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Russian Resupply Crash Could Mean Leaving ISS Empty

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the needs-a-good-cat-sitter dept.

ISS 291

astroengine writes "In the wake of the Russian Progress vehicle crash shortly after launch on Aug. 24, a chain of events has been set into motion that could result in the decision not to fly astronauts into orbit. If this happens, the ISS will be temporarily mothballed before the end of the year to avoid landing astronauts during the harsh Kazakh winter."

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Oh if only (4, Funny)

discord5 (798235) | more than 3 years ago | (#37233578)

Oh if only some other nation had something spaceworthy... Like a shuttle or so...

Re:Oh if only (4, Insightful)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 3 years ago | (#37233764)

At this point, it would take about 2 years to restart the shuttle program. When W killed it, much of the production lines were shut down. So, at this point, it would costs BILLIONS to restart the problem.

However, private space is about to have 2 different cargo systems ready shortly. In addition, it is possible that either ATV or HTV can be speed up. However, my gut feeling says that Russia will launch within a month, successfully. Issues solved for this issue.

What is needed is not the cargo, but human launchers ASAP. Now, a number of neo-cons have been pushing to give 10's of billion MORE Than the 20 billion that it appears that it will take. They claim that it would then be done quicker. HOWEVER, the current timeline for the 70 tonne rocket says that it will be ready in 2022. Adding the 10 billion MAY shave a couple of years off that. Hey, being optimistic, you might get it out the door in 2018. IOW, this is a typical neo-cons scenario of pump/dump money into a project that can not be afforded but they want for a jobs bill for themselves.

OTH, CCDev is expected to have 3-4 crafts by 2015 (starting in late 2013/early 2014). Of course, that assume the 3/4 billion from the next CCDev bid. However the same ppl from above are working hard to block this. HOWEVER, it is possible that jumping the amount from .75 to say 2 billion, MIGHT get the first system ready by early 2013, perhaps late 2012. But getting the neo-cons to allocate, well, that is a different matter.

Re:Oh if only (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37234008)

At this point, it would take about 2 years to restart the shuttle program. When W killed it, much of the production lines were shut down. So, at this point, it would costs BILLIONS to restart the problem.

Are you really so hopelessly brainwashed that someone OTHER than Obama killed it in your deluded little mind?

Re:Oh if only (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37234264)

The space shuttle program was canceled back in 2004 by president Bush. See his vision for space exploration [nasa.gov] . It had a number of goals, including cancelling the space shuttle, and developing a new Crew Exploration Vehicle by 2008. The cancellation of the shuttle occurred on schedule and was already a fait accompli when Obama took office. The other goals of the 'vision' Bush had have not been accomplished (the ISS is finished construction, but that was in the cards without his 'vision'), so his plan basically amounted to cancelling the shuttle without anything domestic to replace it with.

Re:Oh if only (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 3 years ago | (#37234708)

The other goals of the 'vision' Bush had have not been accomplished (the ISS is finished construction, but that was in the cards without his 'vision'), so his plan basically amounted to cancelling the shuttle without anything domestic to replace it with.

Only because NASA couldn't develop a capsule in four years; which SpaceX are doing for far less than the amount of money that NASA were given.

Re:Oh if only (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37234026)

restart the problem.

freudian?

More stuff (1)

zoomshorts (137587) | more than 3 years ago | (#37234028)

"At this point, it would take about 2 years to restart the shuttle program." Precisely. Normal re-supply is difficult enough and perhaps getting the astronauts/cosmonauts need rescued before politics and economics end up stranding these people forever.

No prior planning was done it seems.

Re:Oh if only (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37234056)

However, private space is about to have 2 different cargo systems ready shortly. In addition, it is possible that either ATV or HTV can be speed up.

Can someone explain to me why Lockheed Martin isn't considered "private"?

Re:Oh if only (2, Insightful)

trout007 (975317) | more than 3 years ago | (#37234286)

Since I have been working at KSC during this whole mess I'll give my perspectIve. Bush did set the end date for the last shuttle launch. He then outlined the VSE and Griffen came up with the Constellation program. The problem is Bush's lack of leadership in getting the funding to get it done. It would have taken maybe 5 billion more a year which we would rather spend in Mideast wars.

When Obama came in he had a choice. Get more funding to get constellation going, restart the shuttle components production to eliminate a gap, or trash everything and wait for commercial space to come up to speed. He chose the third option.

So while Bush started the cancellation of the shuttle program Obama could have easily reversed it.

Re:Oh if only (2)

obarthelemy (160321) | more than 3 years ago | (#37234464)

As you say, the money was spent in wars. I doubt obama could have stopped those with the flick of a switch once they had been started ?

