Roscosmos approves space tourism project

Please consider donating to Behind the Black, by giving either a one-time contribution or a regular subscription, as outlined in the tip jar to the right. Your support will allow me to continue covering science and culture as I have for the past twenty years, independent and free from any outside influence.

The competition heats up? Russia’s giant aerospace monopoly Roscosmos has given formal permission for the development of a suborbital space tourism project, proposed by the formally independent company, KosmoKurs.

Russia’s State Space Corporation Roscosmos has admitted the private space company KosmoKurs to working out a project for the development of a reusable system for space tourism flights, KosmoKurs Director General Pavel Pushkin said on Friday. “Our technical design specification was approved by Roscosmos two days ago. The system’s preliminary design will be created with this document,” Pushkin said at the InSpace forum.

According to him, the technical design specification has also been approved by the Central Research Institute of Machine Building (TsNIIMash) and the Keldysh Research Center. In addition, Pushkin said, Roscosmos chief Igor Komarov has already approved the project. “Igor Anatolyevich has taken the project with enthusiasm and gave orders to promote this project”, Pushkin said.

So, if I understand this right, this private company had to get approvals from Roscosmos’s bureaucracy, two other competitive groups within Roscosmos, plus the head of Roscosmos itself, before it would be allowed to proceed with building its independent suborbital operation. I wonder how many bribes KosmosKurs had to pay along the way. I also wonder what kind of quid pro quo deals that had to make in order get those other institutes to give their okay.

With Russia’s aerospace industry function under this kind of set-up, I doubt they are going to get much done in the coming decades.


  • wodun

    Under our system, how many agencies would a company need to go through? How much lobbying would need to be done at various levels of government? We may be better than the Russians in this regard but we are not without our own corruption and bureaucratic roadblocks.

  • wayne

    Oh yeah! Fully agree. We are perhaps not as overtly “bad” in that respect but definitely on that path. Russia however, had 70 years to develop their gangster-like corruption under communism. Nothing gets done without stealing in the Soviet Union.
    Al Capone, and perhaps Trump, would be right at home in Russia, —endless “deals” and pay-offs.
    –Heard Mr. Z describing his thoughts on all this– very enlightening!
    –I was shocked to hear the SpaceX babe yesterday, thank the FAA for their “launch-license.” WHY should they have to get a “license” to launch a rocket? Don’t they already pay NASA for using the infrastructure?

  • Dick Eagleson


    The FAA has control of airspace in the U.S. and its territories. Rockets transit that airspace on their way up and, recently, also on their way down. The FAA, at a minimum, needs to know when rockets are launching/returning so it can ensure the affected airspace is cleared.

  • wayne

    Thanks. I can appreciate that fully. (assume the Military needs to know as well.)
    My little rant was more toward the “control” & cost aspect of it.

    Would have zero-problem with a nominal fee (like $20) for “processing,” but somehow I doubt it’s “just being practical,” or am I being a wise-a@# & totally cynical? (It always starts with some perfectly rational purpose and then often degrades into straight-up tyranny.)
    (–I’m smiling!–)
    Appreciate your input!

  • Edward

    There are other reasons for licensing. I think that it was Orbital Sciences, many years ago, had a license delayed because they failed to correct a procedure to vent the ulage (left over fuel and oxidizer) in the Pegasus tanks so that the tanks did not rupture (explode) and leave a lot of debris in low Earth orbit, which is what happened on their previous launch. Once the procedure was corrected (as it should have been long before), they were given the license to launch.

    Wayne wrote: “It always starts with some perfectly rational purpose and then often degrades into straight-up tyranny.”

    Some regulation is good, as it keeps the “commons” available for everyone else, but the tyranny starts when over-regulation happens. Sometimes regulations are created to make it harder for newcomers to operate, making the regulators crony capitalists. This happens in a lot of industries, such as nail salons. It also happens when the government declares that large banks are too big to fail, pass regulations intended to limit the size of companies (another form of tyranny) but instead harm the smaller banks while the large banks continue to grow.

    The trick is to know where the line is between the right amount of regulation and over-regulation.

    It looks to me that Robert is concerned that over-regulation, cronyism, and corruption are about to run rampant in the Russian space industry, and this is going to ruin their space industry.

