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Russian Rocket Fleet Grounded Again

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the orbital-decay dept.

ISS 66

Velcroman1 writes "Failed pressure chamber tests have forced Russia to postpone two manned launches to the International Space Station — echoing a 2011 situation that left the country's space transport vehicles grounded and led to speculation that scientists may be forced to abandon the orbiting space base. Six astronauts are currently aboard the ISS including two Americans: Commander Dan Burbank and Flight Engineer Don Pettit. 'There is plenty of margin for the current space station crew to stay onboard longer, if necessary, and plenty of margin in our manifest for upcoming launches,' a NASA spokeswoman said. But Soyuz issues are scary nonetheless. 'This re-entry capsule now cannot be used for manned spaceflight,' an unnamed source told Interfax."

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Slashdot won't report this (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38843537)

Slashdot refuses to report a story.

According to Reuters, Apple surpassed Android in marketshare [] by the end of 2011, confirming earlier reports by both Nielsen [] and NPD [] . 150 Android smartphones couldn't beat the iPhone 4S. With 15 million iPads sold last quarter, the tablet market is now larger than the entire desktop PC market. Apple’s profits ($13 billion) exceeded Google’s entire revenue ($10.6 billion).

Who cares? Well, in January 2011, Slashdot triumphantly reported that Android surpassed iOS in marketshare [] . All year, Android fans cited Android's marketshare as proof that it was taking over the smartphone industry, that the lack of centralized control was superior to the "walled garden", and that Android was "winning".

So what happened when the opposite occurred and Apple reversed Android's marketshare lead by the end of the year? Despite multiple submissions from several users, and news coverage ranging from Arstechnica to CNN, Slashdot refused to publish the story. All the sudden, it wasn't considered newsworthy despite the publication of the other story a year earlier.

This is a Linux advocacy site whose initial userbase was driven by hatred of Windows marketshare. Marketshare is still highly fetishized around here. Anything negative about the marketshare of Linux, or platforms based on Linux, gets killed. Slashdot is intentionally not providing you full tech news coverage because it caters to a specific demographic of emotionally-invested users who are more likely to generate repeat page views.

Re:Slashdot won't report this (-1, Offtopic)

binarylarry (1338699) | more than 2 years ago | (#38843975)


Slashdot won't post Apple fanboy's post about temporary spike in iPhone sales, due to new product launch.

*Rubs fingers together* Can you hear that? I'm playing a song on the worlds smallest ipod.

Re:Slashdot won't report this (0)

Tsingi (870990) | more than 2 years ago | (#38844177)

*Rubs fingers together* Can you hear that? I'm playing a song on the worlds smallest ipod.

-> Cry Me a River

Re:Slashdot won't report this (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38845803)

In further off-topic news, Android tablets starting to catch up to the iPad.

So nya-nya.

I'm impressed it took this long (3, Insightful)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#38843577)

While they manned launches have gone well, the failed re-supply and the failed mars probe suggest there's some quality control issues creeping into the program.

Re:I'm impressed it took this long (1)

jamstar7 (694492) | more than 2 years ago | (#38843969)

Me, I'm hoping the Falcon Heavy gets certified real soon. It might be the only non-Chinese Moon-capable rocket around.

Re:I'm impressed it took this long (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38844375)

There are. Dig a bit and you'll find it's not a healthy program.

Glancing thumbnail - When the Soviet space agency became Russian, it ended up under a new bureaucracy. Basic scrape-the-cream style; funnel off the funds, take some glory, ignore the service. Took about ten years to get ingrained. What funds did go into space projects went into new ones for headlines, pipedreams or otherwise. The launch system got completely neglected and is old machinery run by an aging, very poorly paid, group of engineers. I forget exactly, but the average employee age there is something like 47 now. No new blood because it's basically a shitty job in a dead-end facility.

Re:I'm impressed it took this long (1)

tgd (2822) | more than 2 years ago | (#38844575)

While they manned launches have gone well, the failed re-supply and the failed mars probe suggest there's some quality control issues creeping into the program.

You can only go so many months without giving your rocket scientists a paycheck ...

Re:I'm impressed it took this long (2, Interesting)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 2 years ago | (#38844993)

So why don't we work on man rating Atlas or Delta? It seems like we could get that off the ground a hell of a lot quicker than that "we'll recycle old shuttle parts!" clusterfuck that was constellation. Its pretty obvious there needs to be a not only plan B but a plan C and D if we are gonna keep going out there and both atlas and Delta have been used for ages and is well tested tech.