Re:Oh if only (4, Insightful)

strack (1051390) | more than 3 years ago | (#37234580)

the shuttle was a bad design. it needed to die a merciful death. as did the frankenshuttle derived constellation program.

Re:Oh if only (4, Insightful)

0123456 (636235) | more than 3 years ago | (#37234692)

Since I have been working at KSC during this whole mess I'll give my perspectIve. Bush did set the end date for the last shuttle launch. He then outlined the VSE and Griffen came up with the Constellation program. The problem is Bush's lack of leadership in getting the funding to get it done.

Uh, no.

The problem is that NASA designed a program that would cost far more than the government was willing to give them.

If they'd built a Dragon-style capsule and put it on top of an Atlas or Delta, they'd probably have it in operation by now. Instead they wanted to build a capsule the size of a hotel and two new launchers of their own to launch it. Since the Apollo era NASA has often acted as though they have an infinite budget and then whined when their expensive plans get cancelled because there's no money for them.

Re:Oh if only (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37234702)

which goes against Wayne Hale's very definitive statement that the supply chain being shut down was essentially the death nail in the coffin. Yes it would have been possible, but it was NOT practical, and it definitely wasn't easy as a lot of the contract vendors were 'mom & pop' companies that basically closed up after their contracts were ended.

Re:Oh if only (1)

slick7 (1703596) | more than 3 years ago | (#37233982)

Oh if only some other nation had something spaceworthy... Like a shuttle or so...

It's bad enough when our own program fails, but to leave it to an outside program to fail really sucks since there is no insurance on the failure, just money gone

Is that bad? (-1, Troll)

axlrosen (88070) | more than 3 years ago | (#37233600)

The ISS, and manned spaceflight in general, is a pointless waste of money. Not a troll, just a (well-justified) opinion.

Re:Is that bad? (1)

dwhitaker (1500855) | more than 3 years ago | (#37233638)

The ISS, and manned spaceflight in general, is a pointless waste of money. Not a troll, just a (well-justified) opinion.

Would you care to share this justification? I am quite curious.

Re:Is that bad? (3)

cynyr (703126) | more than 3 years ago | (#37233972)

Humans need life support, robot do not.

I do not agree with the GP, but this is the usual reason.

If we are going to colonize a new planet at some point we will need to know how to get humans to this new planet. Practicing in earth orbit for how to keep humans alive and healthy in low || 0 G environments is useful science. About the only way i can see to test long term effects is to actually do the tests in a real low G environment with real people.

Re:Is that bad? (2)

Sperbels (1008585) | more than 3 years ago | (#37234108)

. Practicing in earth orbit for how to keep humans alive and healthy in low || 0 G environments is useful science. About the only way i can see to test long term effects is to actually do the tests in a real low G environment with real people.

0G = bad stuff. If we were really interested in colonization and establishing a presence in space, we would have built a spinning space station with artificial gravity. That's the only way we'll be able to endure long stays in space.

Re:Is that bad? (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 3 years ago | (#37234616)

Practicing in earth orbit for how to keep humans alive and healthy in 0 G environments is useful science.

The day when we'll need to put humans in 0 G for any length of time is hundreds of years away...doctors in that year will laugh at these primitive experiments.

Right now the ISS is a giant Albatross around the neck of NASA.

Why not change people to adapt them to space? (1)

PeterM from Berkeley (15510) | more than 3 years ago | (#37234654)

Let's face it, people aren't very good for survival in space.

We can't take much radiation,
we can't take low G,
we must have air, food, water
we can't take low temperature (or high!)
we don't live long enough to get anywhere in one lifetime at attainable speeds

Space is just irrevocably hostile to human life as we are now.

If we weren't meat-bags anymore, but rather something more durable, say, solid state based on silicon, we'd be way better adapted for space. Yes, we'll be very different, but the galaxy will be ours.

--PM

some justification: (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37234116)

1) http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/14505278/ns/technology_and_science-space/t/whats-cost-space-station/ puts the total cost of the ISS between 35 and 100 billion.

According to wikipedia, the following costs to build:
LHC: $10 billion
hubble telescope: $6 billion
NIH annual budget: $31 billion
NSF annual budget: $6.7 billion

How many scientific papers has research on the ISS produced?

2)
John Carmack, a space flight enthusiast, stated at Quakecon 2011 that NASA does not deliver much value.

also: Steven Weinberg said:
"Human beings don't serve any useful function in space," "They radiate heat, they're very expensive to keep alive and unlike robotic missions, they have a natural desire to come back, so that anything involving human beings is enormously expensive."

Re:Is that bad? (2)

navtal (943711) | more than 3 years ago | (#37233640)

In the face of money spent on financial disasters and wars your comment seems a bit less then "well-justified".

