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Russia's New Cosmodome Approved

CowboyNeal posted more than 6 years ago | from the goink-back-into-space dept.

Space 83

eldavojohn writes "You may recall discussing Baikonur, the Kazakhstan city rented by Russia that has been used as a launch site for quite some time. Today, Putin has just approved construction of Vostochny between 2010 and 2018 which will be positioned in the far east of Russia to complement the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in the northern part of the country. This is not bad news for Kazakhstan as the director of the Russian Federal Space Agency has announced they plan to operate this facility alongside Baikonur."

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fp (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21451347)

russia blows

Re:fp (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21451371)

It does. Always funny how countries which cannot provide their citizens their basic needs often spend money on crazy projects like this... Russia, China, India, United States to just name a few...

Re:fp (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21451523)

russia blows
Indeed, much of the gay "twink" porn is, shal we say, cumming from Russia these days...

Re:fp (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21451591)

Ummm, stop watching so much gay porn bro. Or not... it's a free country.

Long term, this is a good thing. (3, Interesting)

mlts (1038732) | more than 6 years ago | (#21451353)

Russia having two space ports (similar to how the US has the Kennedy and Johnson space centers) is going to be one of the best things they can do. The more efficient the process of launching stuff into Earth orbit, not to mention out of orbit for interplanetary missions, the closer everyone comes to space based living.

A multinational space race (or even better, cooperative missions) benefits everyone, even if its the side effects of materials developed for aerospace programs being used for everyday life.

This is a gamble on Putin's behalf, but it can pay off big for Russia, because people will be contracting with them for launches of private satellites (new ones, and replacements for existing satellites.)

Cosmodome: 2 Astronauts enter, 1 Astronauts leave (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21451421)

Cosmodome: Two Astronauts enter, One Astronauts leaves.

Post-Soviet Russia just got a lot more interesting.

Re:Long term, this is a good thing. (0, Troll)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 6 years ago | (#21451755)

Russia having two space ports (similar to how the US has the Kennedy and Johnson space centers) is going to be one of the best things they can do. The more efficient the process of launching stuff into Earth orbit, not to mention out of orbit for interplanetary missions, the closer everyone comes to space based living.
See, why the heck "everyone" would want space-based living is beyond me. There's some darned nice stuff in Terrestrial living, like flowers and trees and grass and an atmosphere. What's the huge advantage of recreating all that stuff in space? Don't tell me it's "more room" or any garbage like that; it's fairly well-established there is plenty of space on the ground for people, it's the resources to support said people that impose limits on population capacity... and shooting things up into space doesn't do much to create more of such resources, either.

A multinational space race (or even better, cooperative missions) benefits everyone, even if its the side effects of materials developed for aerospace programs being used for everyday life.
Yes, but: does it benefit everyone more than the tax money spent on such matters was just left in peoples' paychecks, to do whatever money normally does from that point on? This is not immediately obvious. Sure, previous space / weapons research money hit the jackpot by leading to cheap transistors and Computers, but I suspect this wild success is the exception, rather than the rule.

Re:Long term, this is a good thing. (1)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 6 years ago | (#21451823)

"but I suspect this wild success is the exception, rather than the rule."

why, whats your logic behind that, because you give very good examples of WHY such technology races benifit us then proceed to try trash it based on nothing.

everytime man has been invovled in competition of this nature, he has produced better tech, and there's no reason to think we won't this time.

Re:Long term, this is a good thing. (3, Insightful)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 6 years ago | (#21452039)

"but I suspect this wild success is the exception, rather than the rule."

why, whats your logic behind that, because you give very good examples of WHY such technology races benifit us then proceed to try trash it based on nothing. everytime man has been invovled in competition of this nature, he has produced better tech, and there's no reason to think we won't this time.

Couple of things. First, we've already done a Space Race. The problems of Space have been attacked, and been solved (to within the appropriate mission parameters as applicable). There are diminishing returns on research in the area. Sending a crew to the Moon, sending a crew to Mars.... it's a quantitative difference, sure, but it's not the same deal as sending people up there to begin with. Secondly, on that note, I don't think the Next Big Thing is going to be spectacularly space-related. Biotech/genetics, possibly, or maybe some nanomateriwhatever stuff, but not so much Spacey. I mean, even practical fusion power (which would be an awesome next-big-thing and which could be construed as Spacey) isn't something that you could reasonably expect to walk away from a new major space program with.

Past performance does not necessarily indicate future results... it'd be naive to assume that throwing money at space will keep coming back with awesomely wonderful things, and there are so many things that we could be spending money on, research and otherwise.

Re:Long term, this is a good thing. (1)

rbanffy (584143) | more than 6 years ago | (#21452499)

"See, why the heck "everyone" would want space-based living is beyond me"

Call it asteroid insurance. Some day Earth may face a big chunk of rock we will not be able to avoid. The one that killed the dinosaurs was big, but there is not much of an upper limit to the size of the rocks that fall from the sky and, while our civilization could survive something that size (even get rid of it, if we had the time), we may not be so lucky when it's our turn and out rock can be much bigger or faster.

