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Russia Doubles Price For Launching US Astronauts

samzenpus posted more than 4 years ago | from the strange-bedfellows dept.

Space 370

Third Position writes "NASA on Tuesday signed a contract to pay $55.8 million per astronaut for six Americans to fly into space on Russian Soyuz capsules in 2013 and 2014. NASA needs to get rides on Russian rockets to the International Space Station because it plans to retire the space shuttle fleet later this year. NASA now pays half as much, about $26.3 million per astronaut, when it uses Russian ships."

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Capitalism (5, Insightful)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 4 years ago | (#31774030)

"You wanted us to adopt market pricing, yes Comrade?"

Re:Capitalism (5, Funny)

Mr Thinly Sliced (73041) | more than 4 years ago | (#31774048)

I have altered the deal. Pray I do not alter it further.

Re:Capitalism (4, Informative)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#31774374)

And this is why US will eventually fall, like every other empire in the human history. Only thing that is needed for it is when China and Taiwan decide to increase their manufacturing prices. It's a bad economy as it is and everyone in the US is getting high pays only because of international loans. You can't live on loans forever - eventually someone will start gathering them back. Since this is politics as well, the only thing needed is to provide manufacturing, product building and technology research cheaper than the US. Oh wait, that's what has been happening for years in India and China and US companies are still going for it.

You don't need to have a war to win, just collapse the other country.

Re:Capitalism (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31774536)

And this is why I think you're an idiot: why would a country intentionally cause the economic collapse of it's biggest trading partner? The scenario you describe is Mutually Assured Economic Destruction.

Re:Capitalism (3, Insightful)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#31774846)

Maybe not yet, but what about when time goes by and they grow? You know, USA is far from China's only trading partner. Their products are shipped everywhere in the world. When they've stable enough, and if they have enough political/economic reason to do so, why you think they will keep supporting US?

Re:Capitalism (2, Insightful)

iserlohn (49556) | more than 4 years ago | (#31774886)

China has the power to divert their trade surplus into domestic stimulus quite successfully, and the great recession of the industrialized nations is barely felt.

Ironically, the only thing keeping China back right now is its giant foreign reserves from the trade surplus. If the US dollar collapsed, that would mean trillions in losses and problems in keeping the Yuan stable. Once they solve this problem, its a new world order, and it's only a matter of time.

Re:Capitalism (1)

Diagoras (859063) | more than 4 years ago | (#31774930)

Taiwan is dependent on American military protection, and are some of the most fanatical allies we have.

Also, our manufacturing output is going up. I don't know why Slashdot is obsessed with our growing worker productivity.

http://blog.american.com/?p=12330 [american.com]

Re:Capitalism (2, Insightful)

NotBornYesterday (1093817) | more than 4 years ago | (#31774198)

That's a nice space program you've got there. It would be a shame if anything should happen to it.

Re:Capitalism (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31774288)

That's a nice space program you've got there. It would be a shame if anything should happen to it.

Oh yes, the USA way of dealing with things.

In Soviet Russia... (3, Insightful)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 4 years ago | (#31774294)

Rocket rides YOU!

Re:Capitalism (1)

BubbaDave (1352535) | more than 4 years ago | (#31774398)

No, the way any (The US, the chicoms, the old tsarist russia, communist russia, and the emerging russian thugarchy) state entity handles things when they believe there is no possibility of retribution.

Dave

Re:Capitalism (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 4 years ago | (#31774798)

First in space, first satellite, first man in space, first orbit, first woman in space, first probes on Venus and Mars, first space station--not bad for a bunch of thugs, eh comrade?

Re:Capitalism (1)

MarbleMunkey (1495379) | more than 4 years ago | (#31774834)

No, the way any (The US, the chicoms, the old tsarist russia, communist russia, and the emerging russian thugarchy) state entity handles things when they believe there is no possibility of retribution.

I'm very thankful that Rush Limbaugh decided his sheeple needed their own vocabulary. It provides early warning signs so I know when to stop paying attention to someone.

"Chicom" indeed!

Re:Capitalism (1)

BubbaDave (1352535) | more than 4 years ago | (#31774938)

Actually, "Chicom" is a very old term that was used to distinguish between the Chinese Communist rebels and the KMT nationalists.

Now, I find it a convenient way to the mainlanders now that there are 'two chinas'.

