Following the crash of a Russian cargo spacecraft a few days ago, the country has postponed its next mission to the International Space Station, originally scheduled for September 22nd. Roskosmos, the Russian space agency, hopes to complete that mission by late October or early November--but if it gets delayed again, the ISS may be left unmanned for the first time in over a decade.
The reason for the delay is pretty simple: when a spacecraft crashes into the ground due to some kind of unforeseen engine trouble, it's just good sense to perform as many tests as needed to ensure whatever caused the crash can't cause another. According to unnamed space official sources, that'll entail two test launches of the unmanned Soyuz rocket.
As it stands, three of the remaining crew--Alexander Samokutyayev, Ron Garan (who likes to take pretty pictures of Earth), and mission commander Andrey Borisenko--are due to come home on September 16th, pushed back from September 8th. Three additional crew were supposed to blast off on September 22nd, but with this delay, that's been pushed to late October or early November. If there are any further delays, Roskosmos will have to decide whether to bring the remaining three astronauts back home, leaving the ISS unmanned.
It's no simple thing to leave the ISS unmanned; it can be controlled remotely from Earth, but not nearly as easily or effectively. In the wake of the delay, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin is said to be calling for extra security checks and analyzing the state of the beleaguered space agency. Times like this we wish we still had a working Space Shuttle, right?
If only my flux compositor to my intergalactic space pack was working. Dang, where or where did I put that orb screw tron driver.... Its never where I leave it. "JULI!", have you seen my orb screw tron driver, baby? "WHAT?", its next to my spy ring I have in the desk draw, ok, thank honey. I gott'a get this space pack working, the ISS needs me. "Honey!" did you go to oxygen company and get my tanks filled like I asked you to? “WHAT?” yes dear I know it’s time for dinner. YES dear, I am upstairs soon. Doesn’t she understand?, “WHAT?”, yes dear I took out the garbage and walked the god dear. “Baby?!” Have you seen my glasses? “WHAT?” Oh, yes dear, their on my face, thank you dear….
@Rhodeslrene, I hope a dolphin is while flying his space ship,flies over your house and disrupts you internet service while making a crop circle in your back yard and I hope he does it on porpoise! "I hate spam!"
Shotty reporting. The Space Shuttle wouldn't have made a difference because it could only stay docked to the ISS for 14 days, which is a 166 days shorter than it needs to be.
Also as of right now its unlikely that a demanning of the station would happen, demanning is seen as a "worst case scenario".
I think I should clarify why 14 days is too short. When ever there is a crew member aboard there must be a vehicle docked to the Station to return them if something goes wrong. So that would mean in order to keep the ISS manned you would have to launch a Space Shuttle every two weeks until Soyuz started flying again, the Space Shuttles can't be refurbished that quickly.
"Times like this we wish we still had a working Space Shuttle, right?"
We do, just take one of the Shuttles out of retirement and fix this mess! OK, maybe a little over-simplified...
Has any one called Bruce Willis, I mean Elon Musk? Space X's manifest still shows two Dragon launches planned for 2011.
I just wish I had a functioning "intergalactic space pack with a functioning flux compacitor", and a supportive wife in my space travels.................. sheesh. "HONEY!?" where are my glasses?
@Greg_NJ, you have a reputation of just insulting me. But more to the point, you do not add any intelligent comments of your own. Your just deliver cheap shots... If anyone looks at your profile the evidence is there. I have a request for you to say something wondrous about this article and wow us all, the PoPSCi readers with you own genius. I gave you a nice introduction now and we are waiting, please do not disappoint. WOW-us! Bu-bye..
ope, posted wrong blog, goofy me, lol.
Before we do anything else enough long-pole funds for projects like SLS should be diverted to the Commercial Crew Development project, along with all the NASA center staff necessary, for the purpose of speeding up the crew Dragon, Dream Chaser and CST-100.
Once we have 3 flying crew spacecraft funding should be put in place to keep them flying - use them for re-supply as robots (a Dragon feature already) and as orbital experimental platforms like DragonLab. This way we keep a redundant fleet active while also lowering the cost/launch by amortizing the fixed infrastrucure costs across a greater number of flights.
