade.

Re:I don't get it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26558909)

With FALLING gas and oil prices, Russia has LOST a lot more money now than it did when it started the space tourism business. FTFY

So this is how Obama supporters treat the Earth? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26550843)

Re:So this is how Obama supporters treat the Earth (0, Offtopic)

Futile Rhetoric (1105323) | more than 5 years ago | (#26551067)

That is quite horrid, thank you for bringing it to our attention. With all that paper and plastic that's now in the Washington DC ecosystem, who knows what the repercussions will be. Have you ever seen a hobo trapped in saran wrap? It's tragic.

Re:I don't get it. (1)

beav007 (746004) | more than 5 years ago | (#26554119)

This seems like a fantastic way to help funding the space programme, and Russia isn't exactly awash in cash. Seems stupid.

It shows you that Russians aren't all that smart. If they'd done a couple of weeks of contracting in Iraq, they'd have more space funding than NASA.

Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (1)

A. B3ttik (1344591) | more than 5 years ago | (#26550589)

A Kazakh cosmonaut would fly to the space station in the fall of this year under the terms of a commercial deal with Kazakhstan's government, Perminov said.

Very Ni-ice.

Re:Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (1)

samriel (1456543) | more than 5 years ago | (#26551057)

He would make-a floating sexah-time, very ni-ice, yes?

Re:Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26552491)

what?

BORAT FAIL

Russia as prophet of doom? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26550663)

Headline a little pessimistic. I had thought that the space tourism industry would just be getting on its feet following 2009...

Russia was a fantastically poor place in the 1990s (4, Interesting)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 5 years ago | (#26550671)

That's why rogue nuclear weapons became a concern, as cash was king. There were many things Russia was doing to raise money - you could vacation there and for a few measly thousands of $$$, ride in their tanks, shoot many of their weapons, and what not. An adventurer's paradise.

But, now, as Russia is flush with cash through oil/gas from pipelines to Europe and the rest of the world, I suppose those small time endeavors just aren't as attractive anymore. It's not even subsidizing it's oil to Ukraine any more after this year, as it used to give deep discounts to all it's countries behind the iron curtain.

Re:Russia was a fantastically poor place in the 19 (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 5 years ago | (#26551121)

There were many things Russia was doing to raise money - you could vacation there and for a few measly thousands of $$$, ride in their tanks, shoot many of their weapons, and what not. An adventurer's paradise.

But, now, as Russia is flush with cash through oil/gas from pipelines to Europe and the rest of the world, I suppose those small time endeavors just aren't as attractive anymore.

http://www.flymig.com/ [flymig.com]

Looks like it's still in operation, high end jet flight costs $32K per hour. Actually more expensive per hour than a space tourism flight, assuming $20e6 for a week in space.

Re:Russia was a fantastically poor place in the 19 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26551149)

But, now, as Russia is flush with cash through oil/gas

Really? Where I can get my share of the said cash?

Re:Russia was a fantastically poor place in the 19 (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 5 years ago | (#26552015)

Russia was a fantastically poor place in the 1990s. That's why rogue nuclear weapons became a concern, as cash was king. There were many things Russia was doing to raise money - you could vacation there and for a few measly thousands of $$$, ride in their tanks, shoot many of their weapons, and what not. An adventurer's paradise.

Indeed. If you read the boards devoted to such thing back then, you'd find endless accounts of sexual tourism to Russia - and how wonderful and cheap it was (and how much Russian Mafia was involved in it).
 
Read those same boards today, and you'll find endless pining for the 'good old days'.

Re:Russia was a fantastically poor place in the 19 (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 5 years ago | (#26552537)

But, now, as Russia is flush with cash through oil/gas from pipelines to Europe and the rest of the world

Except that it isn't. It was good while it lasted for the last few years, but have you checked the oil prices lately? They're way below what was expect when Russia's FY2009 budget was approved, so now there is quite a fuss about it there, and there's certainly no free cash floating around.

Space tourist rockets (1)

wooferhound (546132) | more than 5 years ago | (#26550689)

By 2010 there will be several other companies offering rides into space for less money.

Re:Space tourist rockets (3, Insightful)

Karrde45 (772180) | more than 5 years ago | (#26550831)

Sending someone suborbital isn't quite the same as a multi-day orbital trip to the ISS.