And I am not limiting my considerations to kinetic foes. Any significant star-sized mishap close enough (read, depending on size, a couple hundred light-years _is_ close enough) can bath the Earth in lethal radiation without any early warning. It would not even have to be directly lethal as just wiping out half of our Ozone layer is a quite deadly situation.

The fact something incredibly bad hasn't happened for the last couple hundred million years brings little comfort.

Having self-sustaining outposts in as many as possible places is a clever thing to do for a species because very bad things happen.

Re:Long term, this is a good thing. (1)

markov_chain (202465) | more than 6 years ago | (#21454237)

I'll second this to undo a mismoderation ;)

Re:Long term, this is a good thing. (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 6 years ago | (#21452115)

The more efficient the process of launching stuff into Earth orbit, not to mention out of orbit for interplanetary missions, the closer everyone comes to space based living.

Space based living will not become practical until in-orbit or lunar colonies become self-sufficient. I think it will probably require some kind of breakthrough in technology or economics, not just incremental improvements. Space mining is still too expensive.
       

Re:Long term, this is a good thing. (3, Informative)

Chief Wongoller (1081431) | more than 6 years ago | (#21452543)

"This is a gamble on Putin's behalf, but it can pay off big for Russia, because people will be contracting with them for launches of private satellites (new ones, and replacements for existing satellites.)"

That's not what the Russians seem to have in mind. First deputy prime minister, Sergei Ivanov has stated that "urgent measures needed to be taken to develop the country as a leading space power, rather than as a provider of launch services for other countries." and "Russia should not turn into a country providing only launching services". In addition manned launches will not be made from the new base until 2018, and the Khazak base is only guaranteed to remain in use until 2020. This is about Russia re-establishing itself as a world power and as such is driven by nationalism, so who needs, or rather wants, the cooperation of a renegade break-away state?

Source of my info is domainb,com <domainb.com/industry/aerospace/20071121_vostochny.htm>

Re:Long term, this is a good thing. (1)

frinkacheese (790787) | more than 6 years ago | (#21452819)

Why would anybody want to live in space? Just live in a small London flat instead, it'll be pretty much the same.

You'll have no space to put anything, pizza will never get delivered and it'll cost a fortune and take ages to go out anywhere.

Re:Long term, this is a good thing. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21453803)

JSC is not a "spaceport". There is only one launch site in the U.S. that to date has been used for manned launches, and that is KSC/Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Vandenberg Air Force Base in California almost became a second U.S. manned launch site when preparations were underway to fly shuttles from SLC-6, but that venture was abandoned in the wake of the first Shuttle accident.

Unmanned U.S. orbital launches have been conducted from KSC/CCAFS, from Wallops Island in Virginia, and from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. (A small air launched satellite might have been successfully fired from a Douglas Skyray originating from China Lake in the late '50's, but orbit could not be confirmed). Other rocket launch sites that would arguably be prospective sites for orbital launches might include Kodiak Island, Alaska, Barking Sands, Hawaii, White Sands and various island sites in the Pacific, including Omelek Island in the Kwajalein archipeligo where SpaceX has flown two Falcon rockets to date, though neither achieved orbit). Kistler was talking about launching over Dept. of Energy land in Nevada. Matagorda Island, Texas was host to Gary Hudson's unsuccessful Percheron (which was destroyed during testing) and to Space Services' suborbital Conestoga rocket (based on an Aries sounding rocket). This doesn't attempt to consider all the other places that Orbital Sciences might stage an airlaunched Pegasus flight from, or the SeaLaunch platform. If we limit consideration to sites within the boundary of a U.S. state, that is either presently launching satellites or those that are presently equipped and actively ready to accomodate an orbital launch, the list probably consist of four locations: KSC/CCAFS, Wallops, Vandenberg, and Kodiak.

By comparison, the Russians to date have flown manned missions only out of Baikonur. They also have launched satellites from Plesetsk, from Kapustin Yar and from Svobodny (this is not counting submarine launched flights, which are conducted at sea).

Future launch sites aside, that means that both the U.S. and Russia have four orbital sites (current or past) and one manned orbital launch site each. The only distinction is that the Russian manned launch site is on leased property in another country, so their motivation to create a suitable launch site within their borders is understandable. These numbers are likely to change to one degree or another in the future, both through Russia's search for alternative launch sites and the development of new, private spaceports in the U.S.

Kazakh's tired of toxic threat (1)

amightywind (691887) | more than 6 years ago | (#21454499)

Russia is building a spaceport in the far east because Kazakhstan is weary of toxic Proton launcher first stages crashing in their territory. Proton's are loaded with UDMH, a dangerous carcinogen, and Nitrogen Tetroxide, a highly concentrated acid. Central Asia is strewn with spent first stages of Protons and Soyuz. Like Baikonur the new spaceport would be located above 45 deg N, which requires increased rocket performance to launch most payloads compared to lower latitude launch sites like Cape Canaveral or Kourou. The high (52deg) inclination of the ISS is a compromise for the Russian launch site. As a result there are fewer launch opportunities for the shuttle. By the way, Johnson Space Center is not a launch site. Perhaps your are referring to Vandenberg AFB in California.

If slashdot thinks this story is newsworthy they should also post one about the new Chinese launch site [space.com] on Hainan Island.