Never know; in the process we might even end up dominating a new commercial industry.
I jog 5 miles a day in 25 minutes. I am smart, but spell bad and have bad grammar, I am a technical expert and would love to maintain the ISS. I volunteer.. Can I bring my dog?
I'd go along up there. I wouldn't be much use on my constant pain meds and with constant pain but, I'd go! Though, it could be an interesting test for neurological pain sufferers, especially those that have no discernable nerve inpingement, if being weightless for any amount of time would show a decrease in pain levels. Damnit, now that's got me curious if its a concievable hypothosis.
When are they going to get on building that giant railgun (a poor man's mass accelerator) to launch payloads into orbit? We actually don't really NEED rockets to reach orbital velocity - if we had a railgun a couple of miles long, we could do it with scramjet-assisted launches. Popsci did an article on that, are they just going to forget about it?
Shouldn't be that hard, we have more than a few particle accelerators around, and they're built to even more stringent tolerances than a large railgun would need.
As for launching humans, eh, we don't really need something that's reusable right now, we could launch some ordinary rocket with a small craft on the end. We took apart and rebuilt the space shuttle every time it was launched anyway so I don't think it qualifies as reusable in the sense that we need a space vehicle to be.
This event is all the more reason to let private sector decide when to go to space. Governments can't do it well, quickly or efficiently, they've all proven that.
Hey Bubbagump you can jog 5 miles in 25 minutes? Everyday? No shit!!!! Are you white? Anyhow i am quite knowledgeable about whats going in the space race today so heres the scoop on whats going to go down over the next ten years or so!!!!
Ok right now the main guys who are going to rise to the top in the Private Sector are Space X and Virgin Galactic. Space X will take an early lead but I imagine Virgin will follow behind and eventually catch up by 2020 or so. Ok then we got Bigelow Aerospace. Bigelow is going to provide the space stations (the destinations) eventually Bigelow will also put stations on the Moon and then Mars itself (Mars is the ultimate goal) the Red Planet, the God of War himself. Ok also by 2020 Bigelow will have single handedly made the Internation Space Station obsolete. Now if you want to know more look all of this up on Wikipedia and read as I have done.
Last and certainly not least we still have good ol' NASA!!!!! NASA and her infinite lake of wisdom! She will preside over this space race with her loving touch and grace (and her money of course)
So we got Space X, Virgin Galactic, Bigelow Aerospace, and NASA! We got this!!!! We are going to dominate the space race!!!! The American flag will reign supreme!!!!! Hey its either us or them!!!! If we dont do it then the Chinese will!!!! So it might as well be us!!!!!
Hey Onihkage. The rail gun concept you talk about is actually an ingenious idea!!!! Its been brought up before but I would say something like that wont happen for at least another decade or so but Im sure they'll try it eventually. Ya know there are a lot of different technologies coming down the pipe in the next couple of decades. Something revolutionary is going to pop up out of obscurity and really change things up, allowing us to get to space efficiently and cost effectively!!!!! Making everyday space travel a reality.
The Singularity is Near.
as Craigboy stated, the Shuttles would not help this situation, i feel that this is a good thing for us, it will spur us on even more to get SpaceX shuttling (all pun intended) astronauts to the ISS in 2012, go SpaceX!
"Space X will take an early lead but I imagine Virgin will follow behind and eventually catch up by 2020 or so."
Virgin Galactic is partnered with Sierra Nevada Corp. for Dream Chaser to do their orbital rides.
Oh shit hey DocM you pointed that out to me thanks!!! Yes the Dream Chaser!!!! Yes They're going to use the White Knight 2 to trasnport it right? Well honestly the White Knight 2 is no doubt brilliant but its just not big enough. I cant wait for the future when they build White Knight 3!!! Cause I imagine they're going to go BIG much bigger!!!! Like honestly I'd like them to build White Knight 3 as big as a jumbo jet, just a huge transport jet plane. Anyhow Im really excited about the future. This is the true space race we're going to bear witness to!
Hey Doc are you familiar with the coming technological singularity? Have you read my book
The Singularity is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology?
Look it up on Wikipedia
^^^^is that really the real Mr. Kurzweil? ^^^^
if it is i love your work.
@RayKurzweil, I have been jogging since age 12. I do it because I like it. I do not jog everyday and I vary my style and length of jogging all the time. For me its a mood things and I just do it for fun and enjoyment. If I treated it like a job, the joy may leave it. I suggest for you or anyone, find a sport that makes you smile and go have fun; remember what it feels like to be a kid, feel the sun or rain in your face and just play.
I need to find the joy in such things again.
Money should be put into these private developments, but they should never be of public interest. Free enterprise competition will drive these companies to push the limits at a faster pace than government can.
NASA is placed in the hands of the people, and look at what the people are doing to it. NASA is not performing up to par because no one is taking an active interest in the political maneuvering surrounding the Administration.
When it comes to House and Senate bills that govern how much money NASA will get for whatever endeavor, the people have to take an active interest and speak up to their elected officials. Make them accountable to the people who put them in office in the first place.
Because of the fault in the process, I do not wish to see any of these company's endeavors overtaken by the government. They are very capable of thriving in a capitalistic society.
Funny you should mention a jumbo jet. After watching the empty space shuttle piggyback oN a jet liner back to Florida, why not use this idea? How about the launch system composed of a horizontal lifting body for the 1st stage, rocket for A 2nd stage, and the capsule shaped like the space shuttle? The 1st stage would be a multiple wing (tandem wing), stretched jumbo or cargo jet which, if needed, would have an assisted takeoff Via a catapult (think aircraft carrier catapult or jet sled). The 2nd stage would be a rocket with a thrust vectoring nozzle and /or adjustable enlarged fins (for assistance in Flight direction). The rocket would ride beneath the jet. The last stage is the capsule shaped like a miniature space shuttle. This shuttle would have A 4 person crew compartment behind which is a decompression chamber and hatch for accessing ISS. The tail end of the shuttle would be a small engine for maneuvering and docking with ISS. Cargo could ride in this chamber which is also access to the capsule for the crew before takeoff. Shuttle capsule could glide back to earth afterwards. Both the 1st stage and miniature shuttle could be reusable. Take off could be from a mesa in the Southwestern US.
A plane big enough to carry a rocket (obviously substantially shorter in size for the concept you propose) would need a very large (and strong) catapult.
I say forget the multiple stages. The U.S. Air Force tested a vehicle back in the early 1990s called the Delta Clipper, which was the foundation for a propulsion set up that would have been used for the Lockheed Martin Venture Star (i.e. X-33) Program.
The vehicle utilized an aerospike engine in which it reached near orbital heights in four flights before it tilted over and crashed following it's final successful landing.
Single-stage-to-orbit should be the next step. Just sayin'.
I hope you are right about the single stage to orbit plan (SSTO). While technical hurdles remain to be overcome with SSTO, at least the ESA thinks that a rocket plane-to-space time has come and is planning on funding a version of it. Today we are in a vertical launch of payload phase for space launches, and I agree with Burt Rutan that it is not the way to go. If on the outside chance that SSTO doesn’t work out, and the current state of launching payloads remains, we might end up launching crews into space in a capsule shaped shuttle on top of a rocket (and Space Ship One trying to grow and fill the void left by not having a horizontal launch system for payloads).
I believe that until my idea (or some version of it) is attempted by industry, we will never know if it is possible. I remember hearing a saying concerning manned flight which went, “…if a man were met to fly, he’d have wings”. Wright Bros proved that wrong. Now even individual flight is possible with Martin’s jet pack and others systems. We may even someday see a personal osprey flying system.
I believe the SSTO concept utilizing aerospikes will work. The only issue with the X-33 was containing hydrogen leaks in the material the fuel tanks were made of (the Space Shuttle had this problem). For this reason it never flew (and because time grew short and policy makers got impatient as they always do).
Plus, the SSTO concept is not only limited to rockets. That was just the design for the Venture Star. This technology could be applied to lifting bodies as well. As a matter of fact, once the concept is figured out, the Space Ship One concept can be expanded on a larger scale for LEO to deep orbit flights. That's probably coming in the future for Scaled Composites.