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I am now in the third week of my annual February birthday fund-raising drive. The first two weeks were good, but not record-setting.

 

There are still two weeks left in this campaign however. If you have been a regular reader and a fan of my work and have not yet donated or subscribed, please consider doing so. I take no ads, I keep the website clean from pop-ups and annoying demands (most of the time). Thus, I depend entirely on my readers to support me. Though this means I am sacrificing some income, it also means that I remain entirely independent from outside pressure. By depending solely on donations and subscriptions from my readers, no one can threaten me with censorship. You don't like what I write, you can simply go elsewhere.

 

You can support me either by giving a one-time contribution or a regular subscription. There are five ways of doing so:

 

1. Zelle: This is the only internet method that charges no fees. All you have to do is use the Zelle link at your internet bank and give my name and email address (zimmerman at nasw dot org). What you donate is what I get.

 

2. Patreon: Go to my website there and pick one of five monthly subscription amounts, or by making a one-time donation.
 

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5. Donate by check, payable to Robert Zimmerman and mailed to
 
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A detailed look at Russia’s suffering and shrinking space program

Link here. The article starts off outlining Russia’s deepening inability to produce the computer chips it needs for its space effort, acerbated by sanctions imposed against that country because of its invasion of the Ukraine. It then goes on to describe the program’s overall financial problems, including its shrinking commercial market share resulting in a significant drop in income.

The article’s conclusion is stark:

If Moscow is unable to reach a new space deal with Washington, it will need to reconsider its space policy. But Russia has little wiggle room to increase federal spending on space activities to boost the industry. For instance, the government’s space program for 2016–2025 received $11.1 billion in 2016–2020 and will obtain another $10.2 billion in 2021–2025. The federal program for launch sites (2017–2025) secured $1.4 billion in 2017–2020 and will take in a further $2.83 billion in 2021–2025 (Economy.gov.ru, 2016–2021). The 2012–2020 GLONASS program received almost $5.1 billion, and $6.45 billion more is planned for the GLONASS program in 2021–2030 (RBC, December 21, 2020). Thus, without an international cooperation deal, and as long as Western sanctions are maintained, prospects for Russia’s space industry look bleak.

Russia has recently been working to establish a partnership with China and its effort to build a space station and a lunar base. That partnership however is not likely to provide Russia with any cash, which means the deal is an empty one. While China will continue to proceed to the Moon, I doubt Russia will follow with much.

It has also been trying to rework its American partnership, with Rogozin acting alternatively as a good guy/bad guy in public declarations. Since Russia opposes the Artemis Accords, and the Biden administration is continuing the Trump administration’s demand that all partners in the Artemis program agree to these accords, those negotiations are not likely to get Russia much. Moreover, NASA policy today is to feed money to American private companies so that they can grow, not feed money to Russia so that it can prosper.

Until Russia starts allowing free competition and private enterprise, outside the control of Roscosmos and the government, do not expect much of this Russian bad news to change. While China might strictly supervise the goals of its private space companies, it still encourages them to compete and innovate, and even fail. Russia not only strictly supervises, it also forbids any new startups from forming, as they might do harm to already established players. The result is no new innovation, and no new products of any real value.

Genesis cover

On Christmas Eve 1968 three Americans became the first humans to visit another world. What they did to celebrate was unexpected and profound, and will be remembered throughout all human history. Genesis: the Story of Apollo 8, Robert Zimmerman's classic history of humanity's first journey to another world, tells that story, and it is now available as both an ebook and an audiobook, both with a foreword by Valerie Anders and a new introduction by Robert Zimmerman.

 
The ebook is available everywhere for $5.99 (before discount) at amazon, or direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit. If you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and the author gets a bigger cut much sooner.


The audiobook is also available at all these vendors, and is also free with a 30-day trial membership to Audible.
 

"Not simply about one mission, [Genesis] is also the history of America's quest for the moon... Zimmerman has done a masterful job of tying disparate events together into a solid account of one of America's greatest human triumphs."--San Antonio Express-News

4 comments

  • Mark

    Last week Rogozin said that Roscosmos is planning to send their astronauts to the Chinese Space station. He said they hope to launch from the Vostochny Cosmodrome and/or the European launching site in French Guiana. Apparently this isn’t something the Russians can do now. It does look to me that would be an achievable goal for them. But a full fledged program to go to the moon and build a moon base looks way beyond their capabilities. They won’t be able to peddle the BS for long once Starship makes actual progress towards earth orbit, and then progress towards a moon landing.

  • Mark

    I just looked it up and the Russian Vostochny spaceport is still partly under construction. It is above the 51st parallel north in the Russian Far East, and is intended to reduce Russia’s dependency on the Baikonur spaceport in Kazakhstan.

  • Dick Eagleson

    Getting to the Chinese space station from Vostochny could be problematical. Soyuz craft launching from there would have to accomplish almost a 10-degree decrease in orbital inclination to rendezvous with Tiangong which orbits at 42 degrees inclination. That might be possible, but would likely limit Soyuz’s performance to less than is currently possible when going to ISS.

  • Jeff Wright

    R-7 flew long before microchips were invented. Same with cars. So help me, but libraries and NASA and the military should have chips-but I want most everything else de-computerized.

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