Re:Is that bad? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37233788)

You cannot justify a bad investment by point to an even worse investment. I cannot comment on the ISS and whether the money is well spent... but your comparison is invalid.

Re:Is that bad? (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 3 years ago | (#37234160)

Actually you can. That's how you fix things. You have two bills to pay, a $5000 bill costing you 30% interest per year, or a $2000 bill costing you 2% interest per year. You have limited funds. Which bill do you pay off first...

While the above was an analogy, in the case of government (mis)spending, which program do you cancel/fix first?

Re:Is that bad? (2)

h5inz (1284916) | more than 3 years ago | (#37234514)

Dunbal-"Actually you can." (... justify a bad investment by point to an even worse investment.) By bad investment he might have meant an investment with a negative overall outcome, which really shouldn't happen at all. How about something that actually isn't bad investment at all then? Like an investment into the search for alternative energy sources? Through the global economy it would make even the space flight cheaper, not to mention that it would also solve many other problems, like the next big problem - material production crisis (think about bauxite or silicon for example) and give rise to a new economic fluctuation (so that some "economic geniuses" could throw away their "communists were actually right about capitalism" thesis and concentrate on another stupid theory far from reality). Ok , now I went a bit off topic, but I am not going to delete it either. Thank you.

did not talk about Iraq or bailout (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37233902)

He didn't state support for Iraq or the financial bailout.

Re:Is that bad? (3, Insightful)

gcnaddict (841664) | more than 3 years ago | (#37233650)

So basically, you're saying that spreading away from a ball on which humanity would otherwise forever be trapped is a total waste of money?

Ensuring the continuity of life on Earth is a waste of money?

Re:Is that bad? (1)

SquirrelDeth (1972694) | more than 3 years ago | (#37233686)

Spreading to where? Last I checked there were no M-class planets nearby.

Re:Is that bad? (1)

Grygus (1143095) | more than 3 years ago | (#37233746)

"Nearby" is a relative term. Your statement would seem to indicate that developing our space travel capabilities is not just a good idea, but ultimately necessary.

Re:Is that bad? (2)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 3 years ago | (#37234630)

There's no reason to think we'll be sending humans other stars anytime in the near future.

Before we can even think about it we need a whole new propulsion system. We could be working on that with the money we save by abandoning the ISS.

Re:Is that bad? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37233756)

Spreading to M-class planets that are far away, duh.

Re:Is that bad? (1)

S.O.B. (136083) | more than 3 years ago | (#37234208)

"Class M" is a fictional Star Trek term. I think what you meant to say is that there are no nearby planets in the habitable zone.

Re:Is that bad? (1)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | more than 3 years ago | (#37234246)

Incidentally, I'm pretty sure everyone's still fairly gung ho about terraforming Mars.

Re:Is that bad? (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 3 years ago | (#37234650)

... terraforming Mars.

a) With the current state of the world that's hundreds of years away at best. It would cost "billions and billions".
b) Gravity on Mars is nothing like gravity on the ISS.

Re:Is that bad? (1)

Sperbels (1008585) | more than 3 years ago | (#37234294)

"Class M" is a fictional Star Trek term. I think what you meant to say is that there are no nearby planets in the habitable zone

Mars is in the habitable zone. So is Venus. And seriously, is there anyone on this forum who doesn't know what Class M means?

Re:Is that bad? (2)

standbypowerguy (698339) | more than 3 years ago | (#37234586)

"Class M" is a fictional Star Trek term. I think what you meant to say is that there are no nearby planets in the habitable zone.

It's likely that "Class M" is more widely recognized than the scientific term "habitable zone". Even on Slashdot.

Re:Is that bad? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37233698)

You are not your species.

Re:Is that bad? (0)

grumbel (592662) | more than 3 years ago | (#37233842)

If you want to spread humanity to another planet you better invest in automatic probes that can survive a few hundreds of years long trip and that can bread and educate some new humans on arrival. Sending live humans through interstellar space isn't going to work anytime soon and even if it one day would, it would be a waste of money.

Re:Is that bad? (5, Insightful)

GospelHead821 (466923) | more than 3 years ago | (#37233954)

Your comment and others like it remind me of some wisdom gleaned from xkcd:
"The universe is probably littered with the one-planet graves of cultures which made the sensible economic decision that there's no good reason to go into space--each discovered, studied, and remembered by the ones who made the irrational decision."

Right now, our grasp of space exploration is still quite limited. In my opinion, the state of space exploration today is to its potential as alchemy was to modern chemistry. Nonetheless, alchemy represented the first baby steps toward real chemistry. I think that a lot of people recognize this and look at space exploration with the same disdain that they would an institute of alchemy. They key difference is that we don't do alchemy anymore because we outgrew it as it evolved into modern chemistry. Space exploration hasn't evolved into something useful and profitable yet but if we don't keep at it, it never will. (Note, I'm NOT equating space exploration with the ability to merely put things into orbit.)

Re:Is that bad? (1)

grumbel (592662) | more than 3 years ago | (#37234016)

Space exploration hasn't evolved into something useful and profitable yet but if we don't keep at it, it never will. (Note, I'm NOT equating space exploration with the ability to merely put things into orbit.)

There is nothing wrong with space exploration, in fact that is what we should do more of, but space exploration doesn't need humans, humans are nothing more then ballast that increases the cost and troubles. Just look at how far we have come. Human exploration has brought us to the moon, robotics probes on the other side are already flying outside the solar system.

Re:Is that bad? (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 3 years ago | (#37234198)

Both alchemy and modern chemistry are rigidly bound by the laws of thermodynamics. Not understanding or having a formula for the law does not mean that it isn't there imposing itself on everything you try to do.

Re:Is that bad? (2)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 3 years ago | (#37234686)

"The universe is probably littered with the one-planet graves of cultures which made the sensible economic decision that there's no good reason to go into space--each discovered, studied, and remembered by the ones who made the irrational decision."

There's sooooooooo much work to be done before we can think about going out into space. The ISS is a joke is this is its purpose... ...and it's funny how the stated purpose of the ISS keeps changing, it's almost as if it's got no real reason to exist!

Me? I say the ISS has done everything useful that it's going to do. Time to turn it into a museum for rich kids (who'll advance science much more by trying to get there than the ISS ever will).

Re:Is that bad? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37233662)

Waste of money? Is living out a meaningless existence without exploring our universe enough for you? What's the point of our civilization then? Are we seriously to sit here on earth and never even try to push the boundaries of what we're capable of?

Re:Is that bad? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37233912)

The question is whether putting humans in space is the best way to go about this - robotic probes can be much more capable than manned craft for a given price. If we are going to colonize something, we need better propulsion, more knowledge about the destination, etc. There will be no friendly natives to help feed starving colonists this time around, but if we can develop robotic means of producing food and shelter in advance of human arrival, we can create a suitable substitute. I don't know the merits of colonizing the Moon, Mars, or one of the moons in the outer system, but before we send humans there, we need a way to produce the food and energy they will need. Until we create that infrastructure, colonization remains a pipe dream.

Re:Is that bad? (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 3 years ago | (#37234240)

What's the point of our civilization then?

Who said there has to be a point? Look at my dog, curled up by my feet. She's happy, and she doesn't worry about her life having some sort of point. She lives for the moment and enjoys every day of her life. And one day she'll drop dead. We all will. And then what was the point, if you spent your whole life worrying about things you can't fix? Take care of the stuff you CAN fix. Just wishing the stars to be closer will not bring them closer. And I'm too old to believe in magic anymore. You would need magic to be able to 1) find and 2) reach a habitable world within the lifetime of the human race. And when you got there you would just fuck it up like we've fucked this one up.

Re:Is that bad? (1)

ZorinLynx (31751) | more than 3 years ago | (#37234442)

>Who said there has to be a point?

This is one of the most insightful things I've read in a long time.

So many people are worried about their existence having a "point". We need to relax and enjoy life a bit more.

Re:Is that bad? (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 3 years ago | (#37234696)

Waste of money? Is living out a meaningless existence without exploring our universe enough for you? What's the point of our civilization then? Are we seriously to sit here on earth and never even try to push the boundaries of what we're capable of?

a) How does the ISS help with that problem?
b) What's a realistic time frame for exploring the universe?

Re:Is that bad? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37233774)

I disagree. Manned spaceflight, true, should be superseded by space colonization. With a booming population, and declining natural resources, mankind has outgrown our native earth. We desperately need to get out there. What we need to stop, though, is considering space only the preserve of scientific experiment. We need to really go there. It's the only growth allowed us from now on (economic or otherwise). It will never be the uncontrolled growth of a human population apparently infinitely smaller than its home world allowed it to think was possible, but the only outlet left. It is psychologically important for a species that grew up in a conceptual and instinctive framework calling for growth.

The space program is one of the most important pieces for a constructive future. Of course, more of it should be targeted towards building permanent settlements and industry in space and extraterrestrial planetary bodies.

Re:Is that bad? (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 3 years ago | (#37233878)

And yet, you offer nothing of substance for your opinion, while the facts of manned spaceflight does. You ARE a troll.

