Author Topic: Russia Change is space policy?  (Read 16250 times)

Offline Prober

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Russia Change is space policy?
« on: 08/11/2011 06:49 pm »
Russia space chief regrets focus on manned missions

"In Roskosmos, unfortunately, at a certain time there was a very big shift to manned spaceflight. The budget for manned flight programmes takes up almost half of the budget of the entire agency," he told the Kommersant daily.

Popovkin did not comment on the lifespan of the ISS but indicated he believed scientists had fully explored the influence of orbital flight on humans.



http://news.yahoo.com/russia-space-chief-regrets-focus-manned-missions-092157911.html
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Offline Proponent

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Re: Russia Change is space policy?
« Reply #1 on: 08/12/2011 03:25 am »
Notice how this Yahoo article propagates the entirely incorrect (and I do mean "incorrect," i-n-c-o-r-r-e-c-t; that's not the language police in action) statement made a few weeks ago by Fox News and others that "Roskosmos deputy chief Vitaly Davydov caused confusion in some quarters last month when he said the ISS should be brought down and sunk in 2020."  He made no such statement.
« Last Edit: 08/12/2011 03:27 am by Proponent »

Offline major_tom

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Re: Russia Change is space policy?
« Reply #2 on: 08/12/2011 05:39 pm »
Well, russians have focused on manned missions because it is what they do best.
Since their robotics have been somewhat unreliable, it is not surprising that unmanned missions have taken a backseat until now.
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Offline Nomadd

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Re: Russia Change is space policy?
« Reply #3 on: 08/12/2011 06:03 pm »
 I'm not sure how much of a drag manned flight is on their budget. Didn't they brag they were building and launching Soyuz for $25 million each. And, what are they charging Westerners for rides over the next four years?
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Offline major_tom

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Re: Russia Change is space policy?
« Reply #4 on: 08/12/2011 06:18 pm »
IIRC, Popovkin's job before heading the space agency was the head of the joint chiefs of staff.
Maybe the military decided that funding will be provided exclusively for the projects that the military are interested in.
I'm afraid that if the military don't give a damn about manned spaceflight, its funding will dry up...

Edited to add:
This could mean that RUS-M (medium/heavy booster) and PTK-NP (soyuz replacement) are out
and MRKS-1 (reusable flyback booster) and some sort of X-37 clone are in, which IMHO would be unfortunate...
« Last Edit: 08/12/2011 06:31 pm by major_tom »
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Online notsorandom

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Re: Russia Change is space policy?
« Reply #5 on: 08/12/2011 07:15 pm »
He makes some pretty good points. After Salyut, Mir, and ISS with several cosmonauts having spent over a year in space its pretty safe to say that the Russians are experts on orbital flight. And I have to agree that pretty much all the problems of flight in LEO have been dealt with. I have to disagree with his logic on one point though. Russia's strength is in long duration human spaceflight. Putting people in LEO in absence of any other HSF program keeps that from atrophying.

Offline Space Pete

Re: Russia Change is space policy?
« Reply #6 on: 08/12/2011 09:32 pm »
So, Roscosmos' new head basically thinks that the next 10 years that Russia will spend on the ISS are a waste of time, despite the fact that they are going to add another three research laboratory modules to the facility?

There's still lots more to research in LEO, but it's not the "traditional" things that have been done in the past. For example, bio-regenerative life support systems and artificial gravity exercise systems are two big things that Russia could research on the ISS. Both will be very applicable to BEO exploration.

But, according to Mr, Popovkin, it's all been done. ::)
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Offline Prober

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Re: Russia Change is space policy?
« Reply #7 on: 08/12/2011 10:37 pm »
So, Roscosmos' new head basically thinks that the next 10 years that Russia will spend on the ISS are a waste of time, despite the fact that they are going to add another three research laboratory modules to the facility?

There's still lots more to research in LEO, but it's not the "traditional" things that have been done in the past. For example, bio-regenerative life support systems and artificial gravity exercise systems are two big things that Russia could research on the ISS. Both will be very applicable to BEO exploration.

But, according to Mr, Popovkin, it's all been done. ::)

Some ? if Russia is going to install all the modules on the ISS.

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Offline Rocket Science

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Re: Russia Change is space policy?
« Reply #8 on: 08/12/2011 10:59 pm »
So, Roscosmos' new head basically thinks that the next 10 years that Russia will spend on the ISS are a waste of time, despite the fact that they are going to add another three research laboratory modules to the facility?

There's still lots more to research in LEO, but it's not the "traditional" things that have been done in the past. For example, bio-regenerative life support systems and artificial gravity exercise systems are two big things that Russia could research on the ISS. Both will be very applicable to BEO exploration.

