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posted by janrinok on Thursday May 01 2014, @12:36AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the who-will-blink-first dept.

Russia's Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin has lashed out again, this time at newly announced US ban on high-tech exports to Russia suggesting that "after analyzing the sanctions against our space industry, I propose the US delivers its astronauts to the ISS with a trampoline." Rogozin does actually have a point, although his threats carry much less weight than he may hope. Russia is due to get a $457.9 million payment for its services soon and few believe that Russia would actually give it up.

Furthermore, as Jeffrey Kluger noted at Time Magazine, Russia may not want to push the United States into the hands of SpaceX and Orbital Sciences, two private American companies that hope to be able to send passengers to the station soon. SpaceX and Orbital Sciences have already made successful unmanned resupply runs to the ISS and both are also working on upgrading their cargo vehicles to carry people. SpaceX is currently in the lead and expects to launch US astronauts, employed by SpaceX itself, into orbit by 2016. NASA is building its own heavy-lift rocket for carrying astronauts beyond low-Earth orbit, but it won't be ready for anything but test flights until after 2020. "That schedule, of course, could be accelerated considerably if Washington gave NASA the green light and the cash," says Kluger. "America's manned space program went from a standing start in 1961 to the surface of the moon in 1969-eight years from Al Shepard to Tranquility Base. The Soviet Union got us moving then. Perhaps Russia will do the same now."

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  • (Score: 2) by frojack on Thursday May 01 2014, @12:59AM

    by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Thursday May 01 2014, @12:59AM (#38311) Journal

    SpaceX has their production ramped up to the degree that they could produce one new Dragon vehicle every 6 weeks, and are in the final testing of additional features for the crew vehicle (mostly safety features, pad abort rockets, etc.).

    I suspect they could actually have a crew vehicle ready by the end of this year if necessary.

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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 01 2014, @01:26AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 01 2014, @01:26AM (#38314)

    The fact remains that the US and Russia both hold megadeath sized arsenals of nuclear weapons, so this breakdown in relations isn't just an inconvenience for astronauts. I really hope somebody manages to step in and let both sides cool down and save face before relations get any worse.

    • (Score: 2) by Tork on Thursday May 01 2014, @01:51AM

      by Tork (3914) on Thursday May 01 2014, @01:51AM (#38319)
      Do you really think we're really anywhere near nuclear wars with Russia right now?
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      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 01 2014, @02:03AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 01 2014, @02:03AM (#38322)

        Yep. It's unlikely, but if Russia ever invades the whole of Ukraine then there's a chance NATO armies will start fighting the Russian army, at which point bets are off. Two big ifs, but still, this is the first time in twenty three years there's been aggressive troop posturing in the West-East borderlands.

        • (Score: 1) by Ethanol-fueled on Thursday May 01 2014, @02:54AM

          by Ethanol-fueled (2792) on Thursday May 01 2014, @02:54AM (#38334) Homepage

          Not to mention that Russia announced that they will use the Samson Option* [rt.com] if they are attacked.

          * Heard from an unconfirmed but credible-sounding source that the Samson Option is not indiscriminately launching Nukes everywhere, but using them against an aggressor only if they are losing a conventional war. The Samson Option is most often attributed to Israel, which may explain why Russia is now becoming more comfortable with bellicose rhetoric given that the United States and allies have set recent precedents for belligerence in the Middle-east

          • (Score: 2) by edIII on Thursday May 01 2014, @03:29AM

            by edIII (791) on Thursday May 01 2014, @03:29AM (#38341)

            I don't think it matters really.

            No single country at the moment is living anywhere near sustainability. We only survive at the moment since their are resources we can obtain cheaper than normal through the abuse of other populations.

            If America shut down the borders tomorrow, we would be so deeply screwed.

            The coming wars are entirely inevitable and will be fought for control over ever scarcer resources for the purposes of energy production, farm products, and specific materials needed by industry to provide the technology we are currently using.

