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posted by martyb on Thursday February 05 2015, @01:21AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the grounded-in-practice dept.

James Simpson has an interesting story about the TP-82 survival weapon that Russian cosmonauts carried into space with them on missions between 1982 and 2006. The TP-82 was essentially a sawed-off, double-barreled shotgun with a short-barreled rifle added onto it. Having a gun inside a thin-walled spacecraft filled with oxygen sounds crazy, but the Soviets had their reasons. Much of Russia is desolate wilderness. A single mishap during descent could strand cosmonauts in the middle of nowhere.

In March 1965, cosmonaut Alexey Leonov landed a mechanically-faulty Voskhod space capsule in the snowy forests of the western Urals … 600 miles from his planned landing site. Getting through the ordeal would end up requiring a gun to ward off wild bears, some tricks to staying warm in below zero temperatures and cross country skiing. For protection, Leonov had a nine-millimeter pistol. He feared the bears and wolves that prowled the forest—though he never encountered any. But the fear stayed with him. Later in his career, Leonov made sure the Soviet military provided all its cosmonauts with a survival weapon. For the Soviets, the weapon was a case of “better safe than sorry,” and from 1986, it was a permanent fixture in the portable survival kits of every Soyuz mission. "Astronauts of all nationalities—including Americans—have trained with the TP-82," writes Simpson. "And still today, before they ride the Soyuz to space, they must complete a Russian survival training course in the Black Sea and the Siberian forest."

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  • (Score: 2, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 05 2015, @01:32AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 05 2015, @01:32AM (#141375)
    Who needs such a pretext when the most sacred The Second Amendment already exists, fuck yeah!
    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by pe1rxq on Thursday February 05 2015, @01:54PM

      by pe1rxq (844) on Thursday February 05 2015, @01:54PM (#141491) Homepage

      Actually the article ends with a little factoid: These days most crews vote not to take firearms to space.
      They seem to realize that it is not wise to give six people in a small isolated room access to a gun.....

      • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Freeman on Thursday February 05 2015, @06:13PM

        by Freeman (732) on Thursday February 05 2015, @06:13PM (#141583) Journal

        I assume Everyone goes through Psychological Evaluation, before being allowed to be in said tin can with 6 other people. I don't see why it would be a problem to have the gun in the case of the emergency explained. You can be Bear/Wolf food, but I'd much rather keep my insides on the inside.

        --
        "I said in my haste, All men are liars." Psalm 116:11
  • (Score: 3, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 05 2015, @02:19AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 05 2015, @02:19AM (#141387)

    Citizens cherished their 2A rights, unlike the liberals here who are willing to surrender them to the government.

    -- wait, Mr. Hannity, I'll have a better line scripted for you by showtime.

  • (Score: -1, Flamebait) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 05 2015, @02:45AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 05 2015, @02:45AM (#141400)

    Leonov would be diagnosed as paranoid schizophrenic with an irrational fear of nonexistent bears. He would be dishonorably discharged, made to fail every background check in civilian life, and never ever work again anywhere for the rest of his life.

    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by anubi on Thursday February 05 2015, @03:27AM

      by anubi (2828) on Thursday February 05 2015, @03:27AM (#141411) Journal

      It seems all too often, the ones evaluating someone else's behaviour have never been in the circumstances that forged that behaviour.

      I am all for the gun.

      It would be tragic to end up returning to Earth only to find oneself being an airmailed can of wolf food. Those who have never seen a pack of wolves at work may not grasp the significance of it, but its obvious Leonov does.

      --
      "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good." [KJV: I Thessalonians 5:21]
      • (Score: 3, Informative) by Joe Desertrat on Thursday February 05 2015, @08:11PM

        by Joe Desertrat (2454) Subscriber Badge on Thursday February 05 2015, @08:11PM (#141627)

        It seems all too often, the ones evaluating someone else's behaviour have never been in the circumstances that forged that behaviour. I am all for the gun.

        I don't see any reason for not having the gun either. I sincerely doubt that they have it mounted and loaded, hung on the wall within easy reach. It is quite likely disassembled and packed away in whatever container holds the survival gear.

        It would be tragic to end up returning to Earth only to find oneself being an airmailed can of wolf food. Those who have never seen a pack of wolves at work may not grasp the significance of it, but its obvious Leonov does.

        The wolves (and probably bears) in Eurasia feasted on human carrion in various episodes of plagues and wars since mankind has memory of them. In North America, wolves have long ago learned to greatly fear humans and the probability of wolves attacking humans, even in a survival situation, is quite low. Any wolves showing aggression towards humans were quickly exterminated. I doubt that is the case in Europe, simply because those wolves that feasted on humans in the past were probably quite successful in passing their genetic characteristics and learning onward.

    • (Score: 4, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 05 2015, @04:25AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 05 2015, @04:25AM (#141417)

      Irrational: I'm afraid of being alone.
      Paranoid: My gun isn't big enough.
      Schizophrenic: I need a gun with two calibres and three barrels.