I think even a minimal amount of critical thinking applied to what I said would clearly indicate I'm not a Rusher, nor a Becker, nor a hannity-ite.

Dave

Re:Capitalism (1)

NotBornYesterday (1093817) | more than 4 years ago | (#31774450)

Uh, no, other way around. Russia is in a position to harm our space program, and is extor^h^h^h^h^h repricing accordingly.

Re:Capitalism (1)

rock_climbing_guy (630276) | more than 4 years ago | (#31774716)

Seriously, am I the only one sitting here thinking, "Thanks, Obama for your generous budget slashing our manned space program"?

Re:Capitalism (2, Insightful)

NotBornYesterday (1093817) | more than 4 years ago | (#31774780)

No.

Re:Capitalism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31774202)

Indeed, this shows what happens when there is only provider in a market. Kind of like broadband service in much of the US.

In other news (2, Funny)

SgtChaireBourne (457691) | more than 4 years ago | (#31774454)

In other news, the dollar has dropped in value on the exchange market and foreign providers have been forced to double their prices to make up the difference.

Re:Capitalism (1)

Rational (1990) | more than 4 years ago | (#31774502)

You can't accuse them of not being quick on the uptake, that's for sure...

Re:Capitalism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31774872)

My thoughts exactly. Any policymaker who didn't see this coming is a fucking idiot. I guess economics is no longer required course material in high school, much less college. There's a real opportunity here for a private company who can successfully transport people and objects into low-earth orbit. I know the administration is banking on that possibility, but the government really should have invested more heavily in encouraging a private space flight industry a decade ago.

Interesting question would be, (4, Interesting)

dragisha (788) | more than 4 years ago | (#31774038)

What does it cost with Shuttle?

Re:Interesting question would be, (1)

mcvos (645701) | more than 4 years ago | (#31774066)

What does it cost with Shuttle?

Probably a lot more. I can't believe the Shuttle would be cheaper than Soyuz.

Re:Interesting question would be, (3, Informative)

mcvos (645701) | more than 4 years ago | (#31774158)

A figured I'd better google some numbers. Wikipedia says $60 million or $1.3 billion per launch, depending on how you calculate it [wikipedia.org] . Nasa says $450 million per launch [nasa.gov] . NASA's figure is more expensive than Soyuz for 6 astronauts. Wikipedia's low end figure is obviously a lot cheaper (and kind of hard to believe).

Re:Interesting question would be, (4, Informative)

damburger (981828) | more than 4 years ago | (#31774272)

Don't forget to add in 25t of cargo launched alongside the crew (so no rendezvous needed for a crew+cargo mission). Furthermore, the shuttle payload bay is BIG and can accommodate payloads too large for any other currently flying vehicle.

Re:Interesting question would be, (1)

Original Replica (908688) | more than 4 years ago | (#31774928)

Wasn't building the ISS, the driving force behind the shuttle's size? The shuttle is basically a pickup truck. The Soyuz is an ISS commuter compact.

Figure 450 million per shuttle launch (4, Informative)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 4 years ago | (#31774122)

http://www.nasa.gov/centers/kennedy/about/information/shuttle_faq.html [nasa.gov]

Funny how it was cheaper to fly as a paid passenger than astronaut.

Re:Figure 450 million per shuttle launch (1)

sourcerror (1718066) | more than 4 years ago | (#31774404)

Passangers wouldn't pay 50 million. It's called market segmentation.

Re:Interesting question would be, (1)

value_added (719364) | more than 4 years ago | (#31774126)

Somewhere in the range of $0 to $312,421.24, before adjusting for inflation and whatnot?

Re:Interesting question would be, (4, Informative)

peragrin (659227) | more than 4 years ago | (#31774162)

It is variable. The shuttle launches 7 not 3 people however the shuttle can also carry literally tons of cargo too something that requires multiple launches with russias design. It is why NASA built the iss. Launching the components is cheaper and more can bedone in any given section with the shuttle.

So for transporting just new people Soyuz isthe way to go. You needto expand the station the shuttle isbetter

 

Re:Interesting question would be, (1)

FlyingBishop (1293238) | more than 4 years ago | (#31774200)

Just looking at the cargo is deceptive, because it ignores the cost of re-entry. You're still paying shuttle prices for re-entry even though all that actually needs to come down is 7 astronauts, which would be done far more cheaply with a few Soyuz capsules, and the equipment could go up on rockets that don't need to come back down.