Re: two space centers (1)

tcgroat (666085) | more than 6 years ago | (#21458683)

The Johnson Space Center in Houston is a control center rather than a launch site, so it's not directly comparable to what's being described in the article. There are US launch sites at Vandenberg AFB and Point Mugu NAS, but these are suitable only for launches to high inclination (polar) orbits. There's too much population density to lauch eastward from there, and a westward lauch incurs about 2500 km/hr velocity penalty because of the earth's rotation. I expect Russia to continue using Baikonur for heavy lift launches to the ISS and other low-inclination orbits. It takes less fuel to reach these orbit from latitudes closer to the equator than ones farther north or south. This is especially so for geosynchronous orbits, because a more delta-v is needed to change a high inclination path to zero inclination. On the other hand a near-polar launch site works well for polar orbits--provided your crew and equipment can handle the cold climate that comes with those locations.

cool names (1)

rjason (941321) | more than 6 years ago | (#21460259)

The Russkys have cool names for everything.

*sigh* (2, Insightful)

ari_j (90255) | more than 6 years ago | (#21451357)

There's a big difference between a cosmodrome and a cosmodome. I got my hopes up really high from the story title, just to have them dashed by the blurb.

Re:*sigh* (1)

Keith McClary (14340) | more than 6 years ago | (#21451449)

But which is right, the title or the blurb? And what's a drome?

My K-spellchecker thinks Cosmodome is OK, but not Cosmodrome, cosmodome or cosmodrome.

Re:*sigh* (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#21451767)

yes, cause I often fly my plane around in an aerodome.

Re:*sigh* (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21453497)

> Did I mention I got married? [youtube.com]

Huh? Why would anyone reading Slashdot care?

Re:*sigh* (1)

plover (150551) | more than 6 years ago | (#21454011)

Cosmodrome is correct. It's just a name given by the Russians to their launch facilities. The Baikonur Cosmodrome is their oldest and most famous, their equivalent to our Kennedy Space Center.

Re:*sigh* (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21451623)

Both are vastly inferior to a technodrome, however.

Re:*sigh* (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 6 years ago | (#21451643)

Which, strangely enough, actually is somewhat dome shaped.

Re:*sigh* (1)

CmdrGravy (645153) | more than 6 years ago | (#21453599)

And indeed a Thunderdrome, that's what Russia should be concentrating on building now.

Re:*sigh* (1)

RuBLed (995686) | more than 6 years ago | (#21451735)

You see it is now late Friday afternoon here and I had a challenging work week, tired, etc... I read the title as Russia's New Condomdome Approved. I got excited but like you, the excitement had been dashed by the blurb...

Re:*sigh* (1)

Martian_Kyo (1161137) | more than 6 years ago | (#21452389)

same here, isn't dyslexia fun?1

[sic] (1)

cathector (972646) | more than 6 years ago | (#21451369)

the style-sheet or whatever for /. summaries should contain a mandatory "[sic]" at the end of the body.
which this one in particular needs like seven of.

Re:[sic] (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21451431)

You really are a pissy little bitch arent you?

Re:[sic] (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21451503)

You really are a pissy little bitch arent you?

[sic]

Re:[sic] (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21451739)

lolz!

Re:lovelly[sic] (1)

Migraineman (632203) | more than 6 years ago | (#21453409)

Oh, that's wonderful. At first glance, this appears to be another post from the illiterati, but the lack of speling erorrs indicates otherwise. Well done.

I know, I know (0)

adamkennedy (121032) | more than 6 years ago | (#21451417)

In Soviet Russia, cosmodromes launch from you!

ISR (3, Funny)

The Clockwork Troll (655321) | more than 6 years ago | (#21451451)

In Soviet Russia, the Ritz is Putin on YOU.

Re:ISR (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21454697)

Took me a moment to get that - ++ good.

All Hail! (1)

postmortem (906676) | more than 6 years ago | (#21451461)

All Hail Our Space Russian Overlords!

Good news (2, Funny)

icepick72 (834363) | more than 6 years ago | (#21451479)

Borat was excited for his country.

Re:Good news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21451743)

In my country, we have problem. Women in my country try spacial prostitute contest. My sister, Natalia came first. She knows that gravity when she kisses Popsicles upside down.

Borat in Space - coming out soon in 2020

Trust me, they will deliver... (2, Insightful)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 6 years ago | (#21451483)

Despite what we in the west think about the Russians, I strongly believe they will deliver on this given their track record.

I also know that when they finally deliver, the whole atmosphere will be met with very little fanfare unlike in the US.

I guess it's not in them to seek publicity unlike we in the west.

Now for those who might think this post is "flamebait", I'd like to remind them that the Soviet Union, much of which became today's Russia had and still has the biggest, heaviest and highest-capacity flying aircraft in service today. And this was put in service more than ten years ago...again, with little fanfare.

Contrast that with the Airbus A380 that the [TV] networks appeared not to get fed up of when it made its first commercial flight. Ohh, what about the Space Shuttle which continues to make news whenever it's to lift off or land. On this front, the Russians just fire their Soyuz craft as if it's just another chore!

