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

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.

Conscious Choice cover

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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.  
Conscious Choice 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.


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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.


  • 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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