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posted by chromas on Monday September 24 2018, @05:12PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]

Russia throws doubt on joint lunar space station with U.S.: RIA

Moscow may abandon a project to build a space station in lunar orbit in partnership with U.S. space agency NASA because it does not want a "second fiddle role," a Russian official said on Saturday.

[...] [The] head of Russian space agency Roscosmos, Dmitry Rogozin, said Russia might exit the joint program and instead propose its own lunar orbit space station project.

[...] A spokesman for Roscosmos said later that Russia had no immediate plans to leave the project. "Russia has not refused to take part in the project of the lunar orbit station with the USA," Vladimir Ustimenko was quoted as saying by the TASS news agency.

FLOP-G?

Also at ABC (Associated Press).

Previously:

Related:


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NASA Suspends Collaboration with Russia 22 comments

NASA has released a statement indicating that they are "suspending the majority" of "ongoing engagements with the Russian Federation". Cooperation will continue "to maintain safe and continuous operation of the International Space Station." They have taken this action citing violations Ukraine's sovereignty by Russia.

NASA apparently is focusing on regaining human spaceflight capabilities and ending dependence on Russia. The statement goes on to say: "The choice here is between fully funding the plan to bring space launches back to America or continuing to send millions of dollars to the Russians." According to time.com the "information initially came to light from a leaked memo".

This comes after a recent statement by Charles Bolden a NASA administrator indicating that relations with Russia were fine. There are currently Two Americans, Three Russians, and the Japanese Commander aboard the ISS Expedition 39.

Russia to Build New Space Station with NASA after ISS 18 comments

Discovery Magazine reports that in a landmark decision Russia has announced initial plans to build a new orbital space station together with NASA to replace the International Space Station (ISS), which is set to operate until 2024.

Igor Komarov, the head of Russia's Roscosmos space agency, made the announcement flanked by NASA administrator Charles Bolden at Russia's Baikonur launchpad in Kazakhstan. "Roscosmos together with NASA will work on the programme of a future orbital station," said Komarov. "We agreed that the group of countries taking part in the ISS project will work on the future project of a new orbital station." Russia had said earlier this year it planned to create its own space station after 2024 using its modules from the ISS after it is mothballed. The two agencies will be unifying their standards and systems of manned space programs, according to Komarov. “This is very important to future missions and stations.”

The next goal for the two agencies is a joint mission to Mars said NASA chief Charles Bolden. “Our area of cooperation will be Mars. We are discussing how best to use the resources, the finance, we are setting time frames and distributing efforts in order to avoid duplication.”

NASA and International Partners Planning Orbital Lunar Outpost 10 comments

According to Popular Mechanics, the Russians might finally reach the Moon... aboard an American-made Orion spacecraft en route to an internationally built and operated orbital lunar outpost:

During the past couple of years, American, Russian, European, Japanese, and Canadian officials quietly discussed a possible joint human space flight program after the retirement of the ISS. Although these five space agencies might not be on the same page as far as whether to go to the moon first or head straight to Mars, they're getting closer to an agreement that a human outpost in lunar orbit would be the necessary first step either way.

During the latest round of negotiations in Houston last month, the ISS partners narrowed down the list of potential modules that would comprise their periodically visited habitat. According to the provisional plan, four key pieces made the cut for the first phase of the assembly, which is penciled in to take place from 2023 to 2028 in lunar orbit: The spartan outpost will include the U.S.-European space tug, a Canadian robot arm, a pair of habitation modules from Europe and Japan, and an airlock module from Russia. This hardware would hitchhike on NASA's giant SLS rocket, along with the Orion crew vehicle at the top of each booster.


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NASA and Roscosmos Sign Joint Statement on the Development of a Lunar Space Station 14 comments

The U.S. and Russia will work together to develop a space station orbiting the Moon. Canada, Japan, and the ESA have also expressed interest in the project:

At this year's International Astronautical Congress, NASA and Russia's space agency, Roscosmos, signed a joint statement expressing their intent to work collaboratively toward the development of a space station further out from Earth, orbiting the Moon, as a staging point for both lunar surface exploration and deeper space science.

This is part of NASA's expressed desire to explore and develop its so-called "deep space gateway" concept, which it intends to be a strategic base from which to expand the range and capabilities of human space exploration. NASA wants to get humans out into space beyond the Moon, in other words, and the gateway concept would establish an orbital space station in the vicinity of the Moon to help make this a more practical possibility.

Let's hope that the station, if built, becomes a refueling station that can store and distribute fuel produced on the Moon.

Deep Space Gateway. Also at The Guardian.

Previously: NASA Eyeing Mini Space Station in Lunar Orbit as Stepping Stone to Mars

Related: Moon Base Could Cost Just $10 Billion Due to New Technologies
ESA Expert Envisions "Moon Village" by 2030-2050
Scientists Scout Sub-Surface Settlement Sites on the Moon and Mars


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Russia Assembles Engineering Group for Lunar Activities and the Deep Space Gateway 8 comments

Deep Space Gateway (DSG) is a planned space station in lunar orbit. The U.S. and Russia signed an agreement last year to work on the station's development. Now Russia has created an engineering department inside the RKK Energia space corporation in order to plan the nation's lunar exploration, including a possible manned landing:

Officially, Moscow has been on a path to put a human on the Moon since 2013, when President Putin approved a general direction for human space flight in the coming decade. The program had been stalling for several years due to falling prices for oil, the main source of revenue for the Russian budget. Last year, however, the Russian lunar exploration effort was given a new impetus when the Kremlin made a strategic decision to cooperate with NASA on the construction of a habitable outpost in the orbit around the Moon, known as Deep Space Gateway, DSG.

Although the US saw the primary goal of the DSG as a springboard for missions to Mars, NASA's international partners, including Russia, have been pushing the idea of exploring the Moon first. On the Russian side, RKK Energia led key engineering studies into the design of the DSG and participated in negotiations with NASA on sharing responsibilities for the project.

To coordinate various technical aspects of lunar exploration, the head of RKK Energia Vladimir Solntsev signed an order late last year to form Center No. 23Ts, which would report directly to him. According to a document seen by Ars Technica, the group will be responsible for developing long-term plans for human missions to the vicinity of the Moon and to its surface, as well as for implementing proposals for international cooperation in lunar missions. This is a clear signal that NASA might soon have a new liaison in Russia for all things related to the DSG. The same group will also take care of all the relevant domestic interactions between RKK Energia and its subcontractors.

Unlike the ISS, the DSG should not require any orbital boost burns and could reach any altitude above the Moon using ion thrusters.

Here are two op-eds from last year about the Deep Space Gateway:

Terry Virts: The Deep Space Gateway would shackle human exploration, not enable it

John Thornton: The Deep Space Gateway as a cislunar port

Related articles:


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President Trump Praises Falcon Heavy, Diminishes NASA's SLS Effort 65 comments

Trump on Falcon Heavy: "I'm so used to hearing different numbers with NASA"

During a cabinet meeting on Thursday inside the White House, President Donald Trump called attention to several model rockets on the table before him. They included an Atlas V, a Falcon 9, a Space Launch System, and more. The president seemed enthused to see the launch vehicles. "Before me are some rocket ships," the president said. "You haven't seen that for this country in a long time."

Then, in remarks probably best characterized as spur of the moment, the president proceeded to absolutely demolish the government's own effort to build rockets by noting the recent launch of the Falcon Heavy rocket. He cited the cost as $80 million. (The list price on SpaceX's website is $90 million.)

"I noticed the prices of the last one they say cost $80 million," Trump said. "If the government did it, the same thing would have cost probably 40 or 50 times that amount of money. I mean literally. When I heard $80 million, I'm so used to hearing different numbers with NASA.''

NASA has not, in fact, set a price for flying the SLS rocket. But Ars has previously estimated that, including the billions of dollars in development cost, the per-flight fees for the SLS rocket will probably be close to $3 billion. Indeed, the development costs of SLS and its ground systems between now and its first flight could purchase 86 launches of the privately developed Falcon Heavy rocket. So President Trump's estimate of NASA's costs compared to private industry does not appear to be wildly off the mark.

[*] SLS: Space Launch System

Related: Maiden Flight of the Space Launch System Delayed to 2019
WFIRST Space Observatory Could be Scaled Back Due to Costs
Safety Panel Raises Concerns Over SpaceX and Boeing Commercial Crew Plans
After the Falcon Heavy Launch, Time to Defund the Space Launch System?
Trump Administration Budget Proposal Would Cancel WFIRST
Leaning Tower of NASA
NASA Moving to Scale Back the Space Technology Mission Directorate


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NASA's Chief of Human Spaceflight Rules Out Use of Falcon Heavy for Lunar Station 43 comments

NASA chief explains why agency won't buy a bunch of Falcon Heavy rockets

Since the launch of the Falcon Heavy rocket in February, NASA has faced some uncomfortable questions about the affordability of its own Space Launch System rocket. By some estimates, NASA could afford 17 to 27 Falcon Heavy launches a year for what it is paying annually to develop the SLS rocket, which won't fly before 2020. Even President Trump has mused about the high costs of NASA's rocket. On Monday, during a committee meeting of NASA's Advisory Council, former Space Shuttle Program Manager Wayne Hale raised this issue. Following a presentation by Bill Gerstenmaier, chief of human spaceflight for NASA, Hale asked whether the space agency wouldn't be better off going with the cheaper commercial rocket.

[...] In response, Gerstenmaier pointed Hale and other members of the advisory committee—composed of external aerospace experts who provide non-binding advice to the space agency—to a chart he had shown earlier in the presentation. This chart showed the payload capacity of the Space Launch System in various configurations in terms of mass sent to the Moon. "It's a lot smaller than any of those," Gerstenmaier said, referring to the Falcon Heavy's payload capacity to TLI, or "trans-lunar injection," which effectively means the amount of mass that can be broken out of low-Earth orbit and sent into a lunar trajectory. In the chart, the SLS Block 1 rocket has a TLI capacity of 26 metric tons. (The chart also contains the more advanced Block 2 version of the SLS, with a capacity of 45 tons. However, this rocket is at least a decade away, and it will require billions of dollars more to design and develop.)

SpaceX's Falcon Heavy TLI capacity is unknown, but estimated to be somewhere between 18 and 22 tons (between the known payloads of 16.8 tons to Mars and 26.7 tons to geostationary orbit).

Does the SLS need to launch more than 18 tons to TLI? No. All of the currently planned components of the Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway (formerly the Deep Space Gateway) have a mass of 10 tons or less due to flying alongside a crewed Orion capsule rather than by themselves. Only by 2027's Exploration Mission 6 would NASA launch more massive payloads, by which time SpaceX's BFR could take 150 tons to TLI or even Mars when using in-orbit refueling.