Re:Space tourist rockets (1)

samriel (1456543) | more than 5 years ago | (#26551087)

Maybe so, but it's only a matter of time before Richard Branson has enough money to make himself a) immortal and b) able to fly, thus creating "VirginGalactic - ON A MADMAN!!!"

Re:Space tourist rockets (1)

FleaPlus (6935) | more than 5 years ago | (#26552713)

Sending someone suborbital isn't quite the same as a multi-day orbital trip to the ISS.

Sure, although it looks like the private multi-day trips to commercial space stations will start in 2011 or 2012:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bigelow_Aerospace [wikipedia.org]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sundancer [wikipedia.org]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BA_330 [wikipedia.org]

Re:Space tourist rockets (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 5 years ago | (#26552953)

Believe it when I see it. Bigelow is making headway, but I wouldn't consider current progress anywhere near enough. Bigelow has yet to demonstrate that they can put someone in orbit (using any vehicle) or that there will be a livable space station up there when they do. To fill that gap in four years? I really don't see it.

Re:Space tourist rockets (1)

FleaPlus (6935) | more than 5 years ago | (#26553371)

Bigelow has yet to demonstrate that they can put someone in orbit (using any vehicle) or that there will be a livable space station up there when they do.

Regarding the first issue, that's not what Bigelow is working on. Even if the Atlas V and SpaceX Dragon aren't ready in time, my understanding is that Bigelow is designing their docking interfaces to work with multiple different types of spacecraft. The reason the Russians are giving for not taking crew to the ISS is the lack of availability of room there; if there were another destination, I see no reason for them to decline if the price is high enough.

Re:Space tourist rockets (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 5 years ago | (#26554057)

Oh, if they can use Soyuz, then that does greatly reduce the problem.

Re:Space tourist rockets (1)

FleaPlus (6935) | more than 5 years ago | (#26554941)

Yeah, apparently the Sundancer will be launched with a Soyuz-type docking mechanism on one end, and a new NASA-developed mechanism on the other.

Re:Space tourist rockets (1)

Nyeerrmm (940927) | more than 5 years ago | (#26556661)

What, are you a rocket scientist or something? Remember, alcohol and aerospace don't mix.

Correction (1)

brian0918 (638904) | more than 5 years ago | (#26550693)

Typo in title. It should read: "No More Space Program After 2009, Russia Says"

Riiight, no more flights until ... (1)

Auroch (1403671) | more than 5 years ago | (#26550763)

Sure, suddenly russia is announcing that the doors are closing, and you'd better pay up NOW 'cuz there won't be any space flight later.

Of course, later, they will suddenly find 'space' for the civilian spacemen.

I believe it is called 'manufactured scarcity' ... but RUSSIA would NEVER do that. Nope.

Re:Riiight, no more flights until ... (1)

geckipede (1261408) | more than 5 years ago | (#26552589)

There's more to cynicism than just assuming the worst of people. As several commenters above have pointed out, space tourism is hardly a big moneymaker. It was really more of a way to ensure that the soyuz programme had continuous funding in between state paid missions so that production of rockets didn't have to be inconveniently irregular. The soyuz vehicles themselves are starting to become obsolete so even if the ISS wasn't undergoing changes there would be lessened reason to keep tourist flights going.

Dear Mr. Perminov: +1, Informative (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26550773)

Please take one more tourist into space for humanity's sake: the world's most dangerous person AND his crime sydicate [whitehouse.org] .

Thank you for your help.

Yours In Socialism,
Kilgore Trout

Re:Dear Mr. Perminov: +1, Informative (1, Troll)

Hordeking (1237940) | more than 5 years ago | (#26550939)

Please take one more tourist into space for humanity's sake: the world's most dangerous person AND his crime sydicate [whitehouse.org] .

Thank you for your help.

Yours In Socialism, Kilgore Trout

I think Messiah Obama is afraid of space, based on his lack of concern for space exploration.

If you've got the money--- (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26550829)

I'll send you into space.

Re:If you've got the money--- (1)

samriel (1456543) | more than 5 years ago | (#26551137)

Hey, buddy, for $50 I can hit you so hard that you see stars and can't feel the ground! How'd ya like that? Just sign here...


POW!!!

Private Space Travel (1)

Hordeking (1237940) | more than 5 years ago | (#26550865)

Maybe this will encourage the Russians to apply themselves to developing private space travel.

