Truck driver killed in fire related to crash of Soyuz stage in Kazakhstan

Pioneer cover

From the press release: From the moment he is handed a possibility of making the first alien contact, Saunders Maxwell decides he will do it, even if doing so takes him through hell and back.

Unfortunately, that is exactly where that journey takes him.

The vision that Zimmerman paints of vibrant human colonies on the Moon, Mars, the asteroids, and beyond, indomitably fighting the harsh lifeless environment of space to build new societies, captures perfectly the emerging space race we see today.

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A truck driver has died in an effort to extinguish a fire related to the crash in Kazakhstan of the stages from the Soyuz rocket that earlier this week launched a Progress freighter to ISS.

This story does not indicate any failure on Russia’s part during the launch. What it does highlight is the problematic location of their Baikonur spaceport, which requires expendable first stages to crash on land. In fact, this incident also suggests it wise for the Russians, and the Kazakhstans, to consider developing recoverable first stages that can land in a controlled manner, as SpaceX has, in order to make this spaceport more useful and safer.


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  • geoffc

    Or if they could finally get past all the corruption and actually open the Vostochny space port… Have we crossed the decade threshold yet?

  • LocalFluff

    Maybe this has happened routinely during the 50 years that the Korolov Cross (the four Soyuz boosters separating visually from the ground) has been dropped from the 1,000 launches made. Starting fires and killing people trying to extinguish it. Without anyone hearing about it before. Maybe.

    I tend to think that this might be an insurance fraud local to Zhezkazgan.

    There’s this flow of strange space news from Russia and the inner parts of its former empire, like Kazakhstan. And it has always been like this. It’s not part of any other fake news epidemic. Plankton on the ISS. Satellites crashing down through the roofs of homes on “Kosmonaut Street”. There’s a whole mythology about spaceflight over there. There’s a culture of publishing what people want to read. Because it’s fun to make fun of others. Only politicians turn out to not be very fun to make fun of in the end.

    The family of this poor guy makes up that he was fighting a space launch related fire. Maybe because they hope to get some compensation from the government, or just because they really believe that he was a born saint who can’t fail. I read Russian (and Borat/Kazak) news like a comic book. Even what their president says. It’s neither as good, nor as bad, as it looks. Because it’s mostly just meant to be a practical joke. Or some kind of insurance fraud.

  • wayne

    totally agree with your thought–
    “… flow of strange space news from Russia and the inner parts of its former empire,”
    (can’t speak to your other points)

    I’m not into ‘strange space news,’ as-such, but, (I know more than I should… I have noticed an inordinate amount of it flowing from that part of the World, in the past 10 years or so.
    Don’t know if it’s KGB psy-op’s or some cultural thing about Space, UFO’s, and that-sorta-stuff.
    (We haven’t had a good UFO-Craze, in many years, State side.)

    I am lead to believe–huge rate of auto insurance fraud [fraud in general?!!] does exist in Russia, necessitating everyone using Dash-Cam’s. (or is that an urban myth?)

    That being said–
    Bad idea to set the peasant’s on fire, with spent space-hardware. (At least the Coyote & Roadrunner, were out in the middle of the “West.”)

    But seriously–
    I was unaware their hardware falls on land at this location.

  • LocalFluff

    Stuff do rain from the sky after their launches, there’re images online. Russians have always been superstitious. They like UFO stuff. When their government spreads fake space news it is because the individual bureaucrats are superstitious, not because it’s planned from above. Crazy perceptions are mixed with crazy actual actions, so no one can know what craziness is actually true. They have this disinformation automatically from their culture, no conspiracy needed. I think it is old days’ farmers’ instincts that’s trying to apply itself to a non-farming lifestyle.

    It should be very unlikely to be the victim of space debris in the almost uninhabited Kazak steppe.

  • wayne

    Didn’t Harry Houdini perform for the Russian czar? (He made a church-bell ring, something like that… It’s from a recent movie on Houdini, which I can’t readily locate.) Rasputin was dumbfounded.

    Tass, Pravda, RT, it’s all KGB. They invented fake-news so long ago, the Patent has expired.

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