But, according to Mr, Popovkin, it's all been done. ::)
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Like I said before… Just the Big Russian Bear flexing its muscles, makes some noises and enjoying the limelight. Payback for “Who is the leader in space?” comment a couple of month back… remember? ::)
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Offline hop

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Re: Russia Change is space policy?
« Reply #9 on: 08/13/2011 03:48 am »
Here's the original interview in kommersant http://www.kommersant.ru/doc/1694123

It covers a lot more ground than than yahoo bit. I don't really see a change of policy, practically speaking Russia has funded their HSF program at a subsistence level since the fall of the USSR. Popovkin is lamenting the fact that takes up half the budget, and saying the focus should be on things with real returns.

As the former head of the space forces, he must be acutely aware that HSF "space leadership" is mostly propaganda, while Russia is a distant second or worse in almost all the areas that have real practical impact (reconnaissance, weather, navigation,...)
IIRC, Popovkin's job before heading the space agency was the head of the joint chiefs of staff.
Interestingly, his career started at the Soyuz launch complex at Baikonur.
Quote
I'm afraid that if the military don't give a damn about manned spaceflight, its funding will dry up...
No military has have given a damn about HSF for decades (for military applications anyway)

Offline Proponent

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Re: Russia Change is space policy?
« Reply #10 on: 08/14/2011 06:06 am »
Well, russians have focused on manned missions because it is what they do best.
Since their robotics have been somewhat unreliable, it is not surprising that unmanned missions have taken a backseat until now.

i'd agree that the Russian's have never had a lot of luck with Mars, but I'd say their robotic accomplishments at Venus were pretty impressive and it's a real, real shame that they terminated their robotic lunar program in the 1970s.  Think of where it might be now if it had continued.
« Last Edit: 08/14/2011 06:06 am by Proponent »

Offline aquanaut99

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Re: Russia Change is space policy?
« Reply #11 on: 08/14/2011 06:51 am »
But, according to Mr, Popovkin, it's all been done. ::)

Well, he's not wrong.

We know enough about humans in LEO long-term and the associated problems. We also know that it is a dead-end (even though nobody wants to admit that the 100+ billion spent on ISS were mostly a waste).

The question is, where do we go from here? There are only 2 possibilities.

Either we continue with human spaceflight. But in that case, we would have to leave LEO to learn something new. There is still plenty left to research, after all. We know next-to-nothing about the effects of long-term exposure to hard cosmic radiation, for example.

For this, we would need some kind of space lab / space station in HEO or lunar orbit or at L1/L2 and keep that staffed for longer periods of time (To all the moon-lovers: yes, a lunar base would also do. It would just cost even more)

The question remains whether this kind of research (using what essentially amounts to human guinea pigs in a high-radiation environment) is acceptable from an ethical standpoint and whether it should receive government funding. Especially since there are no clear benefits or applications to be expected. Also, keeping such a station staffed and functioning over a long period of time will be hugely expensive, much more so than ISS.

The other alternative would be admitting that Human Spaceflight serves no tangible purpose (other than national prestige and keeping some vague 1950s dream about "colonization of space" on life-support), cancel it, and focus all efforts on robotic exploration of the solar system. This is what ESA is doing (mostly), and it may well be what the USA ends up doing, once fiscal realities and rigorous cost-benefit analysis kick in. If this happens, I predict Russia will eventually follow suit, as will China.
« Last Edit: 08/14/2011 07:03 am by aquanaut99 »

Offline Olaf

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Re: Russia Change is space policy?
« Reply #12 on: 08/14/2011 07:33 am »
i'd agree that the Russian's have never had a lot of luck with Mars, but I'd say their robotic accomplishments at Venus were pretty impressive and it's a real, real shame that they terminated their robotic lunar program in the 1970s.  Think of where it might be now if it had continued.
In the NK news was an excerpt of an article by the chief of the Lavoshkin design bureau Viktor Chartov, where he wrote, that they plan to launch eight interplanetary sonds untill 2020.
In detail he mentioned Lunar-Resurs for 2013, Lunar-Glob for 2014 and Venera-D and Mars-NET for 2016.
« Last Edit: 08/14/2011 07:34 am by Olaf »

Offline Space Pete

Re: Russia Change is space policy?
« Reply #13 on: 08/14/2011 12:04 pm »
But, according to Mr, Popovkin, it's all been done. ::)

Well, he's not wrong.

We know enough about humans in LEO long-term and the associated problems. We also know that it is a dead-end (even though nobody wants to admit that the 100+ billion spent on ISS were mostly a waste).

I would argue that he is wrong.

Are you saying that we know all about closed-loop bioregenerative life support in space, that we know all about countermeasures to the effects of microgravity on the human body, that we know all about radiation shielding, that we know all about how to deal with communication lags, that we know all about how to work alongside robots with fine dexterous capability, that we know all about how large inflatable structures work in space, that we know all about new propulsion systems?

No, we don't know enough about all of these things to fill a ship with them and shoot it off to Mars for three years. The failure rate of life support systems on the ISS tells us that we need much better technology before we leave behind the capability to launch replacement parts from Earth.

That's why the ISS isn't a waste - because we can use it to acquire these much needed capabilities (and not to mention the benefits it has to Earth, too). Nobody wants to admit that the ISS was a waste because everybody who understands its capabilities knows that it wasn't a waste.

