Russia vows not to exploit manned space flight monopoly


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That’s so nice of them: Russia vows not to exploit its manned space flight monopoly.

Actually, this isn’t really news. Since the fall of the Soviet Union the Russians have always driven a hard bargain when they have sold tickets to get crew or cargo into space. However, once the contract has been signed they have also honored those contracts, to the letter. As the U.S. already has a signed contract to get its astronauts to ISS using Russian rockets and capsules, there won’t be any opportunities for Russian exploitation — until that contract expires.

In other words, the U.S. had better get some manned launch capability on line before too long. And on that note, see this article: NASA considers man-rating the Atlas V.

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6 comments

  • Joe2

    It’s really nice of the Russians to say they won’t gouge us while we are down. If anybody really believes they will not, I have a Goldmine I will sell cheap. :)

    As to the crewrating of the Atlas V, the key part is this:
    …”NASA announced an information-sharing agreement with United Launch Alliance” …”The new contract, which does not come with money”
    Note “information-sharing”, “does not come with money”.

    In other words if ULA wants to spend their own money meeting crew rating standards, NASA will give them direction on what that means.

    By the way I think the RD-180 engines used on the Atlas V are still manufactured in the Ukraine, so that would hardly give us a launch system not dependent on a foreign provider.

  • i think we should somehow make it easier to man-rate a rocket and let people take on more risk if they want to . i also think I heard that the last contract we signed with the russians they did raise the price in anticipation of our lack of ability

  • Joe2

    Walter Walkie says: Posted July 19, 2011 at 10:17 AM
    “i think we should somehow make it easier to man-rate a rocket and let people take on more risk if they want to .”

    That could theoretically be done, but that would eliminate the vehicles use with the government which is still (and will be for the foreseeable future) the driving customer. You also need to keep in mind that ‘barnstorming’ period of aviation development would have stalled out entirely if US government interest (and money) had not come in (due to World War I).

    “ i also think I heard that the last contract we signed with the russians they did raise the price in anticipation of our lack of ability”

    From the low $50 Millions to the low $60 Millions and that is only for crew transport for the next few years. If our ‘commercial’ friends do not deliver (years late already) on the cargo delivery capabilities promised, look for some really interesting negotiations in that area not only with the Russians (Progress), but with the Europeans (ATV) and the Japanese (HTV) when they realize we are helpless without them.

    And that assumes that the administration is serious about continuing US participation in the ISS (which I do not),

  • hmm . good points to think about . thanks for the info . this is kinda unrelated but somehow i just thought of it thinking about this theead . what if a company started up that sent humans to refuel/repair comsats? in theory if they had extremely low regulation maybe they could make a bunch of money taking huge risks . i don’t know maybe it could become acceptable for the government to be the customer and allow private company people to die trying to fufill some kinds of non-essential contracts on the cheap if they want to . like military contractors in warzones i’m sure there is a certain level of regulation but the company can make decisions to take on risk and save money in some situations . i don’t know really just thinking

  • Joe2

    Walter Walkie says: Posted July 19, 2011 at 8:05 PM
    “this is kinda unrelated but somehow i just thought of it thinking about this theead . what if a company started up that sent humans to refuel/repair comsats?”

    The idea of assembling and servicing various types of applications satellites in Cis-Lunar space is an interesting subject. There are number factors that could make it practical without taking extreme risks (both to human life and program success). One of the most desirable (although it may seem ‘far out’ to you if you have never heard of it before) is use of Lunar resources to supply the needed propellant to fly the missions once orbit is achieved.

    If you would like to read more about it, I would suggest the Website “Once and Future Moon” run by Paul D. Spudis a Senior Staff Scientist at the Lunar and Planetary Institute in Houston, Texas.

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