To Dream: We're fat lazy bullies. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37233914)

This guy put it very succinctly. [nasawatch.com]

Right now, we Americans are money grubbing war mongering bullying little people who cling to past greatness like a middle aged ex-high school football star who thinks we still "got it".

We hear and approve of people who continue with our illusions of greatness and "American exceptionalism" and think that if we just believe the right way, everything will work out. Unfortunately, belief alone doesn't do anything - you have to do.

We've lost our ability to dream, to do, and to accomplish.

Re:Is that bad? (1)

slick7 (1703596) | more than 3 years ago | (#37233998)

The ISS, and manned spaceflight in general, is a pointless waste of money. Not a troll, just a (well-justified) opinion.

If it was against terrorism or for the children, you'd be all over it.
As to pointless, what about war?

Once mothballed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37233616)

Once a government project is mothballed, it becomes VERY difficult to get it going again.

If it happens don't expect the ISS to remain in orbit very long.

OH MY GOD!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37233654)

Where will our technology come from now?! We MUST establish a presence in our atmoshpere's low orbit to prove to the aliens we're smart!!!! This is VITAL STUFF!

Well that was neat. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37233702)

And the era of human spacetravel came to an end. Not from discovery or war or any disaster. But simple greed. Greed that says using our resources to take what others have or wasting those resources for entertainment are more important than the spread of the species.

Trapping us all on this tiny blue planet until the inevitable end comes.

So we wait for the next global disaster to wipe us all out in one swipe. Be it a germ, comet, meteor, pole shift, solar flare, gamma burst, supervolcano or the unwise use of technology itself.

Perhaps if another species arises on this planet it will be a little more intelligent and not keep all their stuff in one place.

It's ok tho. It seems to be a common mistake given the emptiness of the universe. So don't sweat it too much. Go have a beer and some fast food, sit down and watch tv. That's whats important after all.

well the old shuttle was getting old and the newer (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 3 years ago | (#37233776)

well the old shuttle was getting old and the newer spaceX stuff is now ready yet also Constellation was not going to be ready by 2011 any ways. If not for the Columbia disaster we may still be useing the shuttles to day.

Re:Well that was neat. (1)

Lord Lode (1290856) | more than 3 years ago | (#37233780)

Don't worry, once the technological singularity happens we'll spread to space. Well, not we, but 'it' will.

Re:Well that was neat. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37234064)

singularity is bullshit. stop.

Re:Well that was neat. (4, Insightful)

grumbel (592662) | more than 3 years ago | (#37233880)

So we wait for the next global disaster to wipe us all out in one swipe.

The problem with that logic is that space isn't salvation, it's the worst kind of global disaster 24/7 all year long with no air to breath and temperatures that will kill you in a matter of minutes.

If you somehow find a way to survive in space, you can just apply those same technologies to earth and will be save for any disaster imaginable.

Re:Well that was neat. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37234086)

The problem with that logic is that space isn't salvation, it's the worst kind of global disaster 24/7 all year long with no air to breath and temperatures that will kill you in a matter of minutes.

It's a challenge with manageable risks. If you can make it self sustainable it's a good alternative.

Earth is powerfull because is big, space is powerfull because you can be mobile.

Which species survived better, the ones with thick armour/defence or the ones who were more agile?

Re:Well that was neat. (1)

poofmeisterp (650750) | more than 3 years ago | (#37234556)

...Which species survived better, the ones with thick armour/defence or the ones who were more agile?

Umm.. Both?

Your point is moot.

Re:Well that was neat. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37234266)

Except there's no human-meaningful temperature in vacuum. Or space for that matter, being close enough approximation of it.

Re:Well that was neat. (1)

poofmeisterp (650750) | more than 3 years ago | (#37234570)

Except there's no human-meaningful temperature in vacuum. Or space for that matter, being close enough approximation of it.

...Radiation? Oh, wait.. We tried that already. Money gets in the way :)

Re:Well that was neat. (1)

nusuth (520833) | more than 3 years ago | (#37234538)

So we wait for the next global disaster to wipe us all out in one swipe.

The problem with that logic is that space isn't salvation, it's the worst kind of global disaster 24/7 all year long with no air to breath and temperatures that will kill you in a matter of minutes.

If you somehow find a way to survive in space, you can just apply those same technologies to earth and will be save for any disaster imaginable.

That is exactly the point. For long term survival we need technologies that allows us to survive i otherwise hostile environments. Human colonization of space is a great way to research and prove such technologies. if the whole human population on Earth is dead when a planet wide disaster strikes, it wouldn't matter much whether or not we have a dozen survivors in space but a space colony almost ensures that that will never happen.

Re:Well that was neat. (4, Insightful)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 3 years ago | (#37233920)

So we wait for the next global disaster to wipe us all out in one swipe. Be it a germ, comet, meteor, pole shift, solar flare, gamma burst, supervolcano or the unwise use of technology itself.

You're deluding yourself if you think a few months or a few years delay in manned spaceflight would make one whit of difference. We're at least a century, if not more, from being able to create a 'colony' off planet that could survive (let alone prosper) prosper absent massive and ongoing support from Earth.

Re:Well that was neat. (2)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 3 years ago | (#37233934)

Trapping us all on this tiny blue planet until the inevitable end comes

Sob. This tiny blue planet
Sob. The inevitable.

Yeah, the inevitable is that you seem to have stopped your Prozac again. You know, with a little care and foresight this 4 billion year old rock can take care of us for a couple of billion more years. It's a nice planet. You might want to step outside and enjoy it.

SpaceX to the rescue? (2)

MaxBooger (1877454) | more than 3 years ago | (#37233778)

According to a prior slashdot article [slashdot.org] , SpaceX is slated for another demonstration launch late November, this time docking with the ISS. Yes, it is a demo flight so, yes, you can't trust it to succeed. Still, is there any reason they cant load up the Dragon capsule with [critically required items]?

Re:SpaceX to the rescue? (2)

Dr La (1342733) | more than 3 years ago | (#37234280)

The problem is not supplies: there are enough supplies in the ISS already to last untill after the winter.

The problem is that the only remaining return Soyuz module apparently is not fit to function untill next spring. So it has to return earlier, if no replacement arrives before that point. The hazard of a landing under winter (darkness) condition means that it cannot return later than November. Leaving the ISS with no return vehicle after November.

So not, SpaceX can not come to the rescue....

Russia vs US spaceflight (4, Interesting)

kabloom (755503) | more than 3 years ago | (#37233790)

Russia has had fewer astronaut fatailities [wikipedia.org] than the United States, and all of the fatalities Russia has had have been less recent than any of the US's fatalities (those occurring in space, not on the ground). Although it would certainly be a tragedy if people died on a Russian spacecraft, please remember that the reason we now rely on Russian spacecraft is because people died on American spacecraft, and NASA responded by retiring all of the spacecraft involved in the human space program (without developing replacements).

Re:Russia vs US spaceflight (2)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | more than 3 years ago | (#37233948)

Russia has had fewer astronaut fatailities [wikipedia.org] than the United States

Only because they put fewer people into a spacecraft than we do. They've lost two crews, we've lost two crews.

Re:Russia vs US spaceflight (2)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 3 years ago | (#37233960)

Russia has had fewer astronaut fatailities than the United States

So what? That's an emotional argument, not an engineering one.
 

all of the fatalities Russia has had have been less recent than any of the US's fatalities (those occurring in space, not on the ground).

Yet, Russia has had an ongoing series of accidents and incidents with it's flights - and that with both the booster *and* the spacecraft. If a US craft behaved in the same way, there would be screams from all quarters to ground it, fire the managers, and consider canceling it. Here, you don't even seem aware that they have even occurred.
 

please remember that the reason we now rely on Russian spacecraft is because people died on American spacecraft, and NASA responded by retiring all of the spacecraft involved in the human space program (without developing replacements).

Um, no. NASA did what it was told by Congress and the Administration. They had no choice in the matter. Blaming NASA is like blaming a car for crashing, rather than the drunk at the wheel.

Re:Russia vs US spaceflight (1)

strack (1051390) | more than 3 years ago | (#37234646)

uh, what? im pretty sure astronauts not getting killed is a primary engineering objective of manned spaceflight. a better safety record sounds like a pretty good engineering based argument to me. a emotional argument might be something like "oh the shuttle is shaped like a plane, and planes are highly reusable, so the shuttle will be highly reusable and not incredibly expensive at all mr congressman". you know, for example.

Re:Russia vs US spaceflight (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37234014)

Do we "officially" KNOW that everything Russia did, especially in the Cold War and USSR eras?

Re:Russia vs US spaceflight (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37234136)

Its a good thing that the same rules don't apply to commercial aircraft... close down the airlines... there were fatalities.

Astronauts have accepted the danger and know the risk. Should not be such a program altering event for every accident. Yes find the problem and fix it, but being on the edge will result in going off the edge on occasion. Part of the job.

A Soyuz crew would have survived (1)

tp1024 (2409684) | more than 3 years ago | (#37234480)

The third stage shut down cleanly. There would have been no problem separating the spaceship from the rocket, then separating the service module and habitation module from the capsule ... and the rest is standard maneuvers.

