Russia: Next Soyuz manned flight likely not delayed


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According to Roscosmos officials, they will likely not have to delay the next manned Soyuz launch, as they have three unmanned Soyuz launches on their schedule beforehand.

“The Soyuz rocket will be launched only after the inquiry has identified the causes of the emergency and measures have been taken to prevent such situations in the future. Under the existing rules there must be at least one unmanned launch before the flight of a manned spacecraft. We have plans for at least three launches (before the next manned mission due in early December) from the Kourou space site, the launch of an unmanned spacecraft and of an unmanned spacecraft Progress. The confirmations will be more than enough to put the next crew in space,” Krikalyov said.

Makes sense.

The real question isn’t whether they will identify the specific problem that caused last week’s Soyuz launch failure (which I have every confidence they will), but whether they will identify and fix the underlying culture that is allowing these failures to occur with greater frequency. I don’t think they can, since that culture is caused by the very way they have organized their space program, as a single giant corporation controlled by the government. Without the natural process of competition, the culture of Russia’s aerospace industry has nothing to force it to do good work.

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4 comments

  • Richard M

    “Without the natural process of competition, the culture of Russia’s aerospace industry has nothing to force it to do good work.”

    The obvious response to this is: They did not need competition to force them to do good work under Soviet rule. They had other impulses at work.

    But of course communist ideology and flagrant use of tools of repression aren’t really options for Putin today. That leaves him with nationalist pride (also quite operative for Russia in the Cold War), and it’s obvious that this just ain’t enough to make Roscosmos a terribly competitive enterprise.

  • wayne

    Enemy at the Gates –
    Nikita Khrushchev scene ( pep talk for the Commissar’s at Stalingrad )
    https://youtu.be/2IQJY5SsJ64?t=51
    3:21
    [language alert]

  • wayne

    Richard M-
    it’s actually more like this in “modern” Russia:

    A Piece of the Action
    “We Ain’t Playin’ For Peanuts”
    https://youtu.be/P7eGdtvo85U
    3:19

  • Tom Donohue

    I just saw this Ewetoob video ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QMUJ004Dr8Q) posted by a gentleman named Scott Manley. He goes into some depth on Soyuz engineering and possible root cause(s) of the failed launch. For me, it shed some light on Soyuz’s booster engineering and the escape systems used for manned launches. It did leave me with one question though. Were external cameras installed on this mission that showed the booster separation event? The video has a segment which showed this event very clearly on an earlier mission. I don’t expect transparency from Roscomsos (it’s a Russian thing) but I would surely be interested is seeing that video footage.

    Tom

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