Re:Trust me, they will deliver... (1)

Harmonious Botch (921977) | more than 6 years ago | (#21451563)

Contrast that with the Airbus A380 that the [TV] networks appeared not to get fed up of when it made its first commercial flight
When you're a socialist country, you don't even think of advertising. I mean, a custormer? What is this thing you call a 'customer', tovarich?

Re:Trust me, they will deliver... (3, Informative)

arivanov (12034) | more than 6 years ago | (#21451769)

Actualy when the Mria (An225) launched the customer was there. The Russian space program, Buran, the military complex, you name it. All of these were mothballed or frozen 15 years ago and not entirely unexpectedly so did the Mria. For the last 15 years its little brother - the An124 did the heavy hawling. Now the market for ultraheavy loads is opening again so it was once again taken to the skies: http://www.airliners.net/open.file/1296054/L/ [airliners.net] . Compared to it the A380 is a dwarf.

IMO while awesome it is not that much of a technological achievement. It may be big, but it ain't revolutionary in any sense.

Now this http://www.airliners.net/open.file/1295104/M/ [airliners.net] is something out of a different league. It may not take a large load, but its take-off and landing requirements (a field only slightly bigger than a football pitch) are in the realm of the insane.

Same for some of the specs for this one: http://www.airliners.net/open.file/1262070/M/ [airliners.net] .

Both of these are so far ahead of anything in their class it is not even funny.

Re:Trust me, they will deliver... (1)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 6 years ago | (#21452329)

When you're a socialist country, you don't even think of advertising.
Argh! The US usage of "socialism" in derogatory form vs the more European term... My country (Sweden) has a long tradition of "socialist" governments and I'm happy for it. Not that I saw an effect on advertisement though. :-p You could gladly have some of ours. ;-) Where I wouldn't like to go is to communism.

Re:Trust me, they will deliver... (2, Insightful)

quanticle (843097) | more than 6 years ago | (#21451621)

Despite what we in the west think about the Russians, I strongly believe they will deliver on this given their track record. I also know that when they finally deliver, the whole atmosphere will be met with very little fanfare unlike in the US.

That's because of a fundamental difference between Soviet/Russian space policy and American space policy. The Soviet space mission was always viewed as a military one, while the American space agency was a civilian organization. Therefore, there was always more fanfare around American launches, simply because NASA made itself more accessible to the public than the equivalent Soviet agency.

Now for those who might think this post is "flamebait", I'd like to remind them that the Soviet Union, much of which became today's Russia had and still has the biggest, heaviest and highest-capacity flying aircraft in service today. And this was put in service more than ten years ago...again, with little fanfare.

Again, you're comparing apples and oranges. The AN-225 [aerospaceweb.org] was originally envisioned as a special carrier for the canceled Buran [aerospaceguide.net] space shuttle. Only one was ever built, and even it was in storage until 2000, at which point it was retooled into a conventional transport. To compare a custom-built transport originally built for a single purpose to a multi-use mass-produced jetliner is unfair. You may as well compare Formula 1 cars to Toyota Camrys.

Re:Trust me, they will deliver... (1)

ferespo (899921) | more than 6 years ago | (#21453039)

Therefore, there was always more fanfare around American launches, simply because NASA made itself more accessible to the public than the equivalent Soviet agency.

Tell me then why did Americans send a man to the moon in the first place?

Re:Trust me, they will deliver... (1)

quanticle (843097) | more than 6 years ago | (#21456227)

We sent a man to the moon to demonstrate out superiority over the Soviets. However, that does not diminish the fact that our space program was conducted in far less secrecy than the Soviet space program. Thus, the current lack of fanfare around the Russian space program is due to the historic secrecy of the program, and not due to some kind of imagined modesty possessed by the Russian government.

Re:Trust me, they will deliver... (1)

adamkennedy (121032) | more than 6 years ago | (#21451669)

flamebait, nah.

Now if I could mod a post "strawman"...

Re:Trust me, they will deliver... (1)

edwardpickman (965122) | more than 6 years ago | (#21451681)

Where have you been, you only get Flamebaited on Slashdot when you defend the US. I often boast of Russias accomplishments because the US is buried in beaurocracy. The US could have beaten the Soviet Union with a satellite, it was ready a year ahead of the Soviet Union but government wouldn't let them launch. They also were prepared to launcha a man into orbit before the Russsians but instead launched a Chimp. The US is still the only one to land a man on the Moon let alone do it repeatedly and that was with 60s era technology. They dropped the heavy lift Saturn rockets in favor of the space shuttle which was a glorified satellite maintainence platform, a primary reason for all the blacked out missions in the 80s. Also if you think the Russians never seek publicity for their accomplishments I take it you are extremely young or don't watch the news much. The Russians are quite vocal with every achievement. I believe the complaint is more about Western press but Pravda is equally slanted. I still think the Mir was an amazing achievement but a lot of Russian progress came with a heavy toll of lives. They took cheaper lower tech approaches that came with higher risk. Up until the Shuttle NASA had an amazing safety record. There's a lot to respect about what the Russians have done with fewer resources but knocking the West is cherry picking your facts. Russia has a miserable track record when it comes to Mars and they've never done anything approaching the rovers. They have managed a landing on Venus which is impressive inspite of the craft being short lived. If you look objectively both the US and Russia have similar accomplishments when you make adjustments for financial and political restrictions, Ironically the west tends to have the money but politics tends to hamper progress. As far as the largest aircraft the Russians always took the big dick approach having the biggest of everything from aircraft to largest nuclear explosion whether it was practical or not. It was a cold war propaganda thing of boasting about having the biggest. Since the end of the cold war you noticed that trend changed to more practical weapons and aircraft than simply the largest.

reposted with formatting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21452239)

Where have you been? You only get Flamebaited on Slashdot when you defend the US.

