Posts Tagged orbit
It has to be depressing to be a Russian space scientist interested in the Red Planet. In more than half a century, Russia has made about 20 attempts to send probes to Mars, with almost no success whatsoever. Missions have failed to get into space at all, gotten stuck in earth orbit, flown past the planet instead of going into orbit, lost contact, hit the planet too hard. The closest the country came to success was in 1971, when Russia managed to land on the surface, 20 seconds after which the lander died, and in 1973, when it got an orbiting probe into a planned Martian orbit, but it died after just a few days.
Now it’s looking as though the Russians may endure yet another failure. The latest mission, Phobos-Grunt is currently lost in Earth’s orbit.
The experts say that the problem is with the software. If it is the case, there is a good chance of uploading some new commands and getting the mission back on track and on its way to Mars. If there is a problem with the hardware itself, however, the mission will probably be a failure.
We all wonder where NASA’s new space development program will take us. What kind of technologies will we employ? What planets will we visit? What will happen to the International Space Station (ISS)?
All these questions and more where answered by NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver at the International Symposium for Personal and Commercial Spaceflight.
Here are the key notes.
- Private researchers and tourists will be able to travel to ISS and other orbital destination (“Vacation All I Ever Wanted!”)
- An international expedition will set out for a mission to asteroid (earlier plans were used during the filming of “Armageddon”)
- A new planet containing water, i.e. habitable will be discovered by The Webb Telescope
- Every earthquake and tsunami can be predicted way in advance via personal hand held computer device
- 98 percent of Earth-crossing asteroids are being tracked and cataloged
- Bases and outposts are being set up on the Moon (Honeymoon anybody?)
You can read more of Ms. Garver’s comments here.
How realistic do you think those predictions are? Please comment below.
Russia’s Soyuz Crash + US Shuttle Program Retirement= International Space Station Abandoned. How did it come to this?
Last week’s Soyuz crash was just the latest in a series of embarrassing mishaps for Russia’s space industry, which is plagued by quality problems and an ageing workforce. With no other way to get astronauts into orbit, the operation of the International Space Station is now in question.
The people in the Altai Mountains of Siberia (where the crash occurred) are regarded as frugal and tough. In late summer, many live from harvesting berries and cedar nuts.
They are also used to having burned-out rocket stages crash in the wilderness after spacecraft launches. When, in the middle of last week, a large ball of fire was seen in the sky above the taiga, residents of the village of Karakoksha were not alarmed. They apparently just went back to sleep.
After a malfunction, a Russian Soyuz rocket had crashed along with an unmanned cargo spacecraft named Progress. The explosion was heard even 100 kilometers (62 miles) away.
This accident couldn’t have come at a worst time. It shuttered public confidence in the aging Russian technology which is crucial to the future of manned spaceflight since NASA shut down the Space Shuttle program in July. Russia remains the only country that is able to regularly put humans into space.
Permanent operation of the International Space Station (ISS) is now impossible without the Soyuz rocket, which went into service in its current form in 1973 and had previously been the most reliable rocket of all time.
Until officials figure out what went wrong with Russia’s essential Soyuz rockets, there will be no way to launch any more astronauts before the current residents have to leave in mid-November.
Abandoning the space station, even for a short period, would be an unpleasant last resort for the world’s five space agencies that have spent decades working on the project. Astronauts have been living aboard the space station since 2000, and the goal is to keep it going until 2020.
Even if the space shuttles still were flying, space station crews still would need Soyuz-launched capsules to serve as lifeboats, Suffredini said. The capsules are certified for no more than 6 1/2 months in space, thus the need to regularly rotate crews. Complicating matters is the need to land the capsules during daylight hours in Kazakhstan, resulting in weeks of blackout periods.
NASA wants American private companies to take over crew hauls, but that’s three to five years away at best. Until then, Soyuz capsules are the only means of transporting astronauts to the space station.
What is your opinion? Do you think that International Space Station will be abandoned?