Russia today successfully launched a military payload on a Soyuz rocket, ending a year long gap in such launches due to the discovery of faulty and corrupt practices at rocket engine manufacturing facilities.
The lull in activity has in part been down to manufacturing defects and quality control issues affecting Russia’s production of rocket engines. A contractor was found to have been using cheaper materials in place of precious metals in alloys used to make parts of the engines. Seventy-one Proton engines and a number of Soyuz engines were recalled for inspection and repair.
Reliability concerns have lingered around Russia’s launch fleet in recent years, with Proton failing ten times since 2007 and Soyuz experiencing seven failures in the last eight years. Two Rokots and a Zenit have also failed in the last decade, while Russia’s flagship Fobos-Grunt mission to Mars never left low Earth orbit after the spacecraft itself malfunctioned.
In 2016, Russia experienced just one launch failure – with a Soyuz-U rocket suffering a third stage failure during December’s attempted launch of the Progress MS-04 vehicle to resupply the International Space Station. Despite this, there were two near-misses: a Soyuz-2-1b underperformed during the launch of a GLONASS navigation satellite last May, and the Proton launch in June suffered a second stage engine failure. In both cases the rockets’ upper stages – Fregat-M and Briz-M respectively – were able to alter their flight plans and inject the satellites into their planned orbits despite the anomalies.
They hope to resume Proton flights next month. Either way, it looks likely that in 2017 Russia will launch the fewest rockets in decades.
Now available in hardback and paperback as well as ebook!
From the press release: In this ground-breaking new history of early America, historian Robert Zimmerman not only exposes the lie behind The New York Times 1619 Project that falsely claims slavery is central to the history of the United States, he also provides profound lessons about the nature of human societies, lessons important for Americans today as well as for all future settlers on Mars and elsewhere in space.
Conscious Choice: The origins of slavery in America and why it matters today and for our future in outer space
, is a riveting page-turning story that documents how slavery slowly became pervasive in the southern British colonies of North America, colonies founded by a people and culture that not only did not allow slavery but in every way were hostile to the practice.
does more however. In telling the tragic history of the Virginia colony and the rise of slavery there, Zimmerman lays out the proper path for creating healthy societies in places like the Moon and Mars.
“Zimmerman’s ground-breaking history provides every future generation the basic framework for establishing new societies on other worlds. We would be wise to heed what he says.” —Robert Zubrin, founder of founder of the Mars Society.
All editions are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all book vendors, with the ebook priced at $5.99 before discount. The ebook can also be purchased direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit, in which case you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.
Autographed printed copies are also available at discount directly from me (hardback $24.95; paperback $14.95; Shipping cost for either: $5.00). Just email me at zimmerman @ nasw dot org.