I often boast of Russia's accomplishments because the US is buried in bureaucracy.

The US could have beaten the Soviet Union with a satellite: it was ready a year ahead of the Soviet Union but government wouldn't let them launch.

The US was also prepared to launch a man into orbit before the Russsians but instead launched a chimp. Note that the US is still the only country to have landed a man on the Moon, let alone repeatedly, and that was with 1960s era technology.

The US dropped the heavy lift Saturn rockets in favor of the Space Shuttle which was a glorified satellite maintainence platform; a primary reason for all the blacked-out missions in the 1980s.

Also, if you think the Russians never seek publicity for their accomplishments I take it you are extremely young or don't watch the news much. The Russians are quite vocal with every achievement. I believe the complaint is more about Western press but Pravda is equally slanted.

I still think the Mir was an amazing achievement but a lot of Russian progress came with a heavy toll of lives. They took cheaper, lower tech approaches that came with higher risk. Up until the Shuttle NASA had an amazing safety record.

There's a lot to respect about what the Russians have done with fewer resources but knocking the West is cherry picking your facts.

Russia has a miserable track record when it comes to Mars and they've never done anything approaching the rovers. They have managed a landing on Venus which is impressive in spite of the craft being short-lived.

If you look objectively, both the US and Russia have similar accomplishments, when you make adjustments for financial and political restrictions. Ironically, the West tends to have the money but politics tends to hamper progress.

As far as the largest aircraft, the Russians always took the big dick approach of having the biggest of everything from aircraft to largest nuclear explosion, whether practical or not. It was a cold war propaganda thing of boasting about having the biggest. Since the end of the cold war, the trend has shifted to more practical weapons and aircraft than simply the largest.

Re:Trust me, they will deliver... (3, Insightful)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 6 years ago | (#21451707)

Despite what we in the west think about the Russians, I strongly believe they will deliver on this given their track record.

Huh? Their track record over the last fifteen odd years is of one project after another that fails to materialize - or is delivered years late.
 
 

I guess it's not in them to seek publicity unlike we in the west.

That would explain the endless stream of glossy presentations, especially from their space industry, promising ever more wonderful accomplishments. (None of which, as noted above, have ever amounted to anything.)
 
 

Now for those who might think this post is "flamebait", I'd like to remind them that the Soviet Union, much of which became today's Russia had and still has the biggest, heaviest and highest-capacity flying aircraft in service today. And this was put in service more than ten years ago...again, with little fanfare.

It's not that your post is flamebait, it's just disconnected from the facts. The AN-225 was put into service nearly twenty years ago in the Soviet Union - with a great deal of fanfare. It was then mothballed with the fall of the Soviet Union. When it was placed back into service, it wasn't Russia that placed it in service - but a private company. While it did recieve a great deal of fanfare in the appropriate circles, like all cargo aircraft it was soundly ignored by the media. Comparing it with the A-380 is comparing apples and oranges.
 
 

Ohh, what about the Space Shuttle which continues to make news whenever it's to lift off or land. On this front, the Russians just fire their Soyuz craft as if it's just another chore!

Again the disconnection with facts... It may not make the Western media, but it does the Russian each time it launches or lands.

Re:Trust me, they will deliver... (2, Insightful)

MrKaos (858439) | more than 6 years ago | (#21452067)

Both space programs had some fantastic accomplishments (Russian space endurance and American science and moon landings), and any criticism you can level at one you can level at the other. The reality is that America's space program was born of Industrial might and the Russiam program was born from political might. Where the Russian program was pragmatic the American program was ambitious, I admire both.

Both programs were driven from the passion of just two men - Korolov and Von Braun - championing similar goals, to advance humanity into the space age. The reality is the space age was born out of the paranoia of the other capability to inflict harm. Our risk mitigated litigious society doesn't do things "because they are hard" to achieve any more, instead our mantra is "better, faster, cheaper". Both programs are now the victims of pork barreling and both suffer from a critical "lack of relevance" to Joe Public.

More than likely the Baikonur cosmodrome will be opened up to more commercial use as it gets more expensive to maintain, so additional launch facilities have got to be a good thing. The shuttle downtime did demonstrate that collaboration works when it comes to utilising redundancy in a space program, which is a positive outcome for the ISS. I just wonder how much could be achieved if co-operation and standardisation across space programs were the norm and not just an exception.

Re:Trust me, they will deliver... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21456967)

oh, what a flaming dork! They built shuttle-equivalent - Buran in 1980s, then looked at how much it was costing and canned it. Yeah, they didn't really have the money to run the Buran program so they took the practical route by designing rockets that have the best bang for the buck ratio.
Unlike USA they don't have 9 trillion dollars in debt and are working hard on getting that 300 billion debt down to zero. You just wait until China reprices its currency - we'll all be working for Chinese elite alongside China's poor working class.