So while the shuttle is probably about 10 million dollars more expensive for people, a proper heavy lifter would probably be far cheaper for equipment (never mind that we don't have such a heavy lifter, but it's still evidence that the shuttle needs to go away.)

Re:Interesting question would be, (1)

Smallpond (221300) | more than 4 years ago | (#31774330)

Just looking at the cargo is deceptive, because it ignores the cost of re-entry. You're still paying shuttle prices for re-entry even though all that actually needs to come down is 7 astronauts,

I would pay a lot for the hang glider re-entry method.

Re:Interesting question would be, (1)

damburger (981828) | more than 4 years ago | (#31774298)

Or if you want to send a repair mission, or retrieve something from space, or send crew and cargo in one shot (instead of a complicated rendezvous, and two launches nearly at the same time which is not trivial). You could even assemble a Mars ship with the Shuttle. It isn't the Shuttle's fault that its capabilities were never really capitalized upon.

Re:Interesting question would be, (2, Insightful)

SharpFang (651121) | more than 4 years ago | (#31774556)

...still, with about $500mln per shuttle launch, I think dollar for dollar, russians would have a better perspective on achieving this all.

The basic problem with the shuttle is that it's a big, heavy vehicle, many tons of dead weight that need to be launched into the orbit. The russian rockets in final phase of the flight weight very little compared to the payload. They don't haul heavy-duty engines necessary for startup, landing gear, wings, and all that stuff that is not needed in the orbit. That means hauling 10 tons of cargo in 10 runs by russians will be still cheaper than hauling all the 10 tons in one run by a shuttle.

Re:Interesting question would be, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31774770)

It was $500M per launch (conservatively) back in 1993. Payloads matter in the costs greatly. Some crews are 6 people and others are 14 (red/blue).

The big thing is that Russia has learned capitalism and knows that the US is effectively without a man-rated launch vehicle. The US government doesn't understand capitalism since most of the people in government have never worked in the "real world." They made (or allowed) decisions that left the country in a lurch without a suitable launch vehicle to support and supply the space station that we paid more than 50% for. Genius.

Go Russia!

We all know that NASA is a welfare program, but at least we get something for our money and get the national pride of accomplishment. BTW, I sucked from that teat for 7 yrs. The way that budgets are set is crazy. NASA has zero control over their funding and can't really commit to any long term plans when political leaders change priorities on a whim.

Obvious Question (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31774044)

How much did they pay with the shuttle, per astonaut?

Re:Obvious Question (4, Informative)

sycodon (149926) | more than 4 years ago | (#31774106)

About $75 Million [nasa.gov] ($450 Million per launch)

Re:Obvious Question (0, Troll)

Animaether (411575) | more than 4 years ago | (#31774620)

How much did they pay with the shuttle, per astonaut?

About $75 Million ($450 Million per launch)i>Q. How much does it cost to launch a Space Shuttle?
A. The average cost to launch a Space Shuttle is about $450 million per mission

That's not the answer to the question, then.

If it costs $450M/launch, and you presume it has a crew of 6 (some had 5, some had 7), and you suggest it costs $75/astronaut... then sending up an empty shuttle would cost $0, naught, nil, nothing, be free, etc.?

So.. who wants to give the original question another stab?

Re:Obvious Question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31774710)

Cost per astronaut = ($450M)/X, where X is a non-negative integer less than, say, 20 for pactical purposes.

Cost of launching an empty shuttle is infinite, but then nobody is going to do that, so it's a reasonable approximation.

Twit.

Re:Obvious Question (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 4 years ago | (#31774734)

That doesn't include fixed costs. After 2011, the Shuttle, if it continues to fly, would fly about two times a year. That ends up being a price of more than a billion dollars per Shuttle flight. Hence, to put six astronauts up there at one time is somewhere above 165 million dollars.

Re:Obvious Question (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 4 years ago | (#31774148)

The average cost to launch a Space Shuttle is about $450 million per mission.

7 seats = $64M/seat.
6 seats = $75M/seat.

The shuttle can actually seat 10 in rescue configuration but never has, thankfully.

Re:Obvious Question (1)

Mushdot (943219) | more than 4 years ago | (#31774248)

I wonder if it's cheaper for standing only?