  • wayne

    Edward wrote (in part):
    “The trick is to know where the line is between the right amount of regulation and over-regulation.”

    Absolutely agree. (You’re My Man, once again!)

    I can absolutely understand “common-sense” stuff, especially for Space, but how the Feds acquired the ability to impose stuff is a fascinating thing. One man’s common-sense, is another mans “34 page dictate” on how you can use your own land.

    The “Commons” problem is very real, totally agree.

    – Think you would absolutely enjoy Richard Epstein’s work on “regulation.”
    (He’s a lawyer, Classical Liberal, & expert on exactly these type of problems.) He’s with the Hoover Institution, University of Chicago, and others, and often appears on the John Batchelor Show– sometimes same night’s as Mr. Z… a two-fer!)

    SCOTUS heard a number of pivotal cases, starting around 1890-ish up to the 1940’s, that basically, “fundamentally,” changed how we dealt with regulation.
    Their Commerce-Clause interpretation’s allowed the Feds to insert themselves into all sorts of area’s where they historically were never allowed to regulate. (That’s where SCOTUS got the justification for forcing us to buy health-insurance. Robert’s rewrote and reinterpreted stuff, to magically make it legal.)
    Rate regulation for “network-type” industries was a biggie, such as railroads, the phone-system, airlines, trucking, etc., as well as the pivotal Anti-Trust Acts.
    –Reagan undid some of that & even Jimmy Carter decontrolled airlines (I believe it was.) But the power still remains largely in-tact and is used all the time. (We used to control the price of natural-gas, and there was a rate-difference between “new oil” and “old-oil” for a long time.)
    –Nixon if you recall imposed Price-Controls, remember that?. (How Progressive of him!)
    –The Feds also use an expanded derivation of the “health & safety powers” to insert themselves into what would normally have been purely Local & State matters for 125 years prior.
    –The left has taken all those (wrongly decided IMO) Cases and built a massive “administrative State” to enforce regulations. The Obama administration has caused something like 20K new regulations to be issued in just 7 years, on practically everything. EPA is a biggie, but every single Agency has literally run amok on regulation. (The insidious thing is; unelected bureaucrat’s issue & interpret a vast majority of these, and they are largely not able to be challenged in a Court.)
    –It took an Amendment to outlaw Alcohol (and another to repeal it) but now the Executive Branch can largely “schedule” ( control,) all manner of substances, without having the consent of the people through the Amendment Process. They could actually outlaw alcohol again, without needing an Amendment– just by issuing Regulations, publishing them in the Fed Register, & waiting for the comment-period to end.
    “He who regulates, holds Power.”

    Crazy thing— radio hosts who have financial help shows, such as a Dave Ramsey, are in danger of coming under the control of a variety of financial-regulation Acts, directly as a fallout of the last financial crisis. Thanks to Chuck Schumer & our boy Mitch. (hand in glove)

    Thanks again!

  • Garry

    The most effective way to establish a police state is to make it so that anybody can be arrested at any time, for almost anything, then enforce the laws / regulations selectively, in exchange for favors / kickbacks / desired behaviors. Technology is making this more and more possible, as is the great acceleration of regulations.

  • wayne

    Amen brother!

  • Steve Earle

    March 5, 2016 at 10:07 pm
    “…The most effective way to establish a police state is to make it so that anybody can be arrested at any time, for almost anything, then enforce the laws / regulations selectively, in exchange for favors / kickbacks / desired behaviors. Technology is making this more and more possible, as is the great acceleration of regulations….”


    There are some that would say we are already there. Exhibit A would be the guy who made that video that Hillary (and Obama) keep blaming for Benghazi, even though we all know now that it had nothing to do with it.

    In my opinion, he is (was?) a political prisoner. He was in jail simply to protect a lie. :-(

  • wayne

    Garry wrote:
    “There are some that would say we are already there.”

