Boeing and Russia to partner on building lunar space station?


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As part of a settlement with Boeing in the Sea Launch lawsuit, the Russians are proposing a partnership with the American company for building a lunar orbiting space station.

A preliminary dispute settlement deal was reached in August. “We are preparing a document which, apart from finalizing the court case, also creates a program for long-term cooperation on a wide range of issues. We are working on projects to cooperate in low earth orbit, create moon infrastructure and explore deep space,” Solntsev told the Russian Izvestia newspaper. The two companies now plan to create nodes and units capable of synchronizing space technologies, including a docking station for a proposed lunar orbiting station. Meanwhile, Sea Launch settlement documents are set to be signed before the end of November, according to Solntsev.

It will be very interesting to see the actual agreement. I also wonder how much Boeing can really do with Russia without U.S. government approval.

6 comments

  • LocalFluff

    Bah, nonsense. Won’t happen. Russia needs to encourage Iran to “do a Saddam Hussein” and occupy the oil fields of Saudi Arabia in order to finance any space program at all. They are running on the fumes now and are desperate. They don’t have enough cash flow to finance their corruption, which means that a coup or counter-coup will happen any day now.

    What would the point be with a crewed space station in Lunar orbit? It is much better to have it inside of Earth’s magnetic field and close to Earth for free radiation shielding. An orbiting Lunar space station is simply a stupid idea without a purpose. A perfect fit for this empty talk. Just some student “preparing a document”, getting some attention only because daddy is a politruk (in either Russia or in Boeing).

  • wodun

    What would the point be with a crewed space station in Lunar orbit?

    A gateway to lunar operations and missions to other planets in the solar system.

    There will be one eventually, makes sense for someone to take the initiative.

  • D. K. Williams

    Lunar or Looney?

  • Edward

    LocalFluff wrote: “It is much better to have it inside of Earth’s magnetic field and close to Earth for free radiation shielding.

    The shielding at Low Earth Orbit is not perfect. There is the South Atlantic Anomaly (SAA) to contend with. The ISS has extra radiation shielding in order to protect against the effects of the SAA.

    If we are ever going to expand into space, we are going to have to deal with the radiation. A crewed space station in lunar orbit would be an excellent proving ground for many of the radiation shielding or coping mechanism we come up with.

    Plenty of people and companies think that crewed stations outside of Low Earth Orbit makes sense. ULA is another company with ideas along these lines:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uxftPmpt7aA (7 minutes)

  • Insomnius

    Responding to LocalFluff, a Lunar fuel depot does not need to be manned. Besides, all the other nations of the earth have not been there yet and are likely to be going there first to establish their space programs. It could be ‘win win’ situation for everybody.

  • Edward

    Insomnius,
    Excellent article. I will have to read the rest of the series.

    Because Obama had such a dismissive attitude about the Moon, I believe that US companies are likely to lead the return to the Moon to do the lunar mining that NASA could have been the leader for. The Obama administration’s lack of imagination as to what can be done in space has served us poorly. This lack of imagination is rapidly making NASA obsolete, though through no fault of their own, as the article mentions that NASA has developed technologies that have been stifled for use. A government agency is still at the whim of the governmental leaders — and their lack of dedication to real progress.

    Although my generation of engineers dreamed of working for NASA or on NASA projects, the next generation is likely to dream of working for dedicated, imaginative space companies, such as Bigelow, Sierra Nevada, SpaceX, and cetera.

    As the article states, lunar resources are much less expensive to get into orbit than are Earthly resources. As we open up the rest of the solar system, probably starting with the Moon, the resources that we need will likely come from the Moon and eventually from asteroids.

    Thus, a lunar space station is a logical step for Boeing to take. If SpaceX is going to take a million people to Mars, then a lunar fueling depot will come in handy.

    That is the kind of imagination that will take us to the planets and to the stars.

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