June 30, 2013

42 Years Ago Today


The crew of Soyuz 11 docked with the very first space station (Salyut 1) and stayed in orbit for 23 days, setting a space endurance record before they were forced to cut short their mission due to an electrical fire on the station.



During the re-entry of the Soyuz 11 capsule , there was a loss of radio contact, but the spacecraft landed quite normally in Kazakhstan.

Tragically, when the recovery team arrived however, they found that a pressure release valve had opened during reentry and exposed the crew to the vacuum of space. They were not wearing pressure suits. Despite the best efforts of the recovery team to revive them, Georgiy Timofeyevich Dobrovolsky, Viktor Ivanovich Patsayev and Vladislav Nikolayevich Volkov had died on re-entry.

As terrible as this was, it bears remembering that if the boundaries of the future are allowed to be set by the, the timid, or far worse, those who would presume to forbid others from striving for great things...then our future will be a dark age. The human race is fortunate to have people such as these who will step into the breach and attempt great deeds.

They deserve to be remembered.

Posted by: The Brickmuppet at 01:17 AM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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June 02, 2013

The Other Commercial Space Capsule

Boeing's CST has completed wind tunnel testing. It's expected to launch it's first manned flight in 2016.



Interestingly, although big, it's light enough to be launched on an off the shelf Atlas 5

Now there are those who are getting their backs all bowed up and asking questions like "Why do we need ANOTHER one of these?" "Isn't this just a colossal waste that duplicates effort?"

We'll let one of our crack team of science babes politely respond to that.



...
...

'Kaay...

Well, lets try that again with added civility.

With the Dragon (which has successfully flown unmanned), The Dreamchaser and NASA's own CEV, this gives 4 competing manned space systems...which greatly increses the chances that at least one will work, and if multiple versions are successful it provides a good deal of redundancy in the event there is a problem with one system. Given that three of the projects are private enterprises, it means that there is potential for considerable downward pressure on prices via competition.

Additionally, both the CEV and the Boeing design are designed for use as afar afield as Earths moons and slightly beyond (Luna, Cruithne and some Near Earth Objects). The DreamChaser and Dragon designs are strictly near earth orbit taxis though they have the potential to be exceedingly economical to operate.  So we're on the cusp of complementary and redundant capabilities in manned spaceflight.

So...Wo0t! Go for it Boeing!

Posted by: The Brickmuppet at 04:05 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
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