Re:Obvious Question (2, Interesting)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 4 years ago | (#31774314)

There's a "ride" at the Cape where you get into a pressurized module in the cargo bay of a mockup shuttle and they rattle you around a bit. It's not fun, but I'm sure its educational or something. Anyway, it's actual size, 15 ft by 60 ft (4.6 m by 18.3 m), they cram about 80 people into it. Even the fattest Americans, who can fit in the seats, wouldn't overmass the shuttle. There's no reason they couldn't actually make this module and take that many people into space.. but of course, NASA would never do that.

Re:Obvious Question (3, Funny)

Green Salad (705185) | more than 4 years ago | (#31774430)

So...this would be NASA's version of how many people can you cram in to a Volkswagon?

Re:Obvious Question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31774978)

Since the shuttle also launches cargo along with 7 astronauts you need to adjust for that also.

shuttle launch is $450 million
satellite launch ranges from $50 to $400 million

Based off of those numbers from NASA the cost per seat ranges from $7 million to $57 million. But that is based on only 1 satellite being launched from the cargo bay when it can hold multiple. Would be nice to know what the cost to launch the shuttle based upon cargo weight. Especially since the pieces launched for ISS weigh more than a satellite and would've cost more than a launch for a typical satellite. We just need to keep the shuttle going until something better and more versatile is built.

Nothing to see here. (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31774046)

Prices go up when competition declines. Shock and horror expressed by those ignorant of basic economics. Film at 11.

Old News (4, Informative)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 4 years ago | (#31774052)

Re:Old News (2)

Professor_UNIX (867045) | more than 4 years ago | (#31774116)

This is NOT old news. If you had bothered to read the article it already mentioned that NASA agreed in 2009 to pay up to $51 million for a seat, but this is a NEW agreement as of Tuesday for $55.8 million per seat.

Re:Old News (4, Informative)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 4 years ago | (#31774176)

They agreed to pay $51 million adjusted for inflation.. the seats are for the 2012-2013 timeframe because they've already signed at this price last year - another reason why this is old news.

Simple economics (1)

drachenfyre (550754) | more than 4 years ago | (#31774062)

Supply vs. Demand curve. It's economics 101. There is less supply to meet demand thanks to Obama gutting NASA. And considering the only other market provider is China, we've effectively given Russia a monopoly.

Re:Simple economics (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 4 years ago | (#31774100)

Well, that and they've had to increase production because now there's more demand.

More costs, higher prices.

Re:Simple economics (3, Informative)

Shugart (598491) | more than 4 years ago | (#31774120)

Can't blame this one on Obama. The shuttle was to be retired with no replacement before Obama took office. He did gut the future of the space program though.

Re:Simple economics (1)

miffo.swe (547642) | more than 4 years ago | (#31774232)

I was going to write that just by reading the ingress. The US wanted the world to adopt capitalism and now it comes back and bites them hard once the world starts understanding it and how to manipulate it.

supply and demand (1)

secondhand_Buddah (906643) | more than 4 years ago | (#31774092)

Supply and demand baby. Supply and demand. We sure taught those commies well.

Re:supply and demand (2, Insightful)

Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) | more than 4 years ago | (#31774384)

We sure did...

Its too bad we're all demand and everyone else is the supply.

I think we failed our own economy by selling it out

Slippery Slope (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31774130)

Its just another round of outsourcing.

Soon the USA will be lacking cutting edge skills and capacity in hi-tech manufacturing, and won't be able to compete with India.

The UK dropped all that sort of stuff in the mid-60s and look at us now. We welcome the US to the third-rate Nations club!

Russia Doubles Price (1)

dwandy (907337) | more than 4 years ago | (#31774234)

26.3 x 2 = 55.8 ...nothing's going to fly with that kind of math.

Re:Slippery Slope (1)

AhNewBis (42974) | more than 4 years ago | (#31774480)

Once India's space program takes off maybe we can outsource our space exploration there, too.

Demand and supply! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31774138)

So reduce the demand. Stop supporting the ISS and take it down as planned. Why not?

It's hugely expensive (in the scheme of science funding), and we'll get a much better ROI on other investments. The intellectual rewards of science done on the ISS (what little there is) aren't great. Better to spend the money on terrestrial science, other satellite based experiments, robots, or even NEW kinds of manned exploration.

Just because we spend a boatload of money to build it doesn't mean we should waste more.