            It's inevitable due to the entrenched interests that really run government preventing any kind of technological solutions to our problem of sustainability. We could have switched over to something other than oil quite some time ago. No, it's not solar, but nuclear.

            All of the ecologically and economically viable solutions we can bring to bear, including nuclear, are prevented from becoming a reality for us and attaining the efficiency we need to support an American population that may top 500 million by 2050.

            I'd like to see just how civilized we will remain when we can no longer feed ourselves, tend to our own infrastructure, and the Bread and Circuses started to break down and we aren't so entertained in the sweltering heat and bitter cold (need energy for AC/Heat).

            There will be a time soon, and hopefully you and I will both be dead, when the children of the future we created will bitterly fight amongst themselves for the scraps that we take for granted now.

            At least until we fuck it up on a really spectacular level and kill 5 billion people within a few years and take some of the stress off the supplies. Some country will figure that out, and as terrible as it will be, will pull the trigger since the scientists will tell them the truth that India being emptied of a few billion, and China losing 80% of its population could give us a few more centuries of breathing room for technology to magically save the day. Even though the tech is here to day, and just enormously inconvenient for entrenched interests and economic systems.

            Add the predictions from the climate change people and I think war is pretty much a guarantee in the future.

            50/50 it will be nuclear and really prevent us from rising again to this level for a few thousand more years. Assuming life on the planet will still be supported at all.

            The real question is where and when will the leaders of the world pull the trigger to give benefit to those specific beneficiaries of war, and obtain more decisive control over markets that traditional corruption cannot provide to them.

            --
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            • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Ethanol-fueled on Thursday May 01 2014, @04:18AM

              by Ethanol-fueled (2792) on Thursday May 01 2014, @04:18AM (#38354) Homepage

              That's a thick load of horseshit. No wars are necessary. Pro-war people on any side are traitors and should be fed to the fire.

              Now that it's official that the United States are an oligarchy, we should focus on removing those who don't act in the best interests of the people common.

              Unfortunately, those people have a lot of pull -- which is why, as per The Art of War, you give them a way out, because an enemy that has the most to lose will inflict the most damage. And that they've lost touch with reality is obvious.

              • (Score: 1) by mrbluze on Thursday May 01 2014, @06:18AM

                by mrbluze (49) on Thursday May 01 2014, @06:18AM (#38379) Journal

                Good words, but you won't read them in the mainstream press at the moment which suggests that wars, while brutal, keep us safe and rich. Just how debt makes us rich and slavery makes us free, and other absurdities. I hope we shake off these warmongers soon.

                --
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              • (Score: 2) by quadrox on Thursday May 01 2014, @08:24AM

                by quadrox (315) on Thursday May 01 2014, @08:24AM (#38410)

                He didn't say necessary, he said inevitable. There are some people/governments/financial stakeholder who can't leave well enough alone and must have more (control and money) at any cost. Eventually they will conflict so much that they will drag us all into a war, and unfortunately I don't see any sane way to stop this development.

        • (Score: 2) by Skarjak on Thursday May 01 2014, @03:49AM

          by Skarjak (730) on Thursday May 01 2014, @03:49AM (#38347)

          And that is precisely why NATO armies will not fight Russia.

        • (Score: 1) by hoochiecoochieman on Friday May 02 2014, @11:17AM

          by hoochiecoochieman (4158) on Friday May 02 2014, @11:17AM (#38842)

          Why on Earth would Russia invade the whole of Ukraine?

      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Angry Jesus on Thursday May 01 2014, @02:44AM

        by Angry Jesus (182) on Thursday May 01 2014, @02:44AM (#38330)

        > Do you really think we're really anywhere near nuclear wars with Russia right now?

        You'll know the whitehouse is thinking about it when the primetime news starts calling Putin a "madman."

      • (Score: 1) by Boronx on Thursday May 01 2014, @06:30AM

        by Boronx (262) on Thursday May 01 2014, @06:30AM (#38382)

        Because of the speed with which it would develop, we are always near nuclear war with Russia.