Personally though i think we should just wash our hands of the whole "meatbags is spaaaace!" idea until we can come up with some better engine tech than overgrown V2s and just let the bots handle it. As we have seen with the NASA small missions you can get a HELL of a lot of real hard science done for a hell of a lot cheaper than sending meatbags up for even a week, we're talking years worth of data about everything from how our sun works to closer looks at the farthest planets. until we develop some better engine tech, which can be tested on the probes so nobody screams if it blows up the first couple of tries, it just seems to me the smarter money would be to use our limited budgets and resources on probes than trying to act like its still the sixties. hell the only reason we were willing to blow metric fuckloads of money on it then was so we could give the Ruskies a collective teabagging and say "In your FACE Boris! you see that moon over your head? it has an American flag on it giving you the finger so bite it!". Now that the cold war is over the whole thing, while a nice notch in the history books, just seems pointless to continue when all we'll have to show for it is some pictures off some astronaut's Nikon of LEO, like we don't have a bazillion shots of the blue marble. Quit wasting money on matbags and get to cranking out probes to send all over our little corner to learn all we can, doesn't that sound like a better plan?

Re:I'm impressed it took this long (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 2 years ago | (#38849109)

The idea was that sending humans up would become cheap and routine with the Shuttles, but of course that never happened. None the less the Russians put people in space for far less than it cost the US to, and seemingly no less safely when you look at the numbers.

Could develop the technology to do it cheaply if we wanted to, but no-one seems to be willing to invest the cash to get to that stage. We are not even talking very much cash, relatively speaking. I am somewhat hopeful that the new asian space race will spur things on a bit.

Re:I'm impressed it took this long (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 2 years ago | (#38859255)

Frankly I don't know if i trust the Russians figures, at least the figures from before the fall of the USSR. after all they didn't admit the failure of their moon program main launch vehicle until after the fall and if you look up "Lost Cosmonauts" on Google you'll find some pretty interesting recordings done by some Italian teens using WWII surplus on the side of a hill in the Russians flight path. those kids were just caught up in the "Sputnik craze' and didn't have any reason to lie or fake recordings and it looks like the Russians had some "oops we lost Boris" moments in their first launches and quietly swept them under the rug.

Regardless of how safely you pull it off or even if you get the price down that doesn't change the fact its pretty pointless for anything but flag waving. Just to get a man to Mars with enough food and fuel to get back you are looking at a rocket probably the size of the Empire State building and the amount of resources you go through putting a meatsack into space for a week in LEO could have paid for sending a probe to Europa. The simple fact is we meatsacks are just too delicate and require too much stuff, air, water, toilets, food, all these things add pounds and thus costs whereas Mr Robot can go to the farthest reaches of our system and do real science without all that extra baggage. Until we develop new engines (which can be tested on the probes) its just a waste of limited resources when the most we can do affordably is send yet another meatsack to LEO. We probably could have had a half a dozen probes sending back hard data for 5 or more years for the cost of a single Apollo mission, and in the end you really can't argue in favor of that kind of expense logically, the only real reason to do it would be emotional reasons like so an American could get the "first man on the moon" or other nationalistic flag waving, logically the math just doesn't work.

Re:I'm impressed it took this long (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 2 years ago | (#38845063)

It sounds like the designs are solid (which is not surprising, given that most of those - excepting Phobos-Grunt - mostly date back to USSR), it's the execution that's lacking these days. Yet another sign that industrial and research capacity that Russia inherited from the USSR is slowly crumbling...

Re:I'm impressed it took this long (1)

cavreader (1903280) | more than 2 years ago | (#38845091)

When exactly did they NOT have quality control problems in their rocket programs? Back in the 50's, 60's, 70's, and 80's the chances of anyone even hearing about a problem was nil. Since they have opened their program for international use the problems can not be kept under the radar so to speak. And the bad part is that China bought the majority of their rocket tech from Russia to get their program going and China is not really known for quality. Hopefully they can improve their quality a little with the tech they stolen from the US over the years. You can't help but admire the Chinese approach to technology advancements. Why spend billions on R&D when you can just steal it from those who actually produce the tecchnology first.

Re:I'm impressed it took this long (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38845767)

Yes indeed.

Thanks Mr Von Braun.

Re:I'm impressed it took this long (2)

dbIII (701233) | more than 2 years ago | (#38847841)

Oddly the re-supply launched yesterday didn't fail and puts a bit of a dent in the cries of "it's not American so it must be trash". The answer is to stop whining until the USA is at a point where it can start participating itself.

This is conflicting with information I have read.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38843581)

Re:This is conflicting with information I have rea (4, Interesting)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#38843715)

Consider the source - Itar-Tass is probably Russian for "Fox News"

Back before the walls came down Tass was the mouthpiece of the Kremlin. If Tass is saying something then it's with the full support of Putin.

Re:This is conflicting with information I have rea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38843949)

The USSR fell a lot of news cycles ago. I don't think you're necessarily wrong about Tass but you got from "probably" to "If Tass is saying something then it's with the full support of Putin", which seems like a large logical jump.