Re:Private Space Travel (1)

TheGeniusIsOut (1282110) | more than 5 years ago | (#26551259)

Maybe this will encourage the Russians to apply themselves to developing pirate space travel.

That sounds better...

Re:Private Space Travel (1)

Hordeking (1237940) | more than 5 years ago | (#26551299)

Maybe this will encourage the Russians to apply themselves to developing pirate space travel.

That sounds better...

Sign me up! Arrrr

Everybody hates a tourist. (4, Funny)

Cathoderoytube (1088737) | more than 5 years ago | (#26550925)

Honestly you can't blame them. They had a slew of obnoxious tourists who got really drunk and trashed the aft section of the station. It was so bad they had to detach the entire section and crash it into the pacific ocean.

Re:Everybody hates a tourist. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26551341)

Let's be honest now. Was it the foreign tourists or the RUSSIANS who got drunk and trashed the station?

Re:Everybody hates a tourist. (1)

arugulatarsus (1167251) | more than 5 years ago | (#26553253)

I don't think Lord British is that bad.

In Soviet Russia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26551059)

The ISS... ah, forget it.

Bribery and corruption (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26551217)

Someone in Russia just got a new Mercedes courtesy of SpaceX ;)

Garriot Gas (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26551243)

It's because Richard Garriot had tremendous gas on his trip.

Ninnle CEO to be one of the last. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26551265)

That means that Ninnle Labs CEO, P. O. Prune, will likely be one of the last to make the trip. He's already scheduled for sometime this summer, and will take the opportunity to do some communications testing involving some of the new wireless routers that run Ninnle software.

What they didn't say was ... (1)

gsgriffin (1195771) | more than 5 years ago | (#26551417)

"we're tired of cleaning up the fricken mess from those party animals that came last time. NO SOUP FOR YOU!!!"

They will restart in 2011 (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 5 years ago | (#26551595)

That is when SpaceX will go live with crew capability. At that time, SpaceX and Russia will have plenty of room to take tourists. More importantly, I would be surprised if Bigelow does not go live by end of 2012. And in spite of what they say, their Second independent set-up (i.e. not attached to the ISS) WILL be used for tourists. The first will almost certainly be used for a free floating lab with occaisional servicing.

Re:They will restart in 2011 (1)

FleaPlus (6935) | more than 5 years ago | (#26553427)

That is when SpaceX will go live with crew capability

I'm not sure if this is what you're getting at, but one of the limitations (if not the primary limitation) on the crew size is the lack of escape vehicle capacity. One possible option being looked at is to use on of SpaceX's Dragon capsules as a long-term crew escape vehicle [flightglobal.com] docked to the ISS, which would allow for a higher crew capacity.

TransHab (3, Interesting)

camperdave (969942) | more than 5 years ago | (#26551731)

Anybody know what the status of those inflatable TransHab modules that were launched a while ago is? If they're running out of room on the ISS, maybe they could hook up a few of those.

Re:TransHab (1)

FleaPlus (6935) | more than 5 years ago | (#26552663)

Since NASA wasn't doing anything with the TransHab technology, it was purchased several years ago by Bigelow Aerospace [wikipedia.org] , a company that's using the modules to create a commercial space station. They launched their prototype habitat modules into orbit in 2006 [bigelowaerospace.com] and 2007 [bigelowaerospace.com] , and both are still streaming images and video to the surface. They'll be launching the first human-rated module [wikipedia.org] of their space station in 2011 on a SpaceX Falcon 9, and will start launching their larger components and linking them together in 2012.

Once the station's up and running, they're planning on renting out time on the modules for manufacturing, microgravity research, and space tourism. They're also in talks with Lockheed Martin to use their Atlas V vehicle for more economical manned travel to orbit.

Re:TransHab (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 5 years ago | (#26554221)

I was aware of the Bigelow Aerospace takeover, and the 2006/2007 launches. However, when I looked at their website last week, the last thing posted was around mid 2008, and those were just pictures of the ground. There was nothing about how the habitat itself was holding up, no links to recent photos on the inside. The last "status" report was from December 2007.