      • (Score: 2) by Geezer on Thursday May 01 2014, @10:25AM

        by Geezer (511) on Thursday May 01 2014, @10:25AM (#38425)

        Yes.

        Putin has Obama et al pegged for the incompetent pussies they are. This gives him leverage, which he has every intention of using in his mission to re-constitute the USSR as a super-nationalistic state-capitalist monolith.

        The danger is when the bumblers in Washington and the Hague feel like they need to save their images by "standing up" to Putin.

        Regardless of whatever action the West may or may not take, escalation in a certainty. Neither side will be willing to "lose face".

        Pride doth indeed goeth before a fall.

        • (Score: 1) by NeoNormal on Thursday May 01 2014, @03:20PM

          by NeoNormal (2516) on Thursday May 01 2014, @03:20PM (#38525)

          > Pride doth indeed goeth before a fall.

          Putin is the one demonstrating an excess of pride at the moment, IMO.

          The Sochi Olympics ceremonies were filled with "look at us and what we've done" moments. I'm not saying I don't have respect for the positives that Russia has contributed to the world, but they don't need to yell "look at me, look at me".

    • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Thursday May 01 2014, @08:25AM

      by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Thursday May 01 2014, @08:25AM (#38411) Journal

      Let's hope they keep flying astronauts

      The fact remains that the US and Russia both hold megadeath sized arsenals of nuclear weapons...

      You expect, instead of ICBM-es, the hostilities between US and Russia to start/stay at the level of... slinging astronauts one to the other?
      (ducks)

      --
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  • (Score: 1) by iroll on Thursday May 01 2014, @01:44AM

    by iroll (4013) on Thursday May 01 2014, @01:44AM (#38317)

    I just read an article on the ATK/Orbital merger this morning that specifically stated that Orbital is not interested in manned spaceflight.

    http://www.businessweek.com/news/2014-04-30/orbita l-sciences-surges-out-of-elon-musk-s-shadow-in-spa ce-race [businessweek.com]

  • (Score: 4, Funny) by aristarchus on Thursday May 01 2014, @02:12AM

    by aristarchus (2645) on Thursday May 01 2014, @02:12AM (#38323) Journal

    Well, that is just a silly suggestion! Do you know how high you would have to jump from in order for a trampoline to put you into orbit? Yes, slightly higher than the orbit you want to achieve, once you take into account atmospheric drag (both ways) and the inevitable application of the laws of thermodynamics and trampolines, because you can never get out of a trampoline more than you put into it. So sorry, Mr. Russia Scientist Guy, the Trampoline Initiative will not work. Seriously.

    --
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    • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Thursday May 01 2014, @02:32AM

      by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Thursday May 01 2014, @02:32AM (#38324) Journal

      So sorry, Mr. Russia Scientist Guy, the Trampoline Initiative will not work. Seriously.

      Oh, maaan! Seriously... it won't work?!? What would be the solution, then?

      --
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      • (Score: 1) by J.J. Dane on Thursday May 01 2014, @04:15AM

        by J.J. Dane (402) on Thursday May 01 2014, @04:15AM (#38353)

        Pogo sticks on trampolines?

      • (Score: 2) by rts008 on Thursday May 01 2014, @08:00AM

        by rts008 (3001) on Thursday May 01 2014, @08:00AM (#38402)

        Perhaps we could build a large, wooden badger.

        • (Score: 1) by c0lo on Thursday May 01 2014, @08:10AM

          by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Thursday May 01 2014, @08:10AM (#38405) Journal

          Perhaps we could build a large, wooden badger.

          Maybe... 'causer a wooden snake won't help for sure.
          (mushrooms! ... ducks)

          --
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    • (Score: 3, Funny) by geb on Thursday May 01 2014, @10:58AM

      by geb (529) on Thursday May 01 2014, @10:58AM (#38430)
      A staged rocket is necessary to get into orbit. In theory I see no difficulty in using a staged trampoline too.