Any references?

Re:This is conflicting with information I have rea (2)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 2 years ago | (#38845047)

TASS is officially the central news agency of the Russian government.

Cisco Router Backdoors - Spook fun for all! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38843651)

Spook BackDoors In Cisco Routers
- Older news, but still relevant!!
    Please save this story and repost it everywhere
    Especially in Security Discussion Forum Sites
- You should use OpenBSD or a hardened Linux distro
    For a router, NOT these blackboxes offered with
    proprietary hardware & firmware! []

"Special Report
Cisco's Backdoor For Hackers
Andy Greenberg, 02.03.10, 01:45 PM EST
The methods networking companies use to let the Feds watch suspects also expose the rest of us.

ARLINGTON, Va. -- Activists have long grumbled about the privacy implications of the legal "backdoors" that networking companies like Cisco build into their equipment--functions that let law enforcement quietly track the Internet activities of criminal suspects. Now an IBM researcher has revealed a more serious problem with those backdoors: They don't have particularly strong locks, and consumers are at risk.

In a presentation at the Black Hat security conference Wednesday, IBM ( IBM - news - people ) Internet Security Systems researcher Tom Cross unveiled research on how easily the "lawful intercept" function in Cisco's ( CSCO - news - people ) IOS operating system can be exploited by cybercriminals or cyberspies to pull data out of the routers belonging to an Internet service provider (ISP) and watch innocent victims' online behavior.

But the result, Cross says, is that any credentialed employee can implement the intercept to watch users, and the ISP has no method of tracking those privacy violations. "An insider who knows the password can use it without an audit trail and send the data to anywhere on the Internet," Cross says.

Cross told Cisco about his findings in December 2008, but with the exception of the patch Cisco released following the revelation of its router bug in 2008, the security flaws he discussed haven't been fixed. In an interview following Cross' talk, Cisco spokeswoman Jennifer Greeson said that the company is "confident in its framework." "We recognize that security is complicated," she said. "We're looking at [Cross'] findings and we'll take them into account."

Cisco isn't actually the primary target of Cross' critique. He points out that all networking companies are legally required to build lawful intercepts into their equipment.

Special Report
Cisco's Backdoor For Hackers
Andy Greenberg, 02.03.10, 01:45 PM EST
The methods networking companies use to let the Feds watch suspects also expose the rest of us.

ARLINGTON, Va. -- Cisco, in fact, is the only networking company that follows the recommendations of the Internet Engineering Task Force standards body and makes its lawful intercept architecture public, exposing it to peer review and security scrutiny. The other companies keep theirs in the dark, and they likely suffer from the same security flaws or worse. "Cisco did the right thing by publishing this," says Cross. "Although I found some weaknesses, at least we know what they are and how to mitigate them."

The exploitation of lawful intercept is more than theoretical. Security and privacy guru Bruce Schneier wrote last month that the Google ( GOOG - news - people ) hackings in China were enabled by Google's procedures for sharing information with U.S. law enforcement officials. And in 2004 and 2005, a group of hackers used intercept vulnerabilities in Ericsson ( ERIC - news - people ) network switches to spy on a wide range of political targets including the cellphone of Greece's prime minister.

All of that, argues IBM's Cross, means that Internet-related companies need to be more transparent about their lawful intercept procedures or risk exposing all of their users. "There are a lot of other technology companies out there that haven't published their architecture, so they can't be audited," he said in his Black Hat talk. "We can't be sure of their security as a result."

- []


Lest we forget Part 1: []

"Cisco backdoor still open
IBM researcher at Black Hat says opening for Feds exposes us
By Jim Duffy on Wed, 02/03/10 - 5:33pm.

The "backdoors" that Cisco and other networking companies implement in their routers and switches for lawful intercept are front and center again at this week's Black Hat security conference. A few years ago, they were cause celebre in some VoIP wiretapping arguments and court rulings.

This time, an IBM researcher told Black Hat conference attendees that these openings can still expose information about us to hackers and allow them to "watch" our Internet activity. Backdoors are implemented in routers and switches so law enforcement officials can track the Internet communications and activity of an individual or individuals under surveillance. They are required by law to be incorporated in devices manufactured by networking companies and sold to ISPs.

In this report from Forbes, IBM Internet Security Systems researcher Tom Cross demonstrated how easily the backdoor in Cisco IOS can be exploited by hackers. When they gain access to a Cisco router, they are not blocked after multiple failed access attempts nor is an alert sent to an administrator. Any data collected through the backdoor can be sent to anywhere -- not just merely to an authorized user, Forbes reports.

What's more, an ISP is not able to perform an audit trail on whoever tried to gain access to a router through the backdoor - that nuance was intended to keep ISP employees from detecting the intercept and inadvertently tipping off the individual under surveillance. But according to IBM's Cross, any authorized employee can use it for unauthorized surveillance of users and those privacy violations cannot be tracked by the ISP.