      Yup, sounds about right.

  • (Score: 4, Funny) by cngn on Thursday February 05 2015, @04:00AM

    by cngn (1609) on Thursday February 05 2015, @04:00AM (#141416)

    The first thing I thought when I read the synopsis was WTF the commies wanted to shoot at aliens...on reading further... no such luck

    • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 05 2015, @07:58AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 05 2015, @07:58AM (#141439)

      I though for a moment perhaps the device was for extravehicular activities in case one was cut loose and started helplessly floating away from the space station. One could fire a gun away from the station and the recoil would proper them back to it.

      Maybe this space theme does work up our imagination! :)

      • (Score: 2) by ticho on Thursday February 05 2015, @09:41AM

        by ticho (89) on Thursday February 05 2015, @09:41AM (#141445) Homepage Journal

        I thought the same thing at first, but don't these guns need air around them to fire? :)

        • (Score: 5, Informative) by damnbunni on Thursday February 05 2015, @11:16AM

          by damnbunni (704) on Thursday February 05 2015, @11:16AM (#141458) Journal

          No, ammunition will fire just fine in a vacuum. It contains oxidizers sufficient for the gunpowder to burn.

          Something like a black powder rifle wouldn't, but any reasonably modern (bullet/case/primer) round should fire just fine in space.

          • (Score: 3, Interesting) by MrGuy on Thursday February 05 2015, @07:27PM

            by MrGuy (1007) on Thursday February 05 2015, @07:27PM (#141618)

            Why wouldn't black powder work? As I understand it, saltpeter is the oxidizer, not atmospheric O2.

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 06 2015, @02:35AM

              by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 06 2015, @02:35AM (#141698)

              Examine a round carefully. Note it is hermetically sealed. Everything it needs to be fired is already inside.

            • (Score: 1, Offtopic) by aristarchus on Friday February 06 2015, @04:32AM

              by aristarchus (2645) on Friday February 06 2015, @04:32AM (#141726) Journal

              Yes, Blackpowder would work in space. Are you happy now? Darn Civil War Re-enactors will probably be on the Moon now.

              Besides: ballistics? Projectiles? Betrays gravity-well two dimensional thinking. Hi, Khan! Goodbye!

              --
              Someone please explain to Hemo that my AC posts never get moderated because no one understands them. (Stolen AC sig. )
              • (Score: 2) by aristarchus on Saturday February 07 2015, @03:22AM

                by aristarchus (2645) on Saturday February 07 2015, @03:22AM (#142124) Journal

                This was a direct response to MrGuy, to posts above!! How could it possibly be off-topic? Of course this post complaining about my post being modded "off-topic" is definintely off-topic. And just to point out, in the days of break-action firearms, a shotgun with a rifle barrel underneath was not all that uncommon. There are even muzzleloading versions. And for the same reasons, when you do not know what you will encounter, it is always good to be loaded for bear, and wolf, and deer, and rabbit or partridge. Or Xenomorphs.

                --
                Someone please explain to Hemo that my AC posts never get moderated because no one understands them. (Stolen AC sig. )
  • (Score: 3, Funny) by RamiK on Thursday February 05 2015, @09:53AM

    by RamiK (1813) on Thursday February 05 2015, @09:53AM (#141447)

    Bears and wolves?! BAH! I blame Sigourney Weaver and Scott Ridley.

    --
    compiling...
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 05 2015, @10:33AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 05 2015, @10:33AM (#141452)

      I blame Sigourney Weaver

      Sigourney Weaver the actor? Holy misplaced blame, dude, do you blame the weatherman for bad weather too?

  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Snotnose on Thursday February 05 2015, @11:04AM

    by Snotnose (1623) on Thursday February 05 2015, @11:04AM (#141456)

    Make a simple clay pigeon launcher, a platform for a suited astronaut to stand on, and PULL!

    --
    Having a big nose is no reason to not wear a mask. I mean, I still wear underwear....
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 05 2015, @03:28PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 05 2015, @03:28PM (#141526)

    See Vera? Dress yourself up, you get taken out somewhere fun.

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by MrGuy on Thursday February 05 2015, @07:30PM

    by MrGuy (1007) on Thursday February 05 2015, @07:30PM (#141619)

    Nobody ever set out to take firearms to space. The point was to take firearms to the earth. Specifically, whatever point on the earth the spacecraft landed at. Taking them along for the ride to space was simply the most expedient way to make sure there was always a firearm at the landing site, in case that landing site was an unexpected one.

  • (Score: 2) by Aiwendil on Thursday February 05 2015, @07:50PM

    by Aiwendil (531) on Thursday February 05 2015, @07:50PM (#141623) Journal

    How does it work with the ammunition?

    I mean, bringing explosives (or extremly fast-burning items) into space is somewhat mindboggling to me.

    So, just how much of a shock (either of G, thermal or pressure) does it take to set the ammo off? Is it way beyond where humans would lethally fail anyway or do they ship it in some enclosure to mitigate the stresses?