      You bounce on a huge first stage booster trampoline to carry you and a pile of smaller trampolines a little way up, then bounce on the next largest, and the next, each time gaining momentum by shedding one trampoline at high speed behind you.

      Eventually you bounce on the final orbit insertion trampoline, carrying only a few small maneuvering trampolines for rendezvous and docking.

      You would, admittedly, need a lot of trampolines.
      • (Score: 1) by karmawhore on Thursday May 01 2014, @03:01PM

        by karmawhore (1635) on Thursday May 01 2014, @03:01PM (#38518)

        I was going to post something similar (and you're replying to GP, who *was* talking about achieving orbit, so it totally makes sense) but really we're only talking about rendezvous with ISS, and you can do that with a suborbital bounce on just one really awesome trampoline.

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      • (Score: 2) by aristarchus on Thursday May 01 2014, @09:12PM

        by aristarchus (2645) on Thursday May 01 2014, @09:12PM (#38652) Journal

        Hmm, lots of very good silly ideas here! Maybe we can do it! My current thinking, pace the infinite trampoline assembly, is that we drop our payload from very high up, and then launch a trampoline upwards, propelled by four (or so) solid booster rockets, have the payload bounce off the ascending trampoline, adding its velocity to the reciprocal of the falling payload, thus achieving a bigger bounce for the bucks.

        Or, we could just re-start the Cold War, out of nostalgia, I guess.

        --
        Runaway: Mentally Unfit!
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 01 2014, @03:42AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 01 2014, @03:42AM (#38345)

    Sees the US abandon all progress in terms of driving humanity forward.

    Starts Cold War Round 2 and hurls insults to get us back in the game.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 01 2014, @09:12AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 01 2014, @09:12AM (#38419)

    The sad part is that two openly Nazi parties made Kiev revolt; with the US and EU support. Snipers were killing demonstrators, police and Ukrainian special forces to provoke the clashes.

    The good news is that Ukrainian police and army currently refuse to fight so called Russian separatists, violating direct orders and ignoring the US support. Ukrainian navy simply switched sides even before the Crimea vote.

    Also, so far Russia did not respond to any sanctions.

    P.S. I am American currently in Russia.

    • (Score: 2) by tibman on Thursday May 01 2014, @02:45PM

      by tibman (134) Subscriber Badge on Thursday May 01 2014, @02:45PM (#38509)

      The sad part is also that you believe all that.

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      • (Score: 2) by Yog-Yogguth on Friday May 02 2014, @07:46AM

        by Yog-Yogguth (1862) Subscriber Badge on Friday May 02 2014, @07:46AM (#38789) Journal

        Does the US even have a cohesive congruent narrative of events beyond "Russia bad" and "Putin bad" blabbering? All I ever read from them looks like belligerent gibberish and nonsense: noise. Feel free to pick any topic and it's much the same as far as their output is concerned.

        I'm pretty sure making a lot of noise is exactly what the US wants to achieve but anyone who haven't long ago started to tune out the US weren't ever listening much in the first place.

        Either way it's quite rude of the Usians to continue to camouflage their Nsaian language behind English-sounding words, or maybe it's just sooo saaad *Van Halen jazzhands* :)

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        • (Score: 2) by tibman on Friday May 02 2014, @01:40PM

          by tibman (134) Subscriber Badge on Friday May 02 2014, @01:40PM (#38903)

          The reason why anything from the US appears as noise to you is because people are free to say whatever they like. It's just bullshit unless backed up by proof. Pictures, interviews, transcripts, and so on. To me, the same is true for all nations and all peoples. The only exception is when someone i trust says something, i don't need proof.

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  • (Score: 2) by GreatAuntAnesthesia on Thursday May 01 2014, @11:21AM

    by GreatAuntAnesthesia (3275) on Thursday May 01 2014, @11:21AM (#38436) Journal

    This thread has what-if.xkcd written all over it.