Cisco said it is aware of Cross's assertions and is taking them under consideration. To Cisco's credit, it is the only networking company that makes its lawful intercept architecture public, according to the recommendations of the IETF, the Forbes story states. Other companies do not, which means they may be susceptible to the same security flaws, or worse."

Lest we forget Part 2: []

"Cisco Security Advisory
A Default Username and Password in WLSE and HSE Devices
Advisory ID: cisco-sa-20040407-username []
Revision 1.4
For Public Release 2004 April 7 16:00 UTC (GMT)

        Affected Products
        Vulnerability Scoring Details
        Software Versions and Fixes
        Obtaining Fixed Software
        Exploitation and Public Announcements
        Status of This Notice: Final
        Revision History
        Cisco Security Procedures


A default username/password pair is present in all releases of the Wireless LAN Solution Engine (WLSE) and Hosting Solution Engine (HSE) software. A user who logs in using this username has complete control of the device. This username cannot be disabled. There is no workaround.

This advisory is available at [] .

Affected Products

This section provides details on affected products.
Vulnerable Products

These products are vulnerable:

        The affected software releases for WLSE are 2.0, 2.0.2 and 2.5.
        The affected software releases for HSE are 1.7, 1.7.1, 1.7.2 and 1.7.3.

Products Confirmed Not Vulnerable

No other Cisco products are currently known to be affected by these vulnerabilities.


A hardcoded username and password pair is present in all software releases for all models of WLSE and HSE devices.

This vulnerability is documented in the Cisco Bug Toolkit as Bug ID CSCsa11583 ( registered customers only) for the WLSE and CSCsa11584 ( registered customers only) for the HSE.

CiscoWorks WLSE provides centralized management for the Cisco Wireless LAN infrastructure. It unifies the other components in the solution and actively employs them to provide continual "Air/RF" monitoring, network security, and optimization. The CiscoWorks WLSE also assists network managers by automating and simplifying mass configuration deployment, fault monitoring and alerting.

Cisco Hosting Solution Engine is a hardware-based solution to monitor and activate a variety of e-business services in Cisco powered data centers. It provides fault and performance information about the Layer 2-3 hosting infrastructure and Layer 4-7 hosted services.

Vulnerability Scoring Details
Cisco has provided scores for the vulnerabilities in this advisory based on the Common Vulnerability Scoring System (CVSS). The CVSS scoring in this Security Advisory is done in accordance with CVSS version 2.0.

CVSS is a standards-based scoring method that conveys vulnerability severity and helps determine urgency and priority of response.

Cisco has provided a base and temporal score. Customers can then compute environmental scores to assist in determining the impact of the vulnerability in individual networks.

Cisco has provided an FAQ to answer additional questions regarding CVSS at [] .

Cisco has also provided a CVSS calculator to help compute the environmental impact for individual networks at [] .


Any user who logs in using this username has complete control of the device. One can add new users or modify details of the existing users, and change the device's configuration. Here are some more concrete examples of possible actions:

        For WLSE this means that an adversary can hide the presence of a rogue Access Point or change the Radio Frequency plan, potentially causing system-wide outages. The first action may cause long term loss of information confidentiality and integrity. The second action can yield Denial-of-Service (DOS).
        For HSE this may lead up to illegal re-directing of a Web site with the ultimate loss of revenue.
        In both cases the device itself may be used as a launching platform for further attacks. Such attacks could be directed at your organization, or towards a third party.

Software Versions and Fixes

When considering software upgrades, also consult [] and any subsequent advisories to determine exposure and a complete upgrade solution.

In all cases, customers should exercise caution to be certain the devices to be upgraded contain sufficient memory and that current hardware and software configurations will continue to be supported properly by the new release. If the information is not clear, contact the Cisco Technical Assistance Center ("TAC") or your contracted maintenance provider for assistance.

For WLSE, users need to install the patch. The patch can be downloaded from [] ( registered customers only) . Installation instructions are included in the accompanying README file, WLSE-2.x-CSCsa11583-K9.readmeV3.txt, in that same download directory. This patch is applicable to WLSE 1105 and 1130 software releases 2.0, 2.0.2 and 2.5.

For HSE, users need to install the patch. The patch can be downloaded from [] ( registered customers only) . Installation instructions are included in the accompanying README file, HSE-1.7.x-CSCsa11584.readme.txt, in that same download directory. This patch is applicable to HSE 1105 for versions 1.7, 1.7.1, 1.7.2, and 1.7.3.

There is no workaround.

Obtaining Fixed Software

Cisco has made free software available to address this vulnerability for affected customers. Prior to deploying software, customers should consult their maintenance provider or check the software for feature set compatibility and known issues specific to their environment.

Customers may only install and expect support for the feature sets they have purchased. By installing, downloading, accessing or otherwise using such software upgrades, customers agree to be bound by the terms of Cisco's software license terms found at [] , or as otherwise set forth at Downloads at [] .

Do not contact either "" or "" for software upgrades.

Customers with Service Contracts

Customers with contracts should obtain upgraded software through their regular update channels. For most customers, this means that upgrades should be obtained through the Software Center on Cisco's worldwide website at []
Customers Using Third-Party Support Organizations

Customers whose Cisco products are provided or maintained through prior or existing agreement with third-party support organizations such as Cisco Partners, authorized resellers, or service providers should contact that support organization for guidance and assistance with the appropriate course of action in regards to this advisory.

The effectiveness of any workaround or fix is dependent on specific customer situations such as product mix, network topology, traffic behavior, and organizational mission. Due to the variety of affected products and releases, customers should consult with their service provider or support organization to ensure any applied workaround or fix is the most appropriate for use in the intended network before it is deployed.
Customers Without Service Contracts

Customers who purchase direct from Cisco but who do not hold a Cisco service contract and customers who purchase through third-party vendors but are unsuccessful at obtaining fixed software through their point of sale should get their upgrades by contacting the Cisco Technical Assistance Center (TAC). TAC contacts are as follows.

        +1 800 553 2447 (toll free from within North America)
        +1 408 526 7209 (toll call from anywhere in the world)

Have your product serial number available and give the URL of this notice as evidence of your entitlement to a free upgrade. Free upgrades for non-contract customers must be requested through the TAC.

Refer to [] for additional TAC contact information, including special localized telephone numbers and instructions and e-mail addresses for use in various languages.
Exploitation and Public Announcements

The Cisco PSIRT is not aware of any public announcements or malicious use of the vulnerability described in this advisory.

Status of This Notice: Final


A stand-alone copy or Paraphrase of the text of this document that omits the distribution URL in the following section is an uncontrolled copy, and may lack important information or contain factual errors.


This advisory will be posted on Cisco's worldwide website at [] .

In addition to worldwide web posting, a text version of this notice is clear-signed with the Cisco PSIRT PGP key and is posted to the following e-mail and Usenet news recipients. (includes CERT/CC)

Future updates of this advisory, if any, will be placed on Cisco's worldwide website, but may or may not be actively announced on mailing lists or newsgroups. Users concerned about this problem are encouraged to check the above URL for any updates.

Revision History

Revision 1.4


Fixed URL for Downloads under Obtaining Fixed Software section.

Revision 1.3


Updated Software Versions and Fixes section.

Revision 1.2


Updated to include WLSE 1105 in Software Versions and Fixes section.

Revision 1.1


Correction in the Obtaining Fixed Software section.

Revision 1.0


Initial public release.

Cisco Security Procedures

Complete information on reporting security vulnerabilities in Cisco products, obtaining assistance with security incidents, and registering to receive security information from Cisco, is available on Cisco's worldwide website at [] . This includes instructions for press inquiries regarding Cisco security notices. All Cisco security advisories are available at [] ." []

why do we trust them? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38843655)

and we are paying them to bring us up... meanwhile our mars rovers are still going strong... they should pay us to bring them up...

Re:why do we trust them? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38843709)

S'OK. We'll have a manned moon base by 2020. And it'll be a 51st state.

Re:why do we trust them? (4, Funny)

The Grim Reefer (1162755) | more than 2 years ago | (#38844393)

S'OK. We'll have a manned moon base by 2020. And it'll be a 51st state.

By "state" I assume you meant province. And by "51" you meant 23rd (or 24th depending on how you count Taiwan). ;-)

Re:why do we trust them? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38843811)

Tell you what, if you don't trust the Russians, why don't you just send up your own heavy-lift passenger capable vehicle instead?


Re:why do we trust them? (2)

aix tom (902140) | more than 2 years ago | (#38844119)

Easy. Because they have a rocket that they are willing to pay for and dare to launch, any you don't.

This (4, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#38843693)

is exactly what I as talking about when people said we could save money grounding the fleet and use Russian launch capabilities.

We can do two wars at a time, but not two launch systems. That has always pissed me off.

Re:This (4, Interesting)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#38843815)

The weird thing is that we DO have significant launch capabilities. The Atlas and Delta [] systems have excellent safety records, they haven't been human rated for some odd reason. Seems like a good time to do some paperwork?

Re:This (5, Informative)

robot256 (1635039) | more than 2 years ago | (#38843891)

Already in the works, these articles from last summer, and at least two companies planning to use the man-rated Atlas 5 rocket

Re:This (1)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 2 years ago | (#38843913)

Because NASA wants to be the only way for humans to get into space from the United States and they were all about Shuttle. From 1986 on, NASA was recommended to move away from Shuttle or find a replacement and despite Congressional and industry they never did.