I hope they deliver - but I don't expect it (1)

tetromino (807969) | more than 6 years ago | (#21452133)

Over the past 15 years, Russia has achieved a great transformation. It has become a modern capitalist society with a Western-style consumerist culture, a rapidly growing economy, and a stable political system. But at the same time it has lost much; among other things, it no longer has the capacity to do any serious space exploration.

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia's industrial and scientific capacity has been decimated. The criminal oligarchs who took over Russian industries invested in yachts and London real estate, but never in their factories. The corrupt and incompetent officials of the Yeltsin era let world-leading research institutes fade into shadows from underfunding and brain drain. During the era of economic collapse and hyperinflation, when state-owned enterprises routinely delayed salaries for months, most intelligent or enterprising people went into commerce, crime, or simply left the country. The scientists, engineers, and skilled workers who remained are, alas, too few and too old to sustain Putin's vision for Russia's development.

This is precisely the quality of Russian cars fell after the collapse of the USSR. This is why the Clipper spaceship exists only as a mockup. This is why the lead Project 677 submarine is still not ready after 10 years of construction work. This is why Russia still doesn't have a 5th generation fighter jet.

If Russia wants to become a great power again, it needs a new era of massive investment in infrastructure, science, and the industrial complex, like in the 1700s, the 1890s, and the 1930s. Otherwise, it risks degenerating into an American or Chinese oil-producing satellite, a frozen and shabby Saudi Arabia. But even if the next president pursues such a program, which is not at all certain, it will take a decade for results to be felt. Realistically, I fear Putin's plan for space development is a dream that would be realized many years behind schedule, if at all.

Re:I hope they deliver - but I don't expect it (1)

tftp (111690) | more than 6 years ago | (#21457757)

This is precisely the quality of Russian cars fell after the collapse of the USSR

I take it you never drove the original Zhiguli [wikipedia.org] then, or Moskvitch [wikipedia.org] , or heavens forbid a Zaporozhets [wikipedia.org] ?

To get a driver's license you had to study the workings of the car, and for a good reason - more than likely on a dark road, under rain, you'd have to open the hood and clean the contacts of the ignition (on Moskvitch) or to rearrange the wet rag on the fuel pump (Zhiguli) or just curse impotently (any ZAZ.) Very few Soviet cars were well made; Volga [wikipedia.org] was rumored to be better than most, but completely unobtainable to an average man.

This is why the Clipper spaceship exists only as a mockup

The Clipper exists only as a mockup because the technology does not exist to build it cheaply enough, and nobody wants to repeat the financial performance of the Shuttle. There were a few bids, and none of them was good enough to start the project. So it got postponed, and the money is currently being used to work with European Space Agency - to develop something that has a chance.

Realistically, I fear Putin's plan for space development is a dream that would be realized many years behind schedule, if at all.

As Lao Tzu said, "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step."

Russian politics...may not happen for a while (3, Informative)

mev (36558) | more than 6 years ago | (#21452237)

I strongly believe they will deliver on this given their track record.

Note that the announcement comes one week before the Russian Parliamentary elections set for December 2nd. Putin is term limited as President but has vowed to run for Parliament and speculated that he could continue to rule as a strong prime minister.

What has actually been announced is a feasibility study to decide a location by 2010, and intentions to build start in 2018. The Amur Region that is named is the same one where Putin announced on February 26th, 2003 that he was opening a new road across Siberia and that 2008 it would be paved. That was coincidentally three weeks before the last Russian Presidential election. I have been across the Amur Highway this year (2007) and while a lot of good work has been done, there is no way the Amur Highway will be entirely paved in 2008, nor for that matter by 2010 (Putin's last announcement on the topic in 2006) or in my opinion by 2018.

So when I think of "track record" and I think of some of the engineering difficulties of the Amur Region (think permafrost, little infrastructure,...) and I put it in the context of Russian politics, then while this may eventually be built, I doubt it will be done by 2018 mentioned in the article. All that is promised so far is a study in 2010.

Re:Russian politics...may not happen for a while (2, Informative)

mev (36558) | more than 6 years ago | (#21452697)

Here is a link to PDF document [larouchepub.com] describing some of the motivations including:
  • Avoid depopulation. 16 million people in Russian Far East and decreasing. 2.4 people per km2 vs 80 people per km2 across the Amur River in China. The idea is to get skilled manufacturing jobs.
  • Use existing base of Uglegorsk. Keeps it from being shut down and has past experience with launching satellites.
  • Leverage other infrastructure such as roads and railroads.
As I stated in the parent posting, Putin's motivations for announcing something now likely also include the upcoming December 2nd parliamentary elections, so don't expect anything to happen quickly.

Re:Trust me, they will deliver... (1)

vityok (1040682) | more than 6 years ago | (#21455571)

The biggest flying aircraft was developed, tested, and manufactured in Soviet Ukraine, which became an independent state after the union went kaput. And, you should know that Ukraine is not Russia at all. Moreover I would not dare to draw conclusions similar to that you have made taking into account surface area only. First computers were developed in Ukraine, rockets (carriers) were developed in Ukraine and so on. Then, It should be also taken into account that in the nearest future there will be parliamentary elections in Russia, and a little bit later, the presidential elections (approx in 100 days from today). These great plans can be just a part of the PR. These things are used to show the Russians how mighty and powerful became Russia lead by President Putin, and how even more powerful and developed it can become with Tsar Putin the great. In any case, time will show, how honest were these plans.

get your facts accurate (1)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 6 years ago | (#21456175)

The biggest flying aircraft was developed, tested, and manufactured in Soviet Ukraine, which became an independent state after the union went kaput.


