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Russia Says Next-Gen Spacecraft Design Ready

samzenpus posted about a year and a half ago | from the we-can-make-it-better dept.

ISS 59

The next generation of Russian spacecraft will be ready for test flights by 2017, according to Energia President Vitaly Lopota. 'We have completed the technical design project taking into account the fact that the new spaceship is to fly to the Moon, among other places,' he said. Federal Space Agency Roscosmos head Vladimir Popovkin says the new ship would be built by 2018 and would be able to conduct missions to the International Space Station and the Moon.

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Been there done that (0)

flyneye (84093) | about a year and a half ago | (#42410375)

'We have completed the technical design project taking into account the fact that the new spaceship is to fly to the Moon, among other places,'

ISS and where? The Bahamas? Restaurant at the end of the universe? Not a lotta stops within breathing time.

Re:Been there done that (4, Informative)

moderators_are_w*nke (571920) | about a year and a half ago | (#42410383)

At least they're trying - NASA can't even make it to the ISS since the shuttle got decommisioned.

Re:Been there done that (3, Informative)

Jafafa Hots (580169) | about a year and a half ago | (#42410739)

Not really.
You have to understand the Russian process. They announce things like this at least twice a year.

This is not a program, it's a proposal. Every year they trot out a couple of proposals (remember klipr?) and see if they can get interest and funding.

If not (and so far "not" has always been the case) then they go back to the drawing board and make another proposal in 8 or 12 months.

Over and over.

And each time Slashdot and others announce what the Russians "are building," never stopping to notice that all of the previous plans that were "nearing completion" never even resulted in a single piece of flight hardware.

Just watch. This will go nowhere, and next year there will be a different plan for a different vehicle.

We don't have a foothold (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42410835)

in space. That's the problem. Maybe elite people at the US airforce do if you believe the conspiracy theories but the public isn't privy to any meaningful easy way to get free of gravity. The only conventional engine I've seen that could end this is the Skylon engine [wikipedia.org]

Re:Been there done that (4, Insightful)

crazyjj (2598719) | about a year and a half ago | (#42410841)

This is not a program, it's a proposal. Every year they trot out a couple of proposals (remember klipr?) and see if they can get interest and funding.

If not (and so far "not" has always been the case) then they go back to the drawing board and make another proposal in 8 or 12 months.

Over and over

Pretty much everything you just said could be said about NASA too. How many times have they promised return trips to the moon and men on Mars over the decades?

Just watch. This will go nowhere, and next year there will be a different plan for a different vehicle.

Again, ditto for NASA's moon and Mars programs.

Re:Been there done that (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about a year and a half ago | (#42411597)

Well, this has a lot to do with our politics. It's a lot like the budget... the president introduces his proposal for the next 10 years. "Ok, I have 2 years left in office so NASA's 10 year plan is to go to the moon, then mars, meet some aliens and invent warp drive. The first 2 years will be the planning stages, funding will begin at 4 years..."

Next president gets into office "Ok, my 20 year plan for NASA is..."

and on and on. What we need are presidents that propose plans and budgets for their CURRENT term. Nearly every budget we've seen in modern times is a 20yr budget, but they rewrite the budget every year. So it's all a bunch of nonsense. "We'll spend more right now, but as soon as I'm out of office we'll cut spending my 50%!!!" yea, that'll happen.

Re:Been there done that (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42413711)

Or, you need to clean up and stabilize your political systems so that you can allow a leader to remain in power for 20 years. Short terms lead to short sighted plans that revolve around popularity contests. We have the same problem here in Canada. Perhaps we should be voting for a governing plan instead of a governing party?

Re:Been there done that (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42419769)

Term limits are undemocratic. If the voters don't want the leader they should stop voting for him/her or his/her party.

If they still want the same leader, why should the leader be changed because of a term limit?

Re:Been there done that (1)

Teancum (67324) | about a year and a half ago | (#42414113)

This is also the reason why the last manned spaceflight vehicle to actually fly in space was the Space Shuttle.... in spite of literally dozens of programs that were started after the Nixon administration including several with actual flight hardware (the DC-X comes to mind in particular not to mention the Ares I-X). SLS is just the latest of major NASA programs that are eventually going to be flushed down the toilet of failed programs.

Technically the Space Shuttle was even started under the Johnson administration (at least in terms of initial planning and coming up with a mission profile for the spacecraft). Lyndon Johnson was also the last President to even give a damn about the NASA budget as anything other than a jobs program for aeronautical engineers that never even needed to send stuff into space in order to be considered successful.