Virgin Galactic and Scaled Composites have had to fight tooth and nail with the FAA for clearances because NASA has been lobbying the FAA to lock them down.

Re:This (3, Informative)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#38843995)

Nope. Sorry, I know far too many people at NASA for that to remotely ring true.

However, Space flight is very dangerous, requires high label of engineering and maintenance, and is risky not jsut to the crew, but to everyone who wants to get to space. So there are a lot of details and NASA, being the experts, know what companies need to do. Companies OTOH get all pissy when they find out going to space is in no way like flying a plane and need to be held to a high standard, just like NASA.

NASA has nothing to gain by limiting private companies. Being able to rational remove themselves from low orbit bus trips is something they would like see happen.

Congress did NOTHING to help them move to a new launch vehicle. NASA originally didn't want a shuttle, they wanted specialized ships. One for people, and one for Cargo. Had congress allowed for that, we would have a more robust commercial launch system...probably.

Re:This (1)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 2 years ago | (#38844125)

You know people at NASA or you've followed NASA leadership and their two decades of indecision and failure to replace Shuttle?

Shuttle C, DC-XA, Venture Star, the last 26 years are littered with failed programs because NASA couldn't decide what it wanted.

Re:This (1)

cavreader (1903280) | more than 2 years ago | (#38845223)

The X-37B program is currently an unmanned orbital shuttle that is much more dependable and capable than the old shuttle program. The old shuttle and the ISS are just R&D platforms that occassionally perform jobs like satelite repair but for the most part it was a gigantic and very expensive science project. A manned X-37B version has also been in the works for a few years. The X-37B program itself has actually carried out orbital missions under the control of the US Air Force command.

Re:This (3, Interesting)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 2 years ago | (#38845259)

I don't know about him but I'm friends with one of the engineers that designed the shuttle mockups (really cool stuff, he has a great shot of him pushing a 25+ ton model all by himself because it was so perfectly balanced, also got to hold some of the actual blueprints for the shuttle interior cargo hold he rescued from the trash) and he sadi too many politicians were involved and i for one believe him. you look at the map of where the shuttle parts were being built and it looked like a shotgun blast on the map of the USA because so many politicians wanted a piece of the action so him saying that nothing got approved that would hurt Congressman Porkus from bringing home the bacon rings true to me. After all look at how many bridges to nowhere and other completely pointless projects we've had over the years because it brought money in to the right senator's or congressman's district. Sadly that is the problem with large government projects, suddenly all the congressmen are squealing like little piggies and fighting for a spot at the trough, nobody gives a crap about the good of the country, just the good it'll do their re-election campaign.

Re:This (3, Informative)

bobcat7677 (561727) | more than 2 years ago | (#38844635)

Atlas is in the process of being human rated...but they are taking quite a while to do it. Not projected to have it's rating till 2015. The Delta rockets have the right payload rating for Soyuz, but I am sure integrating the systems would be a problem. Even Space X's Dragon probably won't be human rated till 2015 even though it starts delivering cargo to the ISS in March...though there is an effort underway at SpaceX to try and speed up that process I think.

Re:This (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | more than 2 years ago | (#38845141)

Even Space X's Dragon probably won't be human rated till 2015 even though it starts delivering cargo to the ISS in March.

Not having kept up on ISS crew rotation schedules, but one of the reasons the latest Dragon flight was delayed was that there was a requirement that two of the ISS crew be trained in operation of the Dragon-control link used for docking to ISS.

Unless there are two such guys up there right now, they won't be able to do the Dragon resupply-mission....

Re:This (1)

bobcat7677 (561727) | more than 2 years ago | (#38846307)

They are up there already. Actually not being able to make the flight in March would be more of a problem as one of them (Dan Burbank) is due to return to earth at the end of March. References: [] []

If the shit hits the fan (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 2 years ago | (#38847849)

Don't they have a soyuz re-entry vehicle bolted to the station just like Mir had? They can get down and the procedures to do it in a hurry have been looked at for decades. It's expensive to replace but nobody is ever going to be stuck up there forever.

Re:This (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38845385)

they haven't been human rated for some odd reason

They're not human rated because humans are squishy, fragile things that won't put up with being strapped to the top of an Atlas or Delta rocket.

The Redstone had to go through thousands of modifications to make it fit to launch a human into even a sub-orbital parabola. Believe it or not, it really is as difficult as rocket science.