Will Russia be happy to lose one of their remaining prestige points in space?

 

Re:Demand and supply! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31774388)

Are you kidding? This is a terrible market to sell. It may be a great location, but it only has one bathroom and no garage. Plus they plan on leaving a shuttle up on concrete blocks outside.

Hope they can afford to get them home too (1)

Bearded Frog (1562519) | more than 4 years ago | (#31774166)

Thats like NASA's entire yearly budget right there these days. Well at least whatever they have left after having to waste so much on manbearpig investigations.

Why the hell does it cost so much to reach orbit? (0, Troll)

Turzyx (1462339) | more than 4 years ago | (#31774188)

Seriously? $55.8 million for a single seat? And that's value for money compared to launching a shuttle?

Hear me out for a minute... the rocket is just going straight up, what's so hard? Just strap a sealed chamber onto a grain silo of fuel, surely? Are you telling me that if I had the best part of $60 million I couldn't design, build and fly my own rocket in to space? Even a brute force solution wouldn't be that expense, surely?

Re:Why the hell does it cost so much to reach orbi (1)

NotBornYesterday (1093817) | more than 4 years ago | (#31774224)

... and stop calling me Shirley.

Re:Why the hell does it cost so much to reach orbi (3, Informative)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 4 years ago | (#31774246)

the rocket is just going straight up, what's so hard?

No, it's not.

Are you telling me that if I had the best part of $60 million I couldn't design, build and fly my own rocket in to space?

Elon Musk has spent a good part of a billion so far, has some of the brightest minds in the world working for him, and that's the cheapest *anyone* has developed a launcher for so far.

Just strap a sealed chamber onto a grain silo of fuel, surely?

Good luck with that.

Re:Why the hell does it cost so much to reach orbi (1)

gzipped_tar (1151931) | more than 4 years ago | (#31774666)

I agree, but meanwhile the GP's rocket has already gone *whoosh* into orbit...

Re:Why the hell does it cost so much to reach orbi (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 4 years ago | (#31774864)

Oh, he's not going to build the space elevator first? Or use nanotech microengines?

Re:Why the hell does it cost so much to reach orbi (5, Insightful)

SharpFang (651121) | more than 4 years ago | (#31774702)

essentially - yes.
There are serious problems. Like, the engines are running a sustained explosion of hydrogen-oxygen mix, which produces temperature quite a bit higher than anything we have at our disposal could survive. It's pretty much only the shape that keeps the explosion far enough to be safe. Oxygen oxidizes everything it touches for prolonged time, hydrogen leaks through thinnest gaps deemed secure normally. Add stability - like ballancing a broom vertically on top of your finger, the unstabilized rocket will happily fly DOWN. Control acceleration - you could easily bring astronauts to orbit in half the time and quite a bit less fuel, except they would have to be scooped with a spoon from the rocket. Your "grain silo" has walls that aren't much thicker than alufoil, and can be easily pierced with a pencil, but it holds liquid hydrogen at room temperature. Check what pressure is liquid hydrogen at room temperature.

When you start adding it up, and especially if you add up all the -failed- tests before you get things right, you come up with much more than $60mln.

Re:Why the hell does it cost so much to reach orbi (1)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 4 years ago | (#31774508)

Hehehe.

Start looking into what is involved. Look for twang, max-q, etc.

Realize also that the Saturn V rockets could gimble somewhat to maintain stability.

Re:Why the hell does it cost so much to reach orbi (4, Informative)

Smallpond (221300) | more than 4 years ago | (#31774558)

Problem 1 - the burning fuel is hotter than the melting point of the engines.

Problem 2 - the engines have to run at sea level and in a vacuum.

Problem 3 - flying through atmosphere at 2000 MPH

Problem 4 - getting down

Get back to me after you think you have those solved cheaply and safely.

Re:Why the hell does it cost so much to reach orbi (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31774676)

>Problem 4 - getting down

Piece of cake. Oh, you mean getting down SAFELY... "Remember, it's not the fall, it's the sudden stop..."

Re:Why the hell does it cost so much to reach orbi (2, Insightful)

Vectormatic (1759674) | more than 4 years ago | (#31774742)

Problem 2 - the engines have to run at sea level and in a vacuum.

If you plan on SSTO, then yes, you will either end up with a horribly un-optimized exhaust manifold design, or with variable geometry manifolds (or aerospikes or whatever). If however, you do multi-stage to orbit (like most conventional launchers), you simply optimize the first stage engine for sea level up to 20 miles (or whatever the hell the cut off point is for stage 1), and stage 2's engine can be optimized for 20 miles and up.

The shuttle is pretty much the only vehicle i can think off with liquid fuel engines running both at sea level and in actual space, and it cheats by using SRBs and dumping its fueltank

The problem still stands though, there is a reason we have actual rocket scientists, because it is frickin hard, especially if you want something where the risk of loss of life is acceptably low to todays society (which is rather hypocritical in that respect)

Re:Why the hell does it cost so much to reach orbi (2, Funny)

krou (1027572) | more than 4 years ago | (#31774708)

"Just strap a sealed chamber onto a grain silo of fuel, surely?"

I'm sure I remember watching this film once where this guy and his dog - his name was Grummit or something - managed to build this pretty cool rocket that ignited using a fuse. It was a bit old fashioned, but it seemed like a really cheap way to get to the moon. They didn't look like millionaires, and they seemed to have built it just using a saw, some metal, and a few household items, so I'm sure it can be done for a lot less than $60m. I think they managed to harvest a lot of cheese from the surface, too, so there could be an exciting business opportunity there for you. If I recall, the film also showed their design plans for this rocket, so perhaps watch it and copy it. Good luck!

Re:Why the hell does it cost so much to reach orbi (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31774796)

While you are oversimplifying things a bit, I do think you have a point. It is not the technical challenges that are so expensive. I believe Elon Musk himself has commented on how the regulatory requirements (Clearances, Insurance, Inspections, Approvals, Launch Site leases, ect) are just as expensive, if not more so, than the development and construction of the craft. The space shuttle for example, I have heard estimates that it only costs 40-60 Million to refurbish the shuttle for launch (Parts, fuel, External Tank), the rest of the 800-950 Million are Security personnel, Employee salaries, Insurance, support personnel (thousands of them), site maintenance, building maintenance, retrieval ships, emergency services, administrative, ect that are tacked on. The problem is, as I believe it often is in our country, is the bureaucracy.

Private contractors? (1)

Kirin Fenrir (1001780) | more than 4 years ago | (#31774190)

Well, if any private up-and-comers can offer a better price with comparable reliability, they have a perfect opportunity.

How's that Falcon-9 coming along? I'm sure people won't object to "buying American" space travel rather than paying out to another country. It's bad for the economy and national pride.

Re:Private contractors? (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 4 years ago | (#31774216)

How's that Falcon-9 coming along?

It's 3 months away ;)

Re:Private contractors? (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | more than 4 years ago | (#31774472)

How's that Falcon-9 coming along?

Last I heard, it's waiting on approval from the Air Force range safety people. Range Safety has to be satisfied that the launch abort system will work before Falcon-9 can launch.

Once that happens, they can launch whenever there's an appropriate launch window.

Here's hoping the Air Force will get off the dime soon....

Note, however, that Dragon is not man-rated yet. This is purely the cargo version of the vehicle.

Re:Private contractors? (1)

CraftyJack (1031736) | more than 4 years ago | (#31774670)

Well, if any private up-and-comers can offer a better price with comparable reliability, they have a perfect opportunity.

Seriously. This is good news for SpaceX.

Refund? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31774218)

What if the kill the astronaut? Do we get a refund?

Re:Refund? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31774348)

What if the kill the astronaut? Do we get a refund?

The contract never mentioned in what condition to return the astronauts back to sender.

In Soviet Russia capitalism owns YOU. (0)

frinkacheese (790787) | more than 4 years ago | (#31774278)

But I bet they don't loose their luggage....

Re:In Soviet Russia capitalism owns YOU. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31774444)

lose, damn it!

Price for a launch? how much to come back down (1)

petes_PoV (912422) | more than 4 years ago | (#31774332)

ISTM the russians would be in a much stronger bargaining position to make the journey up free. Then, once the americans are up there, to open the bidding on the price to bring them back down. After all, with no viable alternative means of getting people there, it's now basically their space station.

strange brew that's also good for you (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31774342)

That would be Kombucha.

Could've been swapping moon seats (3, Interesting)

Frankenshteen (1355339) | more than 4 years ago | (#31774360)

If USA hadn't canceled the constellation program, the perception of exclusivity for Russia would be diminished, and USA would have a big shiny carrot to barter some short term help with.