No! Not entirely. The design was both Russian/Ukranian, engines were Ukranian, avionics are Russian and the landing gear, just like those of the Il-76 was from the former Soviet republic of Uzbekistan. Wikipedia has an entry on this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antonov [wikipedia.org] .

As it is now, none of these independent countries can manufacture the Antonov independently, but Russia is taking a leading role in its manufacture, though Ukraine still has a pretty important role to play.

Re:Trust me, they will deliver... (1)

hxnwix (652290) | more than 6 years ago | (#21456029)

Now for those who might think this post is "flamebait", I'd like to remind them that the Soviet Union, much of which became today's Russia had and still has the biggest, heaviest and highest-capacity flying aircraft in service today
Indeed; and the craft it was purpose designed and built to lift was destroyed due to underfunding, poor maintenance and overall negligence. Eight people perished in this particular Russian space program disaster. [wikipedia.org]

Contrast that with the Airbus A380 that the [TV] networks appeared not to get fed up of when it made its first commercial flight.
Ok, but only because you insist: there was more than one A380 built and none of them have been destroyed in hanger collapses.

Re:Trust me, they will deliver... (1)

tftp (111690) | more than 6 years ago | (#21457871)

there was more than one A380 built and none of them have been destroyed in hanger collapses.

It is important to understand the life cycle of prototypes: they are made to perform usually one function, in a very specific time frame. After that is done they are useless. I am sure nobody shed a tear over the damage to the prototype Buran because it should have been cut into pieces and recycled long ago (but probably not a single bureaucrat had enough bravery to order it done.)

Think of it this way: you have a spaceship that will cost you 100x your normal space launch rate to use. Also, it was never approved for commercial flights, let alone manned flights. The carrier for it (Energiya) is not manufactured (because there is no demand.) What do you do with such a spaceship? It is a black hole of maintenance and storage, for no reason at all.

I work in R&D, and we have tons of prototype designs that we build, test, demo and ... scrap. That's what prototypes are for. There is no chance that Buran, as designed, will ever fly, so why to keep it?

In soviet russia,,, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21451557)

ComsodRom (NOT Comsodome). lrn2speak(russian) noob

Re:In soviet russia,,, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21451699)

CoMSodrom? You are either tried to be funny or just failed horribly.

Russia's New Cosmodome Approved (0)

calebt3 (1098475) | more than 6 years ago | (#21451701)

But does will it run Linux?

Of Course (1, Funny)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 6 years ago | (#21451723)

Is for the greater glory of Kazakhstan. The village rapist enjoy new Cosmodome greatly, and much bigger place for Running of the Jews.

What they didn't tell the media is that (1)

jamax (228376) | more than 6 years ago | (#21451773)

The general idea (though it is not said officially) as I understand it is to get us our own cosmodrome which

1. comes cheaper with no rent to pay and
2. can never be denied us whatever the political situation in the world is

while being as close to the equator as we can manage it - Plesetsk is too far to the north.

I think once it's built and fully operational (that is manned flights begin to launch from there) we might drop Baikonur option - or perhaps turn it into museum.

In other news... (-1)

MrKaos (858439) | more than 6 years ago | (#21451841)

Slashdot servers melted down today because of too many "In Soviet Russia," jokes.

umm - In Soviet Russia, slashdot slashdots slashdot!

Personally, I welcome our "In Soviet Russia" slashdotting overlords!

Two rockets enter, one rocket leave! (1)

arodland (127775) | more than 6 years ago | (#21452037)

Hmm... that doesn't really work, does it? Oh well.

Perhaps Borat's village will prosper? (0, Offtopic)

XNine (1009883) | more than 6 years ago | (#21452087)

High Five!

Location? (4, Interesting)

Alkonaut (604183) | more than 6 years ago | (#21452111)

Why northern russia? What about being close to the equator? That is the reason the US have their sites in California and Florida, and the reason that the European agency cannot even have its launch site in Europe!

Is this site not intended for launching stuff into orbit, but merely intended as a landing site, or a sub-orbit launch site?

Re:Location? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21452583)

Probably because of the usefulness of the Molniya orbit for telco and comms for Russia. High inclination orbits prove useful in certain niche enviorments and needs.
disclaimer:
I don't work for any space agency or anything. I'm just an armchair cosmo/astronaut.

Re:Location? (3, Informative)

Tom Womack (8005) | more than 6 years ago | (#21453323)

In case you haven't noticed, Russia doesn't get very near the equator; they built the original facility in Baikonur because that was as far south as you could get in the Soviet Union and have a reasonable region of Soviet Union over which to drop discarded rocket stages.