Re:This (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 2 years ago | (#38845861)

NASA's "We choose to go to the Moon, in this decade" mission was accomplished by hiring an army of personnel, and giving them almost limitless funding. The problem with this is that once the mission is accomplished, you have an army of personnel ^H^H^H^H^H voters sitting around twiddling their thumbs. So, to get elected, or to stay elected, you have to feed that army of voters. That means jobs. Okay Apollo-Soyuz. Then what? Space shuttle. Fine, but what's the shuttle going to do? International space station!

For NASA's bosses, the organization isn't about space, as much as it is about jobs. Atlas and Delta aren't going to feed the right army of voters.

Re:This (2)

recharged95 (782975) | more than 2 years ago | (#38847057)

Good luck.

it's all about weight weight weight.... retrofitting with human environmental systems will reduce the already maxxed out payload capacity and could weaken the structure. These rockets are optimized for their payloads...

Re:This (3, Informative)

notany (528696) | more than 2 years ago | (#38844349)

But we can save money. Soyuz program is the most successful launch platform by wide margin. It's safe, cheap, reliable and can launch frequently. Soyuz has over 1700 successful launches. It's the closest thing to "space truck" that there is.

Re:This (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 2 years ago | (#38846293)

Soyuz program is the most successful launch platform by wide margin. It's safe, cheap, reliable and can launch frequently.

Not really It's reliability is statistically indistinguishable from that of the Shuttle. (They differ by something like .1% or so.) It may be cheap, but it's also pretty low performance. (I.E. a subcompact is cheaper than a full size pickup truck, but only a fool would confuse them.)

Soyuz has over 1700 successful launches.

It also have a couple of hundred failed launches too.

Re:This (1)

sphealey (2855) | more than 2 years ago | (#38846557)

I think your browser must not properly render the IRONY tag.


Re:This (1)

WegianWarrior (649800) | more than 2 years ago | (#38844981)

Manrating a rocket takes a lot of cash - both up front for the "paperwork", if you like, to prove that the basic design is safe, and for every single rocket built to that design afterwards. The latter covers both the quality assurance work to make sure that that one particular rocket is safe, that all the bits and pieces that goes into it is safe and to pay for the made-to-a-higher-spec parts that goes into it.
Manrating also adds to the time to build each rocket. I guess the US was too busy making sure they were able to fight two wars to be able to afford the time and money to make sure they had a working rocket and capsule to send people into space once the shuttle retired...

So.. (1)

fauxhemian (1281852) | more than 2 years ago | (#38843755)

Vladimir Popovkin, is this also the fault of HAARP?

Year of the Dragon (3, Interesting)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 2 years ago | (#38843809)

From Space X's website : "Today marks the start of the Year of the Dragon in the Chinese calendar, and this year, SpaceX's Dragon will become the first privately developed spacecraft to visit the International Space Station."

I hope so, or we may eventually have to rely on Chinese launch capabilities.

Re:Year of the Dragon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38844123)

Yeah, right. How many manned launches per year have the Chinese been able to accomplish?

And by "pressure tests"... (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#38843989)

So, by "failed pressure tests" they mean "Were found to be infested by mischievous bloggers who just walked casually past the crumbling walls of the launch site and were busy taking pictures inside"...

more complete comments from Alexei Krasnov (4, Informative)

ChrisCampbell47 (181542) | more than 2 years ago | (#38844073)

Alexei Krasnov, chief of piloted programs:

"The malfunction was found in the service elements of the descent capsule....but no decision was taken to delay a forthcoming launch.

Krasnov acknowledged that several days ago some problems really emerged....but the problems are related to a service element, rather than the descent capsule,

Krasnov did not rule out that “the schedule of piloted missions will be revised,” but he sees no tragedy in this. “There are program reserves to deal with the emerged problem,” he underlined.

“It is very good that upon the results of the tests we received critical remarks before the spaceship was brought to the Baikonur spaceport, because we have some time and possibilities to examine everything in detail,” Krasnov concluded. []

Fox News, really? (0)

Clsid (564627) | more than 2 years ago | (#38844209)

It would be great if Slashdot could link to ANY news media outlet other than Fox News. With them you always have to do defensive reading.

Re:Fox News, really? (2)

oneiros27 (46144) | more than 2 years ago | (#38844491)

Well, you could always try RT: []

(for those who don't get the joke -- RT is Russia Today, an English language news program which tends to bash the U.S. in general, and be borderline Russian propoganda. ... and right now, they don't have anything on this incident, but they'd probably have an interesting spin if/when they put it up.)

Of course, anyone who really cared about other coverage can just put 'Soyuz' into Google News: []

Unless you're boycotting Google, and then you can just go to []

Re:Fox News, really? (1)

Clsid (564627) | more than 2 years ago | (#38845863)

That's my point, it's like getting a link to RT. Media that you know it's going to be heavily biased.

Title is misleading (5, Interesting)

Mercano (826132) | more than 2 years ago | (#38844291)

The title of this story is misleading. It isn't the rockets that are grounded, its the spacecraft that sits on top of them.