    –That’s me! We are! (IMO)
    It’s a “soft-tyranny,” they allow us to use IPhone’s, watch TV, go out to eat, choose our own clothes, etc., & we don’t have jack-booted roving security-services “rounding us up.” (for now)
    We are one major crisis or natural-disaster (or an Election) away from a hard-tyranny.
    –Some “strong-man” will offer us a “way out,” & then we’re cooked. It might even appear “reasonable,” “necessary,” whatever,” but almost none of these clowns have our best interests at heart.
    The economy is artificially propped-up, just wait until it crashes again. 93 million out of the labor-force & 50 million on food-stamps. It will get ugly & weird.

    Always & forever, all this Statism inevitable ends with barb-wire, death camps, and misery. (I don’t want to take the chance to find out if “this time will be different.”)

    The video guy— look him up. He was on probation for an unrelated thing, knows nothing about Hillary, & they yanked him on a probation-violation after the video.
    He’s “guilty” of something (originally) but not from making videos– when did that become a crime?
    Mrs. “social-justice” is such an (alleged) liar it’s remarkable, it’s “Orwellian.”

    “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to heaven, we were all going direct the other way – in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.”
    –A Tale of Two Cities

  • Edward

    Wayne wrote: “but how the Feds acquired the ability to impose stuff is a fascinating thing.”

    There are some smart people (who are not as smart as they think they are) who believe that the rest of us are not smart enough to know what is best for us. They honestly believe that their brainpower not just entitles them but makes it their duty to tell the rest of us how to live our lives, run our businesses, and how to apply governance. One size fits all, just like Obamacare, Social (In)Security, Medicare, Section 8, EBT cards, etc (notice that all these programs are intended and designed for people who are not smart enough to care for themselves).

    Some of these smart people think that they are so smart that if they think of it, it must be true, but usually they are wrong, because it turns out that they are not as smart as they think they are.

    I know this to be true, because I thought of it, and I am very smart.

  • wayne

    Edward wrote: (in part)
    “I know this to be true, because I thought of it, and I am very smart.”

    Edward my man, once again! Love it! (and you are, very smart!)

    –It’s the Pretense of Knowledge— super educated people who couldn’t start a fire without matches, love to think they have the ability to tell 300 million regular citizens, how to live.
    –It’s always “for our own good,” of course!

    Remember that Star Trek (TOS) episode, with the Space-Hippies? The Leader, was a “brilliant scientist,” but Spock quickly came to the conclusion, “..he is Insane…”
    (with apologies to the real Scientists!)

  • Steve Earle

    That is the essence of the well-meaning leftists, the “True Believers”. They believe that humans are perfectable if only given the right training or education. Failing that they will settle for control and try again to “educate” the next generation.

    Of course, the non-well-meaning Leftists have another name for the True Believers, they call them “Useful Idiots” to be used as a means to their end, which is always power and control.

    Conservatives understand that humans are inherently flawed and unperfectable, thus we believe in a more pragmatic “Enlightened Self-Interest” to achieve a stable society. (or as I like to say: Carrots and Sticks… LOL)

    And yes, I Grok Spock :-)

  • wayne

    Good points by all!

    Love my Star Trek! Dislike the overt lefty-morality play story-lines (at times) Next Gen went totally off the rails for a season or three & it hurt their ratings.
    I always cut Roddenberry slack ‘cuz he was a WW2 veteran. He “earned the right” (so to speak) to say whatever he wanted.
    Same for Kurt Vonnegut, enjoy his work, but dislike his politics.

    pivot tangent– Vonnegut’s Son wrote a remarkable book chronicling his descent into & return from, Schizophrenia. pause… “Eden Express” 1975. Highly recommend. (Mark Vonnegut.)

  • Edward

    Wayne wrote: “Love it! (and you are, very smart!)”

    Glad you got the joke, it’s one of my favorites (thought it up all by myself, so it must be good), but you are supposed to realize that I am not nearly as smart as I think I am (although that still leaves plenty of room for me to be the smartest person in the world).

  • Steve Earle

    As my favorite bumper sticker says:

    “Those of You Who Think They Know Everything are Annoying Those of Us That Do…”

    or maybe this one is my favorite:

    “I Live With Fear and Danger Every Day, but Sometimes I Leave Her and Go Fishing..” ;-)

  • Edward


    I don’t think that I know everything, just everything that can be known. I have a friend who knows the rest. (I think I need to apologize to Hal Holbrook for mangling this joke, which he told while playing Mark Twain.)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *