December 1, 2016 Zimmerman/Batchelor podcast

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Embedded below the fold. The first half was devoted almost entirely in a discussion of the sad state of the Russian space program.



  • LocalFluff

    Hope ULA extends their “Sim Rocket” to include Rideshare for secondary payloads. Tt opens up the low end spaceflight market. They seem to have become the world leader in the 2nd PL market and prices come down to six or five figures. It’s not just for cubesats, they have options for any size up to primary payload size and including chemical propulsion to get to an independent orbit. I think that this could make life very hard for dedicated small launchers. Here’s a FISO telecon where ULA presents Rideshare, soundfile and slides:

  • LocalFluff

    Concerning Russian economy, it depends on raw materials and weapons systems. I can’t find anything to buy in shops which is manufactured in Russia, although it’s a big neighboring country (but I won a Soviet made chess clock from a local chess club).

    So Putin needs oil prices to go up to $100 again. Hard to accomplish with “New Oil” coming so strongly. Saudi tried to take out US shale oil by dumping prices, but has failed. Only way for Russia to get oil prices high again is to take out Saudi oil with a war. (And war is good for Russian arms exports too). Repeating Saddam Hussein’s Gulf War, but instead of Kuwait, taking Saudi’s oil, which happens to be concentrated at the shia dominated Gulf coast. Russia is closely allied with Iran which has very successfully conqured Iraq thanks to their shia arab majority. A 100,000 strong Iran led shia militia with US tanks and arms is now being officially recognized as a second Iraqi army. Russian air force and elite airborne troops is perfectly complementary to Iran’s huge ground forces.

    Russia is also building an alliance with Egypt, drilling its airborne troops there and is rumoured to get a naval base there too as they already have in Syria. Egypt has imported all its oil from Saudi, but Saudi recently broke that stopped all deliveries. Turkey is suddenly also very friendly with Putin. Saudi is at war with Iranian controlled Yemen. Now that Clinton isn’t there to protect Saudi with US blood and bombs, and the low oil price is hurting Saudi economy very badly, with welfare cuts threatening the “Arabic spring” rebellions to get hold there too, timing is good for a war against Saudi with fronts in the east, in the northeast, in the west and in the south. Saudi spends more on the military than Russia does, but their war in Yemen has been a pathetic failure and look like an easy target.

    Putin has very efficiently taken advantage of the US failure in the Middle East, and has obviously done so in order to control oil prices. It would take some time for shale oil to fill in for Saudi’s 10 million barrels per day. I don’t think that Putin sent his Atlantic carrier fleet group to the Eastern Mediterranean recently just in order to bomb some irrelevant rebel group in Syria. I think he aims higher than that. He looks very well prepared to save the Russian economy.

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