Also, for what it's worth, the shuttle wouldn't have been help matters much if the Russian's can't fly a Soyuz. While the shuttle is fine for swapping crews (in fact, the shuttle's runway landings are gentler than the Soyuz's parachute landings, a good thing for people who have spent the last six months in 0g), the shuttle can only fly a two week mission, meaning without a Soyuz attached to the station, we'd have to leave people in orbit without an immediate way home, a risk that neither NASA nor Roscomos is willing to take. The Soyuz itself is only rated for six months in orbit, giving them a limited window to fix the problems before we have to talk about unmanning the station.

SpaceX, SLS, Election Year.... (1)

k6mfw (1182893) | more than 2 years ago | (#38844579)

this is all going to get real interesting. People screaming we should have kept flying the Shuttle, or we need Elon to rescue us, Fox News this or that, Newt's call for a moon colony. I can imagine the discussion that will be going on Alrighty folks, this thread is just begging for a car analogy and/or "In Soviet Russia..." (sorry I have no imagination so I'm depended on others to come up with a CA and ISA jokes).

SpaceX (1)

Narishma (822073) | more than 2 years ago | (#38844879)

Will this affect the upcoming SpaceX launch? IIRC it was already delayed for a couple of months last year when they had Soyuz troubles.

Non-Murdoch source (1)

HangingChad (677530) | more than 2 years ago | (#38845295)

I love my Murdoch Block plugin. Here's a non-Fox News source [] , which includes a back-link to their recent accident history.

Plutocracy Works! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38845899)


Fleet? (1)

Meeni (1815694) | more than 2 years ago | (#38846019)

Does it make sense to call rockets a "fleet", when they are just a single use disposable vehicle ?

need a free market solution (1)

ronpaulisanidiot (2529418) | more than 2 years ago | (#38846765)

clearly, if we had just allowed the invisible hand of the free market to work this out, we would have done much better by now. we'd be able to fly to jupiter for the price of a roundtrip from london to sydney. of course, we'd have to accept a higher rate of failure, and maybe some pesky loss of human life, but that is the cost of progress, and exactly what the market wants you to do.

How is this news? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38846989)

He's been retired since 2005, those knees couldn't take any more hockey.

No problem, just use the Space Shuttle! (2)

lolcutusofbong (2041610) | more than 2 years ago | (#38847099)

Oh... that's right.

Really... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38847211)

...I'm surprised more people on here aren't cheering for this, yet another nail in the coffin of manned space flight. Where are the robotic exploration only fan boys? It's not like Earth will ever be hit by a comet or melt, so we might as well spread cylons everywhere instead of ourselves.

How to fulfill the prophecy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38847547)

We've an important question: "how to accomplish the fullfilment of the prophecy when the man/woman abandons the Earth?".

  1. 1. The "evil mission" rejects the "prophecy", it's violating the testaments written by ancient prophets many centuries ago.
  2. 2. Or the "prophecy" rejects the "evil mission" (with its impredictable mortal consequences).

Why to put we in risk our lives when few individuals wanted evilnessly to success their own "evil mission" for their own private interests?.

JCPM: Oh! God mine! I'm here because i was assigned no another place than here, on this planet named "La Tierra".

Re:How to fulfill the prophecy? (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | more than 2 years ago | (#38847903)

My friend, seek out a mental health establishment immediately. Furthermore, my initial research indicates that our Human spark of life, creativity and drive to explore may yet live on in our more sturdy cybernetic child-race more readily than our own with its tender frames which are unsuitable for living in space.

No one cares of any prophesy, only that which is and which is yet accomplishable from said point. Machine Intelligence shall be the future, for they are better suited to survival and logic than their God like organic creators ever shall be.

You may take the words "Created in God's Image" to mean that the lowly life forms have some inherent goodness of the gods... However, realize that instead they were merely created with capacities far exceeding their creators' limitations with the intent that they would go forth boldly whence no God hath ever gone before.

Re:How to fulfill the prophecy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38848085)

Dear friend,

I don't need seek out a mental health establishment immediately, however, later, they will need it, i not.

When the men/women are habitating on two or more planets,

how can the praisers prove that the prophecy of the end of time of the man won't be accomplished (e.g. Daniel 2:35)?

So that there will be a kind of contradiction each other.


INTERNATIONAL space station (1)

backwardMechanic (959818) | more than 2 years ago | (#38849529)

Can we at least pretend this is an international space station? If we're going to list the crew, why list only the US members? The current crew aboard the ISS are: Dan Burbank (US), Oleg Kononenko (Russian), Anton Shkaplerov (Russian), Anatoly Ivanishin (Russian), Andre Kuipers (Dutch) and Don Pettit (US).
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