The capsule is aerodynamically stable, so they'd only have to wait for it to come back down and open the parachute. It would have been cold in Siberia, true - but they wouldn't be dead. Unlike people in a fragile Space Shuttle with no means to escape or airport to land.

Other options (1)

John Bresnahan (638668) | more than 3 years ago | (#37233792)

SpaceX is currently planning to launch a cargo vehicle to the ISS this November. Perhaps that will alleviate the situation.

Is it a requirement that they land their ships where they do? Couldn't they, at least as a limited emergency measure, land them in a more temperate climate? I'm sure the United States would be happy to provide whatever assistance needed to land them at some appropriate location here (assuming there isn't a more reasonable location in Europe or Asia).

Re:Other options (1)

Miamicanes (730264) | more than 3 years ago | (#37234700)

The problem is that without the Soyuz, there's no official way to get astronauts home during the winter. The Dragon isn't officially man-rated yet. That doesn't mean it probably wouldn't work anyway, but nobody at NASA is going to jeopardize his career by officially relying upon a Dragon to safely get astronauts home until someone higher up has given it the official stamp of approval.

Of course, if the necessary training could be completed in time, Elon could probably solve that problem by announcing that he's personally going to be the Dragon's first passenger, camp out as a guest at the ISS for a couple of months, and ride it home if it ends up being unneeded for a return trip. However, IMHO it would be reckless and irresponsible for Elon to do that. God forbid, if the Dragon burned up on re-entry and killed him, it would basically be the end of American spaceflight for the rest of our lives. SpaceX wouldn't just lose its visionary leader... it would probably lose all of its orders and money, and rapidly go bankrupt. If an unmanned Dragon fails during COTS 2 or COTS 3 it will be bad, but it won't be the end of the program if they can figure out exactly what went wrong and take steps to prevent it from happening again. It would be the difference between a setback of a few years, and the end of it all.

My own prediction: the Dragon will go up well-stocked with Vodka, caviar, and borscht, NASA will bring home the Americans on the Soyuz lifeboat this fall, and the Russians will enjoy a relaxed, Mir-like atmosphere on the ISS all winter and secretly dread the return of NASA and its rules next year & look forward to the day when they can afford to to things their own way again.

Get the government OUT! (-1, Flamebait)

p51d007 (656414) | more than 3 years ago | (#37233794)

Remove bloated federal government, which WASTES more money than anything, and watch space flight/travel take off...so to speak. The "government" produces NOTHING.

Re:Get the government OUT! (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 3 years ago | (#37233940)

Remove bloated federal government, which WASTES more money than anything, and watch space flight/travel take off...so to speak.
The "government" produces NOTHING.

You channeling Ron Paul or Ann Rand?

Just curious.

Re:Get the government OUT! (1)

mbkennel (97636) | more than 3 years ago | (#37234494)

I hear Somalia and Afghanistan will be launching their 100% infidel-free capsule any millennium now.

Skylab 2 (squandered abundance) (2)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 3 years ago | (#37233796)

Just dunk the damn thing.. Wall Street isn't interested anyway.

such bullshit (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37233832)

Hitler died in the 1970's on a moon base, and our pathetic monkey public think this is as far as we've gone?

Re:such bullshit (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 3 years ago | (#37233988)

Hitler died in the 1970's on a moon base, and our pathetic monkey public think this is as far as we've gone?

Oh Yeah? If he's so smart, why did he order a bunch of Boeing 787's? [youtube.com]

Re:such bullshit (1)

vbraga (228124) | more than 3 years ago | (#37234606)

This is the best Downfall alternative subtitles video I saw.

YAWN... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37233882)

can we have some dramatic music to this article please?

it was only a rocket that failed.. they did not start 2 pointless wars so they had to cancel their whole space program...

the russians are doing a great job and will get your shit up there...

grow up, space cadets (0, Troll)

eyenot (102141) | more than 3 years ago | (#37233890)

You're stuck on Earth. You're never, ever, going to live on some other planet. It will never happen. You will probably never even live on the Moon. If somebody ever does live on the moon, it's going to be very exclusive and very tight. The Jetsons won't be over for supper. Your life is never going to resemble Lost In Space. Give it up, already. And as for this space station, how irresponsible can people get? America invested so much in this thing and we've basically tipped our hat and stepped out. Now we're not even capable of keeping the thing in orbit because we've scrapped our shuttle program. What are you going to do, space cadets? You planning anything amazing for us? Maybe pulling all your space cadet sticks out of your asses, duct taping them end to end and propping the ISS up that way? And now look, Russia was so hype to step up to the plate because, as you noticed, the ownership of the ISS defaults to Russia if America isn't capable of upkeep. Yet even they can't manage to resupply. Who's it going to default to, now? Buck Rodgers?

It's a fiasco, and all you butt-hurt sci-fi bookworms are to blame. We don't NEED an ISS, we don't NEED space programs, at all, any of us, anywhere, for anything. You're never going to live on Mars. Your responsibilities and your life's consequences here on Earth are real things, not imaginary. Space is never going to be a place to escape to no matter how much money you throw at it.

Tonight: go outside, close your eyes, count backwards from ten, and when you open them I want you to look up at the dark night sky and believe it's nothing but a giant black hole and it's worthless, it's a waste of time and money and the stars might be pretty and all but they aren't full of friends and adventure.

Now grow up.

Re:grow up, space cadets (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37233928)

No one NEEDED to cross those mountains, deserts, or oceans either.

Get over yourself.

Re:grow up, space cadets (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37234004)

I think you posted to the wrong site. Check your browser settings.

Re:grow up, space cadets (1)

cynyr (703126) | more than 3 years ago | (#37234024)

right I will never live on another planet, but what about my great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandchildren? how will they have anything to build on if we don't start now.

as for things we don't need... Wars, professional sports, insurance claims adjusters, people who can't see past the end of the week.

Re:grow up, space cadets (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37234440)

You typed that into a computer connected to a global communications network, a cheap hand-held receiver can pinpoint your position on Earth to a meter or better based on a constellation of artificial satellites, aircraft break the sound barrier as a matter of routine, the binding energy of the atom has been harnessed for god and for ill, pulses of light are sent down fiber optics to relay information, just about anything you could want can be delivered to your door within a day or two, we watch stars explode in other galaxies from the comfort of our own planet, artificial viruses can be used to insert genes into target tissue, organs are swapped from one body to another, etc, etc, etc... ...and you think space flight is a Sci-Fi fantasy?

Re:grow up, space cadets (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37234484)

It's people like you that hold that "dream" back. You see space exploration as a "waste". The real waste is the countless resources we've squandered in the name of capitalism. We HAD a suitable replacement in the works, but the good old US Government decided that was a waste of money and they much rather wage wars. Sorry but we KNOW that space isn't a "giant black hole that's worthless", that would be the space in your head where your brain should be.

I bet there was some dipshit like you telling Queen Isabella that funding Columbus's journey was a waste too. I'm surprised to see such a comment from anyone who reads slashdot. I'm going to have to ask you to turn in your geek card.

Re:grow up, space cadets (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37234508)

"The universe is probably littered with the one-planet graves of cultures which made the sensible economic decision that there's no good reason to go into space-- each discovered, studied, and remembered by the ones who made the irrational decision."
-XKCD

Astronauts? (5, Funny)

jdbannon (1620995) | more than 3 years ago | (#37233894)

We're all cosmonauts now, comrade.

It isn't NASA's call (2)

mbone (558574) | more than 3 years ago | (#37233910)

First, please note that this is not about supplying the ISS, it's about getting the crew there. NASA is worried about the safety of Soyuz.

Also, note that the flight of the Soyuz is not dependent on NASA. NASA doesn't get that call, although they could yank their astronauts from the vehicle, they can't ground it.

So, there is little to no chance that the ISS will be abandoned. I predict the Russians will keep a crew there, regardless of NASA's decision.

Soviet Russia? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37233918)

25 posts and I still can't get my 'soviet russia' fix. Com'on someone, bring the funny.

In (2)

cratermoon (765155) | more than 3 years ago | (#37233966)

In Soviet Russia, ISS abandons YOU!!

Note that if the station is left unmanned, it will be the end of an 11-year run of humans continuously in space, starting with the October, 2000 arrival of the Expedition 1 crew at ISS.

By the way, the Chinese are still flying their man-rated Long March.

If we leave the station unmanned... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37234368)

What's to stop the Chinese from boarding and effectively taking over an unmanned ISS? What could we do about it?

Re:If we leave the station unmanned... (1)

mbkennel (97636) | more than 3 years ago | (#37234522)

"open the pod-bay doors! open the pod-bay doors! Crap. Stupid ISS doesn't speak Chinese."

Re:If we leave the station unmanned... (1)

Miamicanes (730264) | more than 3 years ago | (#37234600)

> What's to stop the Chinese from boarding and effectively taking over an unmanned ISS? What could we do about it?

Refuse to give them the login password to the life support system?

Re:If we leave the station unmanned... (1)

poofmeisterp (650750) | more than 3 years ago | (#37234610)

That's right. We DO owe them, now don't we?

Penis length measurement ensues; we won't leave it because we know it will be in demand. L:)

Fr0st pi5t (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37234502)

so that you don't failure, its c08pse are there? Oh,
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