Related: NASA Eyeing Mini Space Station in Lunar Orbit as Stepping Stone to Mars
NASA and Roscosmos Sign Joint Statement on the Development of a Lunar Space Station
President Trump Signs Space Policy Directive 1
Russia Assembles Engineering Group for Lunar Activities and the Deep Space Gateway
After the Falcon Heavy Launch, Time to Defund the Space Launch System?
President Trump Praises Falcon Heavy, Diminishes NASA's SLS Effort


Original Submission

This Week in Space Pessimism: SLS, Mars, and Lunar Gateway 25 comments

NASA's Space Launch System: Rocketing Towards Cancellation?

The National Space Society recently held a conference in Los Angeles, and SLS was apparently a hot topic at the gathering. Over the course of four days of mingling with space industry muckety-mucks, Politico Space reports it heard multiple rumblings that bode ill for the Space Launch System money-pot.

For one thing, SLS has been marketed as key to NASA's efforts to eventually put astronauts on Mars. But as Politico reports, attendees at the conference expressed doubts as to "the wisdom or efficacy of a crewed mission to Mars in the next decade." California Republican and House space subcommittee member Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, for one, criticized the technology as too immature to support a manned Mars mission, saying "I think all this talk about going to Mars has been premature," and warning that NASA won't actually be ready to conduct a manned Mars mission before "20 years from now, maybe more."

Astronaut Chris Hadfield says the rockets from NASA, SpaceX, and Blue Origin won't take people to Mars

[Chris] Hadfield, who's now retired, shares his expertise about rockets, spaceships, spacewalking, and Mars exploration in a new web course on the online platform MasterClass. To follow up on those lessons, we asked Hadfield what he thinks about the future rocket ships of three major players in the new space race: NASA's Space Launch System, SpaceX's Big Falcon Rocket, and Blue Origin's New Glenn rocket.

[...] "Personally, I don't think any of those three rockets is taking people to Mars," Hadfield told Business Insider. " I don't think those are a practical way to send people to Mars because they're dangerous and it takes too long."

Response to Hadfield's remarks: SpaceX BFR can be used for massive space development, orbital, lunar and Mars colonization

NASA Administrator Ponders the Fate of SLS in Interview 4 comments

Rocket Report: Japanese rocket blows up, NASA chief ponders purpose of SLS (and other news)

NASA Administrator ponders what to do with the SLS rocket. During a Q&A with Politico, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine was asked about how the space agency views commercial launch vehicles. His response: "As we move forward, we're going to have to maybe rethink... at what point do we start taking advantage of those commercial capabilities to the extent that they drive down cost, give us more capability, and what do we do with SLS?... We're not there yet, but certainly there's a horizon here. Is it 10 years? I don't know what the answer is, but what we can't do in my view is give up our government capability, our national capability, when we don't have an alternative."

Speaking of timelines ... NASA doesn't exactly have the "national capability" of the SLS rocket yet in the heavy-lift class, either. We've heard rumors of a slip to 2021 for the first launch date, in which case Blue Origin's New Glenn has a fighting chance to fly first, as SpaceX's Falcon Heavy rocket has already done.

Blue Origin targets Moon landing by 2023. Blue Origin's business development director, A.C. Charania, said at a conference that the company's Blue Moon program is "our first step to developing a lunar landing capability for the country, for other customers internationally, to be able to land multi metric tons on the lunar surface." The company has not said what role its large orbital rocket under development, New Glenn, would play in a mission to the Moon.

BFR is a privately funded next-generation reusable launch vehicle and spacecraft system developed by SpaceX. It was announced by Elon Musk in September 2017.[8][9] The overall space vehicle architecture includes both launch vehicles and spacecraft that are intended to completely replace all of SpaceX's existing space hardware by the early 2020s as well as ground infrastructure for rapid launch and relaunch, and zero-gravity propellant transfer technology to be deployed in low Earth orbit (LEO). The large payload to Earth orbit of up to 150,000 kg (330,000 lb) makes BFR a super heavy-lift launch vehicle. Manufacture of the first upper stage/spacecraft prototype began by March 2018, and the ship is projected to begin testing in early 2019.[5]

Related: First SLS Mission Will be Unmanned
After the Falcon Heavy Launch, Time to Defund the Space Launch System?
President Trump Praises Falcon Heavy, Diminishes NASA's SLS Effort
SpaceX BFR vs. ULA Vulcan Showdown in the 2020s
NASA's Chief of Human Spaceflight Rules Out Use of Falcon Heavy for Lunar Station
NASA Could Scale Down First Manned Flight of the SLS
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine Serious About Returning to the Moon
Jeff Bezos Details Moon Settlement Ambitions in Interview
This Week in Space Pessimism: SLS, Mars, and Lunar Gateway


Original Submission

China Will Focus on a Lunar Surface Station Rather than a Lunar Orbiting Station 17 comments

Chinese space official seems unimpressed with NASA's lunar gateway

This week, the European and Chinese space agencies held a workshop in Amsterdam to discuss cooperation between Europe and China on lunar science missions. The meeting comes as Europe seems increasingly content to work with China on spaceflight programs.