We all know you are anti-HSF, but you can't argue that it's dying out when there are more human space vehicles in production now than there ever have been at any other period in history.
« Last Edit: 08/14/2011 12:06 pm by Space Pete »
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Offline aquanaut99

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Re: Russia Change is space policy?
« Reply #14 on: 08/14/2011 05:01 pm »
We all know you are anti-HSF,

I'm not anti-HSF. If I were, I wouldn't be here on this forum. But I think it is necessary that we realize that HSF doesn't bring much return on investment for the nation, now or in the forseeable future. That's a fact. Personally, I don't have a problem with that, because I believe that money isn't everything. But it is a fact and needs to be recognized as such, especially in a time when discretionary spending needs cutting. HSF is very discretionary.

I support HSF because of the "uber awesome coolness factor" and I believe we waste a lot more money on other discretionary stuff. But what I find cool may not be what others find cool. And that is HSFs problem.

Quote
but you can't argue that it's dying out when there are more human space vehicles in production now than there ever have been at any other period in history.

Well, there are maybe more human space vehicles being produced on paper than there have ever been in history. We have yet to see any of them actually fly, whether it be in the USA, Russia or India. The only new manned space vehicle produced during the past 30 years was Shenzhou, and that is just an enlarged Soyuz rip-off.
« Last Edit: 08/14/2011 05:03 pm by aquanaut99 »

Offline Space Pete

Re: Russia Change is space policy?
« Reply #15 on: 08/14/2011 08:20 pm »
I'm not anti-HSF. If I were, I wouldn't be here on this forum. But I think it is necessary that we realize that HSF doesn't bring much return on investment for the nation, now or in the forseeable future. That's a fact. Personally, I don't have a problem with that, because I believe that money isn't everything. But it is a fact and needs to be recognized as such, especially in a time when discretionary spending needs cutting. HSF is very discretionary.

I support HSF because of the "uber awesome coolness factor" and I believe we waste a lot more money on other discretionary stuff. But what I find cool may not be what others find cool. And that is HSFs problem.

Well, it all depends on what you class "return on investment" as. Speaking in financial turns, HSF doesn't give much of a return (yet - it remains to be seen what commercial can achieve). But in terms of knowledge, technologies, capabilities, and inspiration, HSF does give a sizeable return.

As you say, we spend far more money on things that give far less benefits than HSF. And I also agree that there are more important things than money (like the future of our species, for one). And that is why I support HSF - because it is an international, peaceful pursuit, that gives only benefits, for comparatively little money.
« Last Edit: 08/14/2011 08:21 pm by Space Pete »
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Offline baldusi

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Re: Russia Change is space policy?
« Reply #16 on: 08/15/2011 06:34 pm »
Please read the article, even if Google translated. Some highlights:
1) 20% less civil servants by 2013. More privatization.
2) Trying to get a series of conglomerates to reduce redundancy and underused (33% utilization), but not too much. He sees Khrunichev, Energia and Progress like a nice balance. They are concentrating on making conglomerates on other areas.
3) HSF is a lot of the budget, but is not going away. It's just that it will have to keep at current budget, all new budget should go to science.
4) The new missile is the "Angara" and will fly from the East, and from Baikonur. If Russia had not seen the sense in the "running" the launch site of the world, it would not be there to create complex "Baiterek", which will fly with the same "Angara".
5) Angara-A5 might start replacing Proton not before 2017/18.
6) Expects to double the amount of running satellites by 2015 (mainly GLONASS, comm, and probes).
7) DM-03 proved that they need to have two systems so as not to get a complete blackout.
8) Insurance makes sense for serialized thins (Glonass, comms, etc.), not so much for probes. They are developing a policy about this.
9) Russia has (upto now) had 100% of space tourism. But if there is any project it should be founded by other means.
10) He still states that the PTK and Rus-M is being developed, with a NET first flight of 2018. But he also stressed that he should keep Soyuz running.

Offline aquanaut99

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Re: Russia Change is space policy?
« Reply #17 on: 08/15/2011 06:46 pm »

10) He still states that the PTK and Rus-M is being developed, with a NET first flight of 2018. But he also stressed that he should keep Soyuz running.


Nice to see they are not prone to the same idiocy as the USA...

Offline Nicolas PILLET

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Re: Russia Change is space policy?
« Reply #18 on: 08/16/2011 08:57 pm »
Popovkin's job before heading the space agency was the head of the joint chiefs of staff.

It was also the former job of Anatoli Perminov, and this guy was a great HSF supporter.
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Offline Prober

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Re: Russia Change is space policy?
« Reply #19 on: 08/31/2011 06:01 pm »
I was shocked to read a story today.  We seem to have a sad trend of the partners in the ISS.

Russia considering unmanned space station

"Russia's space agency Roskosmos is considering ending a permanent human presence in space, an agency official said Wednesday following last week's crash of a supply ship delivering precious cargo to the ISS."

from AFP
http://news.yahoo.com/russia-considering-unmanned-space-station-134512900.html



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