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Manned flights from Vostochny delayed

In order to save construction costs at its new spaceport at Vostochny, Russia has decided to delay its first manned flight there until 2023.

They originally were going prepare a launchpad for Soyuz rockets so that they could do a manned launch at Vostochny as early as 2019, but had already admitted this was inefficient and had abandoned the plan. Now they have admitted that it will take until 2023 for them to get Vostochny and Angara ready for manned flights.

That it will still take almost 8 years to prepare a launchpad and get Angara ready to launch manned capsules, however, seems an ungodly long period of time. It should not take that long.

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.

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  • David M. Cook

    Sadly, 8 years seems quite normal when discussing future launches.

  • Falcon 9 was developed from scratch in considerably less time than 8 years. So was Dragon. So will their spaceport in Brownsville, for a lot less than the $3 billion the Russians are spending for Vostochny.

    This might not be easy and it might require a lot of legwork, but 8 years is too long. We were flying astronauts by 1961, only four years after Sputnik. It can be done fast.

  • Don

    I’m sure NASA is jealous, and will try somehow to up the ante.

  • pzatchok

    But getting to space is hard. As some say.

    This must be the first time the Russian government has had to work with unions and their organized crime handlers.

    There is so much cash being thrown at this project that its a sure bet someone. if not several someones, are getting a little ‘incentive’ under the table.

    Pretty soon we are going to hear about a ‘house cleaning’ in the space industry that will reach from top to bottom. A lot of people are going to get implicated in this and a lot are going to go away permanently.
    You don’t keep embarrassing the head crime boss Vladimir Putin on the world stage without some kind of real hard fall out happening.

    The few arrests we have heard about are just the start. Those people will implicate a lot more. And unless Vlad gets enough cash out of this heads will roll.

  • Edward

    > But getting to space is hard. As some say.

    The Japanese and the Brazilians might say so, too. They have had quite a difficult time of it, in the past couple of decades.

    However, this seems to be less of a problem of the construction being difficult to accomplish and more of a problem with project management. Building a launch pad and support hardware is not so difficult and what is needed and how to build them are reasonably well understood. At a launch pad, there are no high power, high temperature, high vibration engines attached, scant feet away, from the lightweight, fragile fuel tanks, so they don’t have to worry so much about the pad exploding, just the rocket exploding on or just above the pad.

    It could also be a problem of Russia wanting a full-up site at first operation — taking on too much all at once. SpaceX is likely taking the typical capitalist industrial strategy of starting inexpensively, with the basics, then adding more over time, as need arises and funding allows. This strategy is how we got Mercury running so quickly, and it does not expend resources, now, on items that can be delayed until later, or will ultimately never be necessary.

    As for Don, below, thinking that NASA might get jealous: about the same time as Mir, NASA *did* propose an even larger space station, as though they were thinking “me too!” But NASA still has the more impressive Kennedy Space Center, so I suspect that the Russians are the jealous ones, this time.

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