Although the meeting is not being streamed online, space systems designer and lunar exploration enthusiast Angeliki Kapoglou has been providing some coverage of the meeting via Twitter. Among the most interesting things she has shared are slides from a presentation by Pei Zhaoyu, who is deputy director of the Lunar Exploration and Space Program Center of the China National Space Administration.

[...] Overall, Pei does not appear to be a fan of NASA's plan to build a deep space gateway, formally known as the Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway, at a near-rectilinear halo orbit. Whereas NASA will focus its activities on this gateway away from the Moon, Pei said China will focus on a "lunar scientific research station."

[...] So far, NASA has yet to finalize commitments with Europe, Russia, or other International Space Station partners on contributions to the gateway. While European officials are interested, it seems like they may also be willing to go along with China if that country has a more direct plan to land humans on the Moon.

Related: NASA Could Scale Down First Manned Flight of the SLS
2020s to Become the Decade of Lunar Re-Exploration
This Week in Space Pessimism: SLS, Mars, and Lunar Gateway


Original Submission

SpaceX's Falcon Heavy Could Launch Japanese and European Payloads to Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway 17 comments

SpaceX's Falcon Heavy eyed by Europe/Japan

According to RussianSpaceWeb, SpaceX's Falcon Heavy rocket is under serious consideration for launches of major European and Japanese payloads associated with the Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway (formerly the Deep Space Gateway).

[...] The first payload considering Falcon Heavy for launch services is the Japanese Space Agency's (JAXA) HTV-X, and upgraded version of a spacecraft the country developed to assist in resupplying the International Space Station (ISS). HTV-X is primarily being designed with an ISS-resupply role still at the forefront, but RussianSpaceWeb recently reported that JAXA is seriously considering the development of a variant of the robotic spacecraft dedicated to resupplying the Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway (LOPG; and I truly wish I were joking about both the name and acronym).

[...] Regardless of the LOPG's existential merits, a lot of energy (and money) is currently being funneled into planning and initial hardware development for the lunar station's various modular segments. JAXA is currently analyzing ways to resupply LOPG and its crew complement with its HTV-X cargo spacecraft, currently targeting its first annual ISS resupply mission by the end of 2021. While JAXA will use its own domestic H-III rocket to launch HTV-X to the ISS, that rocket simply is not powerful enough to place a minimum of ~10,000 kg (22,000 lb) on a trans-lunar insertion (TLI) trajectory. As such, JAXA is examining SpaceX's Falcon Heavy as a prime (and affordable) option: by recovering both side boosters on SpaceX's drone ships and sacrificing the rocket's center core, a 2/3rds-reusable Falcon Heavy should be able to send as much as 20,000 kg to TLI (lunar orbit), according to comments made by CEO Elon Musk.

That impressive performance would also be needed for another LOPG payload, this time for ESA's 5-6 ton European System Providing Refueling Infrastructure and Telecommunications (ESPRIT) lunar station module. That component is unlikely to reach launch readiness before 2024, but ESA is already considering Falcon Heavy (over its own Ariane 6 rocket) in order to save some of the module's propellant. Weighing 6 metric tons at most, Falcon Heavy could most likely launch ESPRIT while still recovering all three of its booster stages.

Previously: NASA's Chief of Human Spaceflight Rules Out Use of Falcon Heavy for Lunar Station

Related: NASA and International Partners Planning Orbital Lunar Outpost
Russia Assembles Engineering Group for Lunar Activities and the Deep Space Gateway
This Week in Space Pessimism: SLS, Mars, and Lunar Gateway


Original Submission

NASA and Roscosmos Release Joint Statement on ISS Leak Amid Rumors 32 comments

Russian theory that NASA sabotaged the space station spreading like wildfire

As you may recall, a low-pressure leak occurred aboard the International Space Station in late August. Eventually the crews traced the leak to the orbital module of a Russian Soyuz spacecraft that had arrived at the station in June. After the problem was traced to what appears to be a manufacturing defect, the head of Russia's space program essentially called for the head of whoever made the error. Now, however, something entirely new is afoot in Russia. A growing number of Russian publications have been putting forth an absurd new theory—that a NASA astronaut deliberately caused the leak on board the station in order to force the evacuation of a sick crew member. The story has spread like wildfire during the last 24 hours, according to Robinson Mitchell, who translates Russian space stories for Ars.

One of the most prominent articles was published Wednesday in Kommersant, which says Russian investigators are vigorously pursuing the claim that Americans may have damaged the Soyuz deliberately. Publicly, Roscosmos leader Dmitry Rogozin was quoted as saying about Russia's investigation into the leak, "Results we have received do not give us an objective picture. The situation is much more complex than we earlier thought." Privately, however, several sources from the space agency are leaking much juicier comments to the Russian media. "Our Soyuz is next to the Rassvet (Dawn) module, right next to the hatch into the American segment of the station," one source told Kommersant. "Access to our ship is possible only with the permission of our commander, but we cannot exclude an unsanctioned access by the Americans."

Russia's Space Leader Blusters About Mars in the Face of Stiff Budget Cuts 24 comments

Russia's space leader blusters about Mars in the face of stiff budget cuts

The leader of Russia's civil space program appears to be increasingly disengaged from reality. In recent months Dmitry Rogozin, the chief of Roscosmos, has given a series of interviews in which he has made all manner of big promises about the supposedly bright future of Russia's space program.