Re:Been there done that (1)

Hadlock (143607) | about a year and a half ago | (#42416915)

The DC-X program never made it above 10,000 ft and didn't have a follow-on project*, while the Ares I-X was an avionics package with a dummy load quite literally strapped to the top of a spare Space Shuttle SRB. The only reason the Shuttle survived as long as it did was inertia and the fact that nobody wanted to stand up and throw money at a new manned spaceflight program after the embarrassment that was the Shuttle. Thank god the Shuttle (while awesome) is dead and we can use much safer (and cheaper) technology now.
 
*unless you want to count the X-33, which as it turned out proved that SSTO is a terrible idea. SpaceX may yet beat the entire United States defense industry to a fully reusable manned spaceflight program with their grasshopper prototype that they've been actively testing.

Re:Been there done that (1)

Teancum (67324) | about a year and a half ago | (#42418983)

My point of mentioning the DC-X and Ares I-X is that those were the highlights of projects that actually got something done and had real flight hardware... post Shuttle development. The rest of the projects never even got that far, other than perhaps the "Big G" Gemini II spacecraft (proposed and developed about the same time as the Space Shuttle). All that was built for that project was a capsule prototype that was supposed to sit on top of an Atlas rocket (I think Atlas IV, but I might be mistaken). Some bent metal, but not enough to really make a difference. If this was just one or two programs that flopped, I might say that those programs were poorly managed.

Unfortunately, I'd consider DC-X and the Constellation programs to be some of the better run programs in NASA that actually made real progress. There are dozens of other projects that didn't even get that far yet for which literally billions of dollars has been tossed in that direction to get stuff done. The amazing thing was that the Shuttle even got built with that kind of bureaucracy, much less had two "return to flight" programs after the two disasters with loss of crew.

As for genuinely reusable spacecraft, I do like the Grasshopper project. Other attempts at reusable rockets include the Stig rocket by Armadillo Aerospace and the New Shepard rocket by Blue Origin. I also like the Skylon rocket by Reaction Engines.... who looks like they are bending a whole lot of metal and may give Elon Musk a run for his money. Getting back to the main topic, Russia has a whole lot of competition and they need to come out with a "next gen" vehicle if only to stay relevant. I think RKK Energia knows this all too well and understands that they are competing in a global market with intense competition.... not in the old Cold War government-financed competition where the rule was "waste anything but time".

Re:Been there done that (1)

Hadlock (143607) | about a year and a half ago | (#42416363)

Rockets take forever to plan and build, especially at the government level. SpaceX (a lean "startup" company) was founded 10 years ago and just this year started regular commercial service. Boeing, Lockheed/ULA are going to drag their feet for 15-20 years to develop a new launch system.
 
A 10 year plan is actually ambitious. Space Travel is Hard. The Orion capsule has been a complete disaster, they've been working on it since 2005, and the parachute tests have been such abject failures that they've actually reclassified the test flights to "materials testing" so that it wouldn't be as obvious that their parachute system had failed five times in a row over four years. More recently the "flight ready" capsule failed it's overpressure test (hope the cooling system doesn't fail!) and cracked a bulkhead.
 
10 years for a new space program is ambitious, right up there with building a new jetliner like the A380 or 747, except that the stakes are much higher. You can't just buy a human rated spacecraft off the shelf (unless you're Russian) and start your own space program (unless you're Chinese)

Re:Been there done that (1)

Jafafa Hots (580169) | about a year and a half ago | (#42413959)

That's true, but the process is different in that now Russians have two competing design companies rather than one bureau as we have. plus the Russians are poor enough to need international partners to pick up most of the tab. So this is a sales pitch by one of two competing Russian companies looking for both primacy within Russia, but also for foreign investment.

Whereas NASA is just trying to sell itself to Congress.

Re:Been there done that (1)

Areyoukiddingme (1289470) | about a year and a half ago | (#42412121)

What's odd is they seem to have an endless supply of money to generate paper spacecraft. Considering they never ever get funding to actually build any of these things, I really wonder how they get funding to continue fiddling around with CAD software.

We Choose Not To Go (1)

reallocate (142797) | about a year and a half ago | (#42410755)

That's got nothing to do with NASA's technical or engineering capabilities. It's solely the result of political decisions, as are all major decisions about NASA's human missions and objectives. They've all existed at the behest of the White House, and they all ended when the White House pulled the plug. Those are major decisions and NASA doesn't get to make them on its own.

It's about money. There's all kind of pushback when even marginal boosts to NASA's budget are mooted. A lot of that is cynical politics playing to ill-informed people.

We've had the capability to support a space station, a lunar base, and exploration of Mars since the Apollo era. We haven't done so because we chose not to do so.

Re:We Choose Not To Go (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about a year and a half ago | (#42411465)

To paraphrase you,

"We would have the capabilities to do anything we decided to do, if only we had decided to do it."

Is that what you're saying? If so, allow me to point out that a capability that we decided not to develop is a capability that we DO NOT HAVE. Right now, today, we can't put people into space. We can't put people on the moon. And, we damn sure can't put people on Mars. The capabilities that we once had have atrophied. Ever heard, "Use it or lose it"? It applies to technology as well as it applies to your reproductive organs.

Re:We Choose Not To Go (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42413527)

Ever heard, "Use it or lose it"? It applies to technology as well as it applies to your reproductive organs.

Huh? WTF is that supposed to mean? You're telling me they want to charge me $3000 for orchiectomy [wikipedia.org] when all I have to do is just not get laid? Amazing! How long do I have to stop screwing beautiful 20-something women before it happens?

Re:We Choose Not To Go (2)

reallocate (142797) | about a year and a half ago | (#42415969)

You fail to understand what I said.

We had the capability to go to the Moon more than 40 years ago. That capability did not atrophy through lack of use. The Saturn and Apollo programs were cancelled and defunded by Congress with the approval of President Nixon. That was a conscious political decision to eliminate that capability.

Ditto the Shuttle program: The program was cancelled and defunded.

We never, obviously, developed a Mars capability. NASA, however, had post-Apollo plans for Mars that were not funded.

The director of NASA does not wake up in the morning and decide, unilaterally, to start a program to put people in orbit, on the Moon, or anyplace else. The decisions to do those things come from the White House and the enabling legislation and the money comes from Congress.

We currently lack Government-operated manned space capability because the government does not want to do it, not because the nation lacks the capability.

Re:Been there done that (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42410387)

alpha centauri so they can look at plans for athat hyperspace highway

Re:Been there done that (2)

Chrisq (894406) | about a year and a half ago | (#42410393)

'We have completed the technical design project taking into account the fact that the new spaceship is to fly to the Moon, among other places,'

ISS and where? The Bahamas? Restaurant at the end of the universe? Not a lotta stops within breathing time.

. Maybe near-earth asteroids?

Re:Been there done that (1)

Zocalo (252965) | about a year and a half ago | (#42410441)

Near-Earth asteroids would be interesting place for a manned ship to go, but if you RTFA they also talk about de-orbiting malfunctioning satellites and large pieces of debris. Potentially that opens up orbital destinations anywhere from LEO to geostationary and maybe beyond, particularly in the case of larger and more expensive research satellites that might need maintaining.

Re:Been there done that (1)

flyneye (84093) | about a year and a half ago | (#42414791)

Well, there is a Howard Johnsons on one of them.

to the Moon, among other places,' (1)

rossdee (243626) | about a year and a half ago | (#42410467)

"ISS and where? The Bahamas? Restaurant at the end of the universe? Not a lotta stops within breathing time."

There are plenty of other places in space, its just that there is nothing there.

Setting up a sation at L5 might be a good idea...

Some assembly required (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42410767)

We need another private space industry, one specialized in designing and manufacturing habitable space station kits.
And we need yet another private space industry, one specialized in designing and manufacturing standard equipment for habitable space stations.
And then we need yet another private space industry, one specialized in assembling and equipping space stations.

Then we can proceed to build first shipyards, docks and supply storage warehouses in LEO.

Then, we will again need another industry, one that designs and makes kits and components for large interorbital passenger spaceships (sort of better shielded, moving space stations with propulsion).

Then, we can set up orbital stations and supply depots throughout our solar system and use them to support our endeavors of putting permanent human presence in interesting places.

Re:Been there done that (1)

Zimluura (2543412) | about a year and a half ago | (#42410559)

in the article they talk about de-orbiting satelites. so, those were likely the other places.

Re:Been there done that (2)

dbIII (701233) | about a year and a half ago | (#42410577)

Not a lotta stops within breathing time.

No shit Sherlock! Maybe they'll inspect a Legrange.

Re:Been there done that (1)

Megane (129182) | about a year and a half ago | (#42410611)

Ah, yes, the Legrange, the 2WD version of the Canyonero. [google.com]

Re:Been there done that (2)

dbIII (701233) | about a year and a half ago | (#42410675)

I could have thrown in Baker Street, Watson, and maybe a Hound wrapped in Scarlet, but I thought the bad pun about L5 (or others) and Sherlock Holmes was obvious enough as it was.

Re:Been there done that (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42412937)

Clearly it wasn't, and your follow up did not make it any clearer.

Re:Been there done that (1)

gmuslera (3436) | about a year and a half ago | (#42410785)

Mars? Asteroids? ISS 2.0? a future space factory/hotel/other kind of building? and of course the ubiquitous "where no man has gone before" (that it be labeled The Next Generation somehow hints that destination)

Re:Been there done that (1)

cheesybagel (670288) | about a year and a half ago | (#42412787)

I read the press release. Then I noticed it was Energia doing the announcement. You can dismiss this as a marketing exercise. When it is Roskosmos doing the announcement then I'll get interested. Is this using the triple RD-180 launcher they showed a couples of years back or what?

I've lost count (3, Interesting)

DerekLyons (302214) | about a year and a half ago | (#42410399)

I've lost count of how many "next generation" the Russians have announced as being "practically ready" or terms amounting to the same thing.

Not to mention the article is silent on whether this is actually a new design or a new iteration of the Soyuz. If it's the former, then we're likely looking at yet more Russian vaporware. The latter actually might come to pass.

Re:I've lost count (2, Insightful)

_merlin (160982) | about a year and a half ago | (#42410411)

Nah, now that DPRK has shown that they can put a satellite in a near-perfect sun-synchronous polar orbit on the second try, there's dick-waving to be done. Just wait, they'll deliver something. Expect to see the Chinese space program accelerate, too.

Re:I've lost count (1)

Sponge Bath (413667) | about a year and a half ago | (#42411145)

...there's dick-waving to be done.

That's my daily affirmation before I wade into the rat race.

Re:I've lost count (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42414229)

As far as I'm concerned, money spent on waving dicks in space does us all more good than money spent on waving guns down here on Earth. It'd be nice to see people try to compete to be the best at something that doesn't involve killing or stealing.

Re:I've lost count (3, Interesting)

tp1024 (2409684) | about a year and a half ago | (#42410477)

There is one difference ever since the price of oil approached and then surpassed (for some time) $100 per barrel after 2005 or so: those claims are backed up with money for the first time since the end of the the Soviet Union.

Re:I've lost count (1)

Jeng (926980) | about a year and a half ago | (#42413029)

$100 per barrel after 2005 or so: those claims are backed up with money for the first time since the end of the the Soviet Union.

Claims backed by money that will be embezzled quicker than it can be put to use.

Re:I've lost count (1)

crazyjj (2598719) | about a year and a half ago | (#42410879)

I've lost count of how many "next generation" the Russians have announced as being "practically ready" or terms amounting to the same thing.

And that's different from NASA how, exactly? It would seem that both countries, for the last 3 decades, have been very big on promises, not so hot on delivery.

Paper spacecraft (3, Interesting)

benjfowler (239527) | about a year and a half ago | (#42410445)

Paper (or Powerpoint) spacecraft and launch systems are a dime a dozen.

Even when they DO tool up their factories and begin production, they need to get on top of their industries' QA issues as well. I would think that the somewhat less-than-stellar track record of their newer systems (e.g. Briz-M), suggests that they have a lot of work to do.

Giant Putin Head (3, Funny)

mumblestheclown (569987) | about a year and a half ago | (#42410455)

I'm guessing it's a Giant Putin Head with frickin lasers. Amirite?

Next gen is such a stupid name. (1)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about a year and a half ago | (#42410457)

In my company when we did a major upgrade of our coding environment we needed a good name for the whole project. We were following a scheme where the code tree was named by a number. Like "/vobs/$company/three/source" or /vobs/$company/six/source. But this one was supposed to be such a huge big deal we needed to depart from the old scheme. What did they come up with? Nextgen. That was way back in 2000. Now for more than a decade we are stuck with that name. What do we do next? /vobs/$company/next2nextgen/? and then /vobs/$company/next3nextgen/? So stupid. At least the cell phone techies learnt the lesson and started using 3G and 4G.

Hope the Russians name their technology something other than Next Gen Spacecraft.

Re:Next gen is such a stupid name. (1)

O('_')O_Bush (1162487) | about a year and a half ago | (#42410561)

I can't find anywhere that says the new rockets are named Next Gen anything. The title's usage was as an adjective.

Re:Next gen is such a stupid name. (1)

todrules (882424) | about a year and a half ago | (#42410673)

In Soviet Russia, project names YOU.

Re:Next gen is such a stupid name. (1)

gmuslera (3436) | about a year and a half ago | (#42410729)

In Soviet Russia, Moon comes to YOU. Prepare for the impact.

Re:Next gen is such a stupid name. (1)

mcgrew (92797) | about a year and a half ago | (#42411535)

Hope the Russians name their technology something other than Next Gen Spacecraft.

Actually, that's both a mistranslation and a typo. It's Next GIN Spacecraft (the typo) that uses Vodka as a propellant (the mistranslation).

les miserables (3, Insightful)

drankr (2796221) | about a year and a half ago | (#42410481)

Some poor folk would rather see no progress in space exploration than have Russians get us there. I pity those folks from the bottom of my heart - and fingers crossed for Russians, and anyone else willing to invest money, knowledge, experience and time into these projects. Good luck!

Re:les miserables (0)

sensationull (889870) | about a year and a half ago | (#42410613)

Thankyou, I agree fully, almost any progress is good progress when it comes to space, China blowing stuff up and cluttering up LEO accepted http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/6289519.stm [bbc.co.uk] of course.

Re:les miserables (2)

Teun (17872) | about a year and a half ago | (#42410735)

Thankyou, I agree fully, almost any progress is good progress when it comes to space, China blowing stuff up and cluttering up LEO accepted http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/6289519.stm [bbc.co.uk] of course.

I hope you don't know what that bold word means...

Re:les miserables (1)

mha (1305) | about a year and a half ago | (#42410945)

I was about to build a (fully functional) anti-gravity drive the other day, but I was reminded by someone like you that it does nothing for the hungry in the world. So I abandoned my project and deleted all files.

No Picture :( (1)

m.shenhav (948505) | about a year and a half ago | (#42410771)

I clicked an there was no picture. Lame!

Re:No Picture :( (1)

Sulphur (1548251) | about a year and a half ago | (#42411177)

I clicked an there was no picture. Lame!

Lame'

Meanwhile, here in the USA... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42410849)

Congress hasn't passed a budget since 2009, but they have plenty of time to renew their domestic spying powers.

mod 3Own (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42411127)

Look aT the be on a wrong

It's about time for Next-Gen! (2)

Spy Handler (822350) | about a year and a half ago | (#42412061)

After all, their current-gen Soyuz capsule and R-7 rocket were designed in the 1950's (by their legendary Chief Designer Korolev)

If the Russians built game consoles, they'd still be running Super NES.

Re:It's about time for Next-Gen! (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | about a year and a half ago | (#42413147)

It's an R-7 family of rockets. Meaning that it's not the same design, but an incremental development of the original design to adapt to new requirements over time. Which is exactly how you do things in real world if you want reliability and no cost overruns.

Re:It's about time for Next-Gen! (1)

EdgePenguin (2646733) | about a year and a half ago | (#42413529)

Most of the big increments were complete by 1970s. Then it was just tweaking - and most of that tweaking was done under the USSR. Bear in mind that we are still less than 1 working lifetime from the USSR collapsed. The Russian space program is still very much running on communist momentum.

Re:It's about time for Next-Gen! (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | about a year and a half ago | (#42414977)

After all, their current-gen Soyuz capsule and R-7 rocket were designed in the 1950's (by their legendary Chief Designer Korolev)

The current generation Soyuz (capsule) only dates from 2010 - and bears very little relationship (beyond a a general moldline) with the first Soyuz design... from 1963. The current version Soyuz (booster) only dates from 2001 - and like the capsule, has evolved considerably across the decades.
 

If the Russians built game consoles, they'd still be running Super NES.

It might look like a Super NES, but it would have the guts of Nintendo 64.
 
Seriously, the Russian space program has a lot of problems, but flying sixty year old designs isn't one of them. They've kept the name and the general appearance, but don't be fooled by these surface similarities.

nope (1)

ZankerH (1401751) | about a year and a half ago | (#42412459)

Just another powerpoint rocket from Putinist Russia. Like Kliper, Parom, MAKS, Rus', etc, it'll never make it into production and service as long as the official policy towards Russian rocket scientists is "the beatings will continue until morale improves".
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