Re:TransHab (1)

FleaPlus (6935) | more than 5 years ago | (#26555007)

Good point. It looks like they've been pretty quiet in the past year. Here's a summary of activity on Bigelow Aerospace from the past year:

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&as_qdr=y&q=bigelow++site:www.hobbyspace.com [google.com]

The latest major news I can find is the announcement of a $5 million contract with Orion Propulsion back in May 2008 to have them develop the attitude control system for the Sundancer.

Re:TransHab (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 5 years ago | (#26554791)

The problem isn't that they are running out of room to put people on orbit - but that when the crew size increases they will no longer have spare seats on the Soyuz.

Re:TransHab (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 5 years ago | (#26556767)

The problem isn't that they are running out of room to put people on orbit - but that when the crew size increases they will no longer have spare seats on the Soyuz.

NASA needs to get the Jupiter 120/232 launcher going so that they can park a few crew return vehicles at the ISS.

Re:TransHab (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 5 years ago | (#26556893)

Which won't change things one bit - the reason the Russians are halting tourist flights is not because of a lack of crew return capability, but because there aren't any uncommitted seats after this year. Up *or* down.

It's all good (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26552657)

Vladimir Putin will use his huge swinging Russian dick to catapault stupid Yankee paying tourists into orbit.

Cartmanland? (1)

seandiggity (992657) | more than 5 years ago | (#26552885)

And the way he did it is with the brilliant "You Can't Come" technique [southparkstudios.com] ...

Successful Space Tourism & Utilization (1)

J05H (5625) | more than 5 years ago | (#26555819)

Bigelow Aerospace and SpaceX will soon field a complete system of commercial stations and launch assets. Bigelow bought the old TransHab patents from NASA; also has two test modules in orbit right now. SpaceX has their capsule-launching rocket on the pad (w/ test hardware) and a 1-3 track record on Falcon 1. When Falcon 9 works it will change the equation on American spacelift capability. Both these companies, their founders and workers, have the Vision Thing.

Together they will provide habitat and access for a price but they need customers (not just NASA)in the form of hoteliers, operators, integrators and explorers. This requires entrepreneurs to develop new applications for space. This is not something traditional Big Aero wants to do - Boeing doesn't operate cruise ships or 737s. Robert Bigelow has said that he doesn't want to be a hotelier - he wants to build ships. Elon Musk is on record as saying he wants to build rockets to fly other people to Mars and elsewhere. This is a huge opportunity for entrepreneurs of all kinds, especially with the proposed amount of segmentation of access - want to go for a week to someone's orbital or buy a whole stack of modules for Mars exploration? They'll sell you the parts, go do it.

Russia had an 18 year lead in developing commercial space systems but has stumbled with limited exceptions and notable exceptions. This gap is an enormous market niche for US companies to fill. The first Bigelow BA-330 and Dragon capsules will be a vastly more comfortable and reliable station for space tourism and that will probably go online around 2013.

Next year or the year after (assuming you the entrepreneur w/ a good idea) could fly a payload on DragonLab, recoverable rack-space capsule w/ 2-year duration. In a couple more years, time-share on the first or second Bigelow-based stations. This then becomes the basic platform to use in offering space services or as owner go where you want in space.

It has immediate applications for tourism and Bigelow's "international astronaut corp". It has further applications in beamed-power, server farms and antennae structures.

This picture is the power of space, we can do so much more from above:

http://www.cnn.com/SPECIALS/2009/44.president/inauguration/mall.satellite/

Good Time for Dragon (1)

YetAnotherBob (988800) | more than 5 years ago | (#26555897)

Now, SpaceX can offer the same service. They only need for one of the 'partners' on ISS to let them dock. Dragon was supposed to be able to launch by this time next year. Experimental, of course.

Big deal (1)

jandersen (462034) | more than 5 years ago | (#26557485)

People talk about this as if it was a major disappointment, but all it is, is that the ultra-rich .2% of the population or so have lost one of their toys. It's not going to bring my piss to the boil.

The purpose of the space station is research - it is nice to see that getting priority over making money on silly publicity stunts for once; I'd like to see more of that. And while the microgravity of that environment is a very valuable scientific resource, it is hardly out in space, actually. If you have a look at one of those photos of Earth, you can hardly see the atmosphere - it's that thin a layer - and the space station almost skims along the top of that; you wonder why it doesn't leave a wake in the Pacific. That doesn't count as "in spce", not in my book. The Moon, yes, Mars, definitely, but not something that close.

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