Re:Could've been swapping moon seats (2, Interesting)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 4 years ago | (#31774478)

If the "moon program" had been designed as an international partnership from the beginning, with each nation focusing on the capabilities they actually have instead of stuff that they might have after pouring $9billion down the drain, Russia could have been flying the crew to orbit for free with the US supplying the heavy lift to take them beyond LEO. But no, Griffin had to go with his shockingly bad plan to put an overweight capsule on a solid rocket booster with an air-startable SSME (that doesn't exist btw) as an upper stage, followed by two redesigns in mid-stream, including the creation of a new solid rocket booster, completely defeating the purpose of using a solid in the first place. And after spending enough money to fund nearly 50 COTS programs they flew a big bottle rocket into the ocean. Is it any wonder why they canceled it?

Can I apply for a discount ? (1)

ctrl-alt-canc (977108) | more than 4 years ago | (#31774412)

I am the cardholder of an ISS frequent-flyer card.

Disgraceful! (2, Interesting)

IWantMoreSpamPlease (571972) | more than 4 years ago | (#31774434)

We lead the space race, put men on the moon, landers on Mars, explored the furthest reaches of our system, made huge technological breakthroughs via the space race and now we're reduced to begging for rides from the commies?

What the hell is going on with our country?!

Re:Disgraceful! (3, Insightful)

miffo.swe (547642) | more than 4 years ago | (#31774554)

The moment US decided to go for the shuttle the game was over. Form over function is ok for household gadgets but not for space exploration.

The US had did have the best launch system and just tossed it aside because it was more cool with a rocket with a bolted on hip looking spacecraft.

beating the commies to the moon (2, Insightful)

viralMeme (1461143) | more than 4 years ago | (#31774642)

The US got side tracked with the Apollo project and putting a man on the moon before the commies. If they continued developmental on the X-15 [wikipedia.org] , then we may have had a reliable space plane a lot sooner.

Re:Disgraceful! (4, Insightful)

turgid (580780) | more than 4 years ago | (#31774570)

What the hell is going on with our country?!

You gave up to chase stock markets instead.

Re:Disgraceful! (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31774624)

We lead the space race, put men on the moon, landers on Mars, explored the furthest reaches of our system, made huge technological breakthroughs via the space race and now we're reduced to begging for rides from the commies?

What the hell is going on with our country?!

Yep. America lead the space race.
1st earth creature in space: Russian Dog.
1st person in space: Yuri Gagarin (Russian).
1st person to orbit earth: Yuri Gagarin (Russian, same mission).
1st woman in space: Valentina Tereshkova (Russian)
1st space walk: Alexei Leonov (Russian)
1st man on the moon: Neil Armstrong (American)

After 5 space firsts by the Russians, America finally beat them to something: the moon.

1st space station: Salyut 1 (Russian)

Re:Disgraceful! (1)

Rocketship Underpant (804162) | more than 4 years ago | (#31774762)

Spending trillions of dollars killing brown people gives your politicians bigger hard-ons.

Re:Disgraceful! (2, Informative)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 4 years ago | (#31774854)

Led the space race? You mean like how you dragged ass way behind the Soviets from 1957-1967? You have a funny definition of "leading."

Re:Disgraceful! (0)

khallow (566160) | more than 4 years ago | (#31774898)

You do realize that there's more than 40 years since 1967, don't you?

What does it cost to fill the seat? (1)

findoutmoretoday (1475299) | more than 4 years ago | (#31774514)

We get the price of the seat,  what does it cost to the NASA to set an astronaut into that seat?  The NASA budget / 6 ?

R&D Fail (1)

Adustust (1650351) | more than 4 years ago | (#31774604)

It's no wonder we can't make much progress in space when it costs so much just to barely get there. Where are our space elevators?!

Only double??? (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 4 years ago | (#31774692)

Any other self respecting capitalist nation would have used multiples of ten...

might be a steal for the US (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 4 years ago | (#31774824)

If the US pays in dollars, the US might be getting a great deal due to inflation. There's going to be a lot of wild stuff between now and 2014 IMHO.

Here's to you, Sergey! (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 4 years ago | (#31774906)

Somewhere out there, Sergey Korolyov [wikipedia.org] must be having a chuckle over this one.
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