The southernmost points of Russia are in the Caucasus, but that's a decidedly unstable area of the world, and rocket stages dropped off by things heading east would drop on Kazakhstan, which the Kazakhs obviously don't want. If you rule out the Caucasus, the next-southernmost points are at the North Korean border in the far east; there is a constant Russian worry that the Chinese might want to expand into Siberia if it's left empty, and so they'd like to build facilities there, especially the sort of facilities which set up clusters of skilled people who'd bring non-resource-dependent income to Amur.

The proposed site is Svobodny, which is just over the Amur from China, and not too far from the Komsomolsk-na-Amur rocket factory.

http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&time=&date=&ttype=&sll=54.162434,-3.647461&sspn=8.188315,20.566406&ie=UTF8&ll=51.410771,128.19191&spn=0.272388,0.6427&t=k&z=11&iwloc=addr&om=1 [google.co.uk]

Obviously, an equatorial site would be better, and indeed there's a Soyuz pad being built at Sinnamary, in French Guyana, five degrees from the equator and about twenty miles from the Arianespace facility at Kourou. First launch from there will be late 2008, but it's only Soyuz so not particularly heavy lift, and I suspect the Russians might be less keen than EU nations at having their military satellites launched from French soil.

Re:Location? (1)

Migraineman (632203) | more than 6 years ago | (#21453571)

I'll further reinforce your point with another Google Maps reference [google.co.uk] - draw a horizontal line from the green arrow indicating the Baikonur Cosmodrome toward the east. See that chunk of southern Russia over near Japan? That's (generally) where they're planning to put the new cosmodrome. It's about as far south as they can go in Russia without displacing the North Koreans. Unfortunately, they're not getting any better location than Baikonur. The Russians really need some territory further south ... like Afghanistan, for example.

Re:Location? (1)

sconeu (64226) | more than 6 years ago | (#21455173)

The CA launch site gets no launch boost from being "close" to the equator. It's the prime site for polar orbit launches (you launch south over the ocean).

Also, you you consider 36N to be close to the equator?

Re:Location? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21455727)

Don't be fucking with my territory at the JPL.

Anyways the Air force launches rockets towards the evening every few years, which leaves a beautiful color from the rocket in the setting sun.

Also SEA Launch is based in the port of Long Beach, CA; although they take a several half days travel out to sea to launch all types of communications and other satellites.

Re:Location? (1)

Cantus (582758) | more than 6 years ago | (#21455685)

Can't you read?

Today, Putin has just approved construction of Vostochny between 2010 and 2018 which will be positioned in the far east of Russia to complement the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in the northern part of the country.
It's the Plesetsk Cosmodrome the one in northern Russia, NOT the Vostochny Cosmodrome, which is near the border with China. That means SOUTHERN Russia.

tool (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21452437)

mark cuban is a tool

the net's full of them i.e ere's another slapptelstra.com

FrIst 4sot (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21452467)

in our Group And the Bazaar

Slightly off topic - (1)

Archon-X (264195) | more than 6 years ago | (#21452485)

Slightly off topic here - but what exactly IS the deal with Baikonur?
From what I can see on GE and googling, vast tracts off this 'city' are abandoned or destroyed sites.

Is access possible - on the sly or otherwise? Is it open space, except for around the new / active buildings? I'm curious!

Re:Slightly off topic - (1)

jamax (228376) | more than 6 years ago | (#21452611)

It is open space, surrounded by more open space. In the middle there used to be a very nice-looking city (with green trees and everything) with pleasant population and no crime at all.

Which is not surprising, since it was populated by engineers of all kinds, scientists and service personnel serving under official jurisdiction of MoD and ever watchful eye of KGB.

And of course it has been lavishly funded by the government.

What you see now is the result of Yeltsin's era typical neglect of everything that does not bring money or (heaven forbid!) might do something to restore some national pride in citizens of Russian Federation.

Now situation is getting marginaly better, but still it's more along the lines of "ok, here's your salary for the last 6 months and you can reasonably expect the next one to be on time" rather than "there, we've just finished 2 hectare recreational winter garden for your children to play while you work in these new labs, 100% equipped with everything a scientist might need"..

That's sad, since paraphrasing what someone from The Three Musketeers said, commenting on Mazarini's stringiness compared with previous cardinal's approach to financing important projects "You don't do great things on economy budget".

(I took the quote from memory (which is in Russian), paraphrased it and translated it into English - therefore I freely admit that the result may be as far from the original as the moon - so please spare me your wrath, oh Dumas lovers out there!)

Re:Slightly off topic - (1)

Archon-X (264195) | more than 6 years ago | (#21452635)

Interesting. I'm planning a trip up to the Great North, and would love to cruise through there to oogle at abandoned launch platforms, and the huge collapsed warehouse that housed the once mighty russian shuttle [until a great wind collapsed the building and squished the shuttle :( ]

Cosmodrome!... (1)

fearpi (1100889) | more than 6 years ago | (#21454489)

Let's kick shell!

Um.. (1)

Duncan Blackthorne (1095849) | more than 6 years ago | (#21456187)

Shouldn't that be cosmodrome ?

Talk about well hung (2, Funny)

jandersen (462034) | more than 6 years ago | (#21460813)

Russia's New Cosmodome

Wow, that sounds like some huge condom. They are not lacking in self-confidence, are they?
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