For example, in an interview published just today, Rogozin made the fantastical claim that his country's space program has the technical means to reach Mars and land cosmonauts there within eight to 10 years. If Russia is ready to finance such a plan, Rogozin guaranteed that Roscosmos stands ready to deliver.

Russia, Rogozin also recently said, is ready to do reuse better than SpaceX and the United States. SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket, he said, is only "semi-reusable," and Russia aspires to build a 21st-century rocket capable of 100 flights. He then reiterated that Russia would like to develop a version of its Soyuz rocket that has a methane-fueled engine.

SpaceX has flown its Falcon 9 first-stage rockets five times, and it plans to push toward reusing each booster 10 times. It is not clear what, if any, steps Russia has taken toward reuse. The reality is that Russia depends on reliable but decades-old technology to get into space. And while Rogozin talks a good game about sending his cosmonauts to the Moon or to Mars, and about competing with SpaceX on reusable rockets, this appears to be mostly bluster.

If you are still under any illusions about the state of Russia's space program, now is the time to dispel them.

Previously: Russian Space Agency Abolished and Replaced Following Financial Violations
Price War Between SpaceX and Russia
Russian Rocket Builder May Have Replaced Special Alloys With Cheap Metals
NASA and Roscosmos Release Joint Statement on ISS Leak Amid Rumors
Head of Russian Space Agency Roscosmos Wavers on Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway
Russia Space Chief Spars with Elon Musk Over Launch Pricing


Original Submission

Canada Will Contribute to the Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway 19 comments

Gateway Moon station: Canada joins Nasa space project

Canada will contribute US$1.4bn to a proposed Nasa space station that will orbit the Moon and act as a base to land astronauts on its surface.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the step would "push the boundaries of innovation".

The space station, called Gateway, is a key element in Nasa's plan to return to the Moon with humans in the 2020s.

As part of the 24-year commitment, Canada will build a next-generation robotic arm for the new lunar outpost.

"Canada is going to the Moon," Mr Trudeau told a news conference at Canadian Space Agency's headquarters near Montreal, according to AFP.

*Canada is going near the Moon.

Also at CBC and Popular Mechanics.

Previously: Russia Assembles Engineering Group for Lunar Activities and the Deep Space Gateway
China Will Focus on a Lunar Surface Station Rather than a Lunar Orbiting Station
SpaceX's Falcon Heavy Could Launch Japanese and European Payloads to Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway
Head of Russian Space Agency Roscosmos Wavers on Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway
Is the Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway the Right Way to the Moon?

Related: Future of U.S.-Russian Space Cooperation in Doubt
ESA Plans to Send Mining Equipment to the Moon


Original Submission

Future of U.S.-Russian Space Cooperation in Doubt 15 comments

Russia Wants to Extend U.S. Space Partnership. Or It Could Turn to China.

The American incentives for engaging with Russia in space in the 1990s — political goals like the employment of idle rocket scientists to prevent missile proliferation — have mostly disappeared with the resumption of tensions. The Trump administration has already proposed that by 2025 the United States should stop supporting the International Space Station that is the principal joint project today. A final decision is up to Congress. The American role might be shifted to a commercial footing thereafter.

[...] [It] is unclear how much longer the post-Soviet era of space cooperation between the United States and Russia can last in the more hostile environment now surrounding relations. In the interview, [Dmitri O. Rogozin, the director of Russia's space agency,] said Russia wanted to carry on joint flights with the United States and its allies, despite the tensions over election interference, wars in Syria and Ukraine, and the chemical weapons poisoning of a former double agent in Britain.

[...] Analysts say Moscow has a strong incentive to maintain the joint program: a decided lack of money to pursue a lunar station on its own. Russia's budget for its space program is something less than one-10th what the United States spends on NASA. [...] Russia's preference is to press on with a space program entwined with the United States', on either the lunar program or another venture, Mr. Rogozin said. But if talks fail, Russia can turn to China or India for partnership. There might then be two stations circling the Earth or the moon, one led by the United States the other a Russian-Chinese enterprise. Mr. Rogozin even floated the idea of a "BRIC station," the acronym for the developing economies of Brazil, Russia, India and China.

Mr. Rogozin in November ordered the Russian Academy of Sciences to study the prospects for a solo Russian program to build a habitable base on the surface of the moon. Ivan M. Moiseyev, the director of the Institute of Space Policy in Moscow, said in a telephone interview that any proposal for a lone Russian lunar station was fantastical, given the budget constraints. "The technical capability exists, but the finances don't."

The U.S. and NASA could develop stronger partnerships with the European Space Agency, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, and Indian Space Research Organisation instead.

Previously:

Related: Price War Between SpaceX and Russia


Original Submission

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  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by requerdanos on Monday September 24 2018, @05:22PM (25 children)

    by requerdanos (5997) Subscriber Badge on Monday September 24 2018, @05:22PM (#739272) Journal

    Moscow may abandon a project to build a space station in lunar orbit in partnership with U.S. space agency NASA because it does not want a "second fiddle role," a Russian official said

    Second fiddle? Perhaps Russian officials should review the history of space travel [thoughtco.com].

    First Space vehicle: Russia*
    First Spacefaring Dog: Russia
    First Man in Space: Russia
    First Man to Orbit Earth: Russia
    First Woman to Orbit Earth: Russia
    First Rocket to Moon: Russia
    First Pictures of Dark/Back side of Moon: Russia
    First Man to Land On Moon: USA
    Only Nation Currently Carrying Humans to Space: Russia
    Only Nation Capable of Carrying USA Astronauts to Space: Russia

    If you can spot the "second fiddle" power in the above, excellent work.

    Bonus points if your answer is correct (check: does your answer start with "U"? Good job!)

    • (Score: 3, Touché) by requerdanos on Monday September 24 2018, @05:23PM (1 child)

      by requerdanos (5997) Subscriber Badge on Monday September 24 2018, @05:23PM (#739274) Journal

      * Some "Russia" entries should perhaps read "USSR".

      • (Score: 2) by Rich on Tuesday September 25 2018, @04:57PM

        by Rich (945) on Tuesday September 25 2018, @04:57PM (#739749) Journal

        ... and I thought the asterisk meant "unless you count suborbital flights, in which case it was Germany"

    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by takyon on Monday September 24 2018, @05:31PM (16 children)

      by takyon (881) <reversethis-{gro ... s} {ta} {noykat}> on Monday September 24 2018, @05:31PM (#739281) Journal

      That's great and all, but the Soviet Union no longer exists and the Russian space program is in the shiiter now:

      http://www.spaceflightinsider.com/organizations/roscosmos/problems-continue-plague-russian-space-program/ [spaceflightinsider.com]
      https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/russia-space-programme-collapse-soyuz-2-1b-rocket-cosmodrome-launch-failure-latest-news-a8094856.html [independent.co.uk]
      https://www.defenseone.com/threats/2018/08/russia-slowly-declining-space-superpower/150279/ [defenseone.com]

      Their upcoming rockets are far from impressive:

      https://www.nextbigfuture.com/2018/08/china-main-spacex-competitor-as-russia-is-giving-up.html [nextbigfuture.com]
      https://www.nextbigfuture.com/2018/08/russia-stopping-proton-m-rocket-project-as-it-cannot-compete-against-spacex-and-china.html [nextbigfuture.com]
      https://www.nextbigfuture.com/2018/08/russia-will-spend-24-billion-to-develop-a-large-rocket-by-2028.html [nextbigfuture.com]

      If the Russians do still have lunar ambitions, getting involved in the FLOP-G would be a bad idea. It is just an expensive destination planned to give the Space Launch System a place to go (even though you could build it far cheaper using Falcon Heavy).

      --
      [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 24 2018, @06:13PM (4 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 24 2018, @06:13PM (#739299)

        Is this news accurate, or do we have gellman amnesia effect here?

        • (Score: 5, Informative) by takyon on Monday September 24 2018, @06:35PM (1 child)

          by takyon (881) <reversethis-{gro ... s} {ta} {noykat}> on Monday September 24 2018, @06:35PM (#739322) Journal

          Their ISS cash cow could be going away as soon as next year. They don't do any major space exploration missions like NASA does and their Fobos-Grunt mission was a failure. Their upcoming rockets are not competitive with Falcon Heavy and BFR.

          Michael Crichton is an overrated dead man.

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          [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
          • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 24 2018, @07:05PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 24 2018, @07:05PM (#739340)

            Hmm, chrichton just gave a name to it, so not sure why that came up. It is extremely common, there is even a catchier new name for it...

        • (Score: 2, Insightful) by khallow on Monday September 24 2018, @07:43PM (1 child)

          by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Monday September 24 2018, @07:43PM (#739362) Journal
          Why are you asking rather than coming up with a real argument? Notice that the list of Russian achievements only had two since 1970 and those two are default wins (that is, because the US isn't yet competing). Introduce manned flights by SpaceX and others, then the position of Russia will be far from secure.
          • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 24 2018, @11:44PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 24 2018, @11:44PM (#739452)

            Why are you asking rather than coming up with a real argument?

            Because the essence of the effect is that you don't even know what questions to ask...

      • (Score: 2, Interesting) by requerdanos on Monday September 24 2018, @06:37PM (2 children)

        by requerdanos (5997) Subscriber Badge on Monday September 24 2018, @06:37PM (#739324) Journal

        That's great and all, but the Soviet Union no longer exists...r upcoming rockets are far from impressive...If the Russians do still have lunar ambitions, getting involved in the FLOP-G would be a bad idea.

        1. The Soviet Union hasn't been transporting USA's astronauts to and from the International Space Station since 2011 (that's actually Russia).

        2. The question here is not whether their rockets are impressive, but whether Russia would play "Second Fiddle".

        3. The question here is neither whether the mission is a good idea (you're right; it isn't) but whether Russia would play "Second Fiddle".

        If the U.S. thinks Russia should play second fiddle in some way, perhaps they should review their space history.

        If you genuinely think that Russia's underwhelming rockets and less impressive space program make it somehow not as good as the U.S., I invite you to please consider that they can put people in space and the U.S. can't, and it's been that way for a long time. The U.S. has performed in fits and starts, some really good ("That's one small step for a man..."), some not that great ("Hey, I know, let's discontinue these Shuttles with no replacement even while we have personnel in space; let them call a taxi or something"). Meanwhile Russia has quietly been (and yet remains) a steady, reliable performer.

        • (Score: 4, Insightful) by takyon on Monday September 24 2018, @07:21PM

          by takyon (881) <reversethis-{gro ... s} {ta} {noykat}> on Monday September 24 2018, @07:21PM (#739349) Journal

          1. You listed a bunch of Soviet Union space achievements, which is why I mentioned it. Russia is weaker than the Soviet Union and not engaging in a "space race". If we have a space race with any country going forward, it will probably be China.

          2. Russia's unimpressive rockets are an important piece of the overall picture. Their space program is shit, and they have no plans to effectively compete with SpaceX. Note that this is not just a problem for Roscosmos, but also Arianespace and others.

          3. LOP-G is designed to give the military industrial complex some pork money to build a destination for the U.S. pork rocket: the Space Launch System. Most of the components appear to be U.S.-built and planned to launch using the SLS Block 1B. Yes, Russia is playing "second fiddle", at least under the current plans. They would be wasting their time and money by participating in what amounts to a U.S. stimulus package to certain U.S. companies.

          The U.S. has all the technology needed to put people into space. What they get with Soyuz is a relatively cheap [businessinsider.com], cramped ride that only goes to the ISS, which is the only place the U.S. wants to send humans at this point anyway. It was a good deal while it lasted, although the price has increased greatly over the years, but soon SpaceX and maybe Boeing's offerings will be better. The Soyuz reliability record is not shared by their other rockets.

          In retrospect, the U.S. lack of a domestic manned spaceflight provider has been a great thing. The gap allowed SpaceX to get lucrative contracts to deliver cargo and soon humans to the ISS. If the company succeeds with BFR, the consequences will be enormous.

          --
          [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
        • (Score: 3, Insightful) by khallow on Monday September 24 2018, @07:53PM

          by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Monday September 24 2018, @07:53PM (#739367) Journal

          If you genuinely think that Russia's underwhelming rockets and less impressive space program make it somehow not as good as the U.S., I invite you to please consider that they can put people in space and the U.S. can't, and it's been that way for a long time. The U.S. has performed in fits and starts, some really good ("That's one small step for a man..."), some not that great ("Hey, I know, let's discontinue these Shuttles with no replacement even while we have personnel in space; let them call a taxi or something"). Meanwhile Russia has quietly been (and yet remains) a steady, reliable performer.

          It's not the US's space program that is relevant here, but US private industry. A big part of Russia's capabilities comes from its launch systems. Those aren't keeping up with SpaceX.

      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Runaway1956 on Monday September 24 2018, @06:44PM (7 children)

        by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Monday September 24 2018, @06:44PM (#739330) Homepage Journal

        Russian space program is in the shiiter now

        That's why the US stands in line, to hitch a ride on Russian spacecraft, right?

        --
        Your private safe room in the back of your mind? Trump pooped in it.
        • (Score: 2) by takyon on Monday September 24 2018, @07:38PM

          by takyon (881) <reversethis-{gro ... s} {ta} {noykat}> on Monday September 24 2018, @07:38PM (#739358) Journal

          The U.S. does it because it's "cheap" and goes to the ISS, which the U.S. is committed to. Once the U.S. finally cuts its dependence on Russian vehicles, a large chunk of Russian space activity will evaporate.

          The U.S. continues to lead the world on space science. Look at this timeline:

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_Solar_System_exploration [wikipedia.org]

          Can you find Russia's last successful solar system science mission?

          Trick question. The Soviet Union successfully launched Vega 1 and Vega 2 in December 1984. The Russian Federation has had no successful Russia-led missions, and two big failures: Mars 96 and Fobos-Grunt. The U.S. has launched TESS, InSight, and the Parker Solar Probe just this year.
          --
          [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
        • (Score: 1, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 24 2018, @07:41PM (4 children)

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 24 2018, @07:41PM (#739361)

          Just cause the US system is worse, doesn't mean theirs is good, does it?

          • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Runaway1956 on Monday September 24 2018, @07:57PM (3 children)

            by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Monday September 24 2018, @07:57PM (#739371) Homepage Journal

            Of course not. I'm happy to see some civilian projects starting to work out. To my knowledge, none of those civilian craft are sacrificing safety in the pursuit of profit. Not yet, at least. Competition always lowers prices, and at the same time drives the developers to seek better ways of doing things. Russian space development may suck, but US development sucks worse, so thank my plate of spaghetti for people like Elon Musk.

            --
            Your private safe room in the back of your mind? Trump pooped in it.
            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 24 2018, @10:15PM (2 children)

              by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 24 2018, @10:15PM (#739433)

              They can't sacrifice safety for profits. Well, they could, but that one safety incident will tank their reputation beyond any profit margin they were able to increase. The cost of building and launching a vehicle makes skimping on safety just plain stupid.

              • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Tuesday September 25 2018, @12:25AM (1 child)

                by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday September 25 2018, @12:25AM (#739463) Homepage Journal

                Yes, that's obvious to you and me. But, to an MBA? It seems that maybe the space-going corporations don't hire MBA's.

                --
                Your private safe room in the back of your mind? Trump pooped in it.
                • (Score: 1, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 25 2018, @01:58AM

                  by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 25 2018, @01:58AM (#739489)

                  ULA & Ariannespace do. I bet Northrup Grumman Innovation Systems (nee OrbitalATK) does too. It takes a lot of MBA to maximize shareholder value from their government contracts. After all, you don't want the engineers talking directly with the customers! They might actually deliver what the customer wants and asked for, and working to boot, without change orders. Cannot have that.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 25 2018, @02:44AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 25 2018, @02:44AM (#739507)

          I'm always reminded of this exchange from the opening of 2010

          Dr. Floyd: "How could you convince your people to allow Americans to go on the flight?"

          Moisevitch: "It won't be easy. However, I'm pretty good. A Russian craft flown by Russians... carrying a few poor Americans who need our help. That also doesn't look too bad on the front page of Pravda."

          Of course, the Musky One may soon be changing that.

    • (Score: 2) by loonycyborg on Monday September 24 2018, @06:33PM (4 children)

      by loonycyborg (6905) on Monday September 24 2018, @06:33PM (#739321)

      Since blatant americanophilia of 1993s and later everyone in Russia really like to cede any sort of leadership to US, mostly out of personal laziness and lack of critical thinking skills. But due to late dimplomatic events Russia really should take more initiative and responsibility, because US won't benevolently lead them anymore, if they ever did.

      • (Score: 0, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 24 2018, @07:23PM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 24 2018, @07:23PM (#739351)

        That's why they ceded power to the United States.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 25 2018, @09:44AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 25 2018, @09:44AM (#739603)

          That's why they ceded power to the United States.

          If you believe they ceded any power, you're delusional.

      • (Score: -1, Redundant) by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 24 2018, @08:01PM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 24 2018, @08:01PM (#739373)

        That's why they ceded power to the United States.

        Disappearing my comment won't change this fact.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 25 2018, @02:50AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 25 2018, @02:50AM (#739509)

          Sad news dude: as long as you post AC, your comment isn't visible anyway.

    • (Score: 2) by bob_super on Monday September 24 2018, @09:25PM

      by bob_super (1357) on Monday September 24 2018, @09:25PM (#739412)

      > Only Nation Currently Carrying Humans to Space: Russia
      > Only Nation Capable of Carrying USA Astronauts to Space: Russia

      中国人想和你谈谈

  • (Score: 2) by turgid on Monday September 24 2018, @08:22PM (5 children)

    by turgid (4318) Subscriber Badge on Monday September 24 2018, @08:22PM (#739386) Journal

    Of all the patriotic heroes in the world, Mr Putin is surely the strongest, wisest, most intelligent and nicest. He puts his country first and he has great respect for all the other patriots who put their countries first, wherever they are and whatever those countries may be.

    Mr Putin, as well as being a very nice man, and a staunch patriot, is also very powerful and personally quite wealthy. I'm sure he would be delighted to patriotically lend some money (pocket change, I'm sure) along with his greatest wealthy and very nice friends, to great patriots making glorious patriotic endeavours such as the Russian conquest of space.

    Roscosmos, have no fear, that nice Mr Putin will no doubt come to your rescue. He might also send you some extra patriotic Cossacks. They're very strong and will root out your Neo-Nazis.

    • (Score: 1, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 24 2018, @08:59PM (4 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 24 2018, @08:59PM (#739399)

      Mr. Trump, welcome to Soylent News!

      • (Score: 3, Funny) by Sulla on Monday September 24 2018, @09:28PM (3 children)

        by Sulla (5173) on Monday September 24 2018, @09:28PM (#739415) Journal

        Trump is actually trying to make a firm peace and working relationship with the Russians, this requires a little placation and kindness instead of outward bitterness and rage.

        Unless of course you want continued degrading relations and possible war, but you couldn't possible want that, could you?

        --
        Ceterum censeo Sinae esse delendam
        • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 24 2018, @10:21PM (2 children)

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 24 2018, @10:21PM (#739435)

          I'm all for trying to build friendly diplomatic relations with other countries instead of going to war, but I don't think that quite requires becoming someone's itty bitty bitch AKA "a little placation and kindness".

          So far Trump has snuggled up with all the worst dictators in the world while trashing US relations with all the more democratic ones. Get a clue already!!

          • (Score: 1, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 25 2018, @03:02AM (1 child)

            by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 25 2018, @03:02AM (#739513)

            The only thing that makes me sometimes wonder if the OMG Russia! Stalin! Lenin! KGB! Meddling! narrative isn't total bullshit is the character of the other... fine world citizens @realDonaldTrump takes a liking to. It's also possible both that Putin is a thug and that the Russia narrative is bullshit.

            Perhaps it is not good that the major nuclear powers are on a collision course. Yet how can that be helped? What do all people with power want? More power. Glib but true. The use of nuclear weapons is inevitable. Perhaps we should just get it over with.

            May our grandchildren forgive us. If they curse us instead, it would be entirely justified.

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 25 2018, @07:36PM

              by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 25 2018, @07:36PM (#739834)

              I think it's more that he has mid-lined relationships instead of polarizing them. Putin is not treated as some demonic evil force that eats babies for lunch, and e.g. western EU member states are no longer treated as our beloved children that we should pamper and care for even at great cost and sacrifice to ourselves. Pair these two events together and it creates an image of neglecting allies and favoring enemies. In reality, it is the US treating the rest of the world as other sovereign nations. Well except Israel. It's apparently still our beloved child that must be pampered and cared for at all costs.

  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 24 2018, @09:03PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 24 2018, @09:03PM (#739402)

    If they falter, we can always team up with the Canadians.

    Oops, we pissed them off lately.

    Okay, Australians. Wup, pissed them off also.

    The UK! wait, nevermind.

    Ger....not.

    Poland! There we go.

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