Thursday, June 12, 2008

Space Adventures Charters Entire Russian Spacecraft


Can you believe this?! Yep, seems it is true! According to a recent article in popsci.com: To celebrated its ten-year anniversary Space Adventures, (the group that brokered the first tourist flights to space) announced that it had negotiated a deal with the Russian Federal Space Agency to buy an entire flight to the International Space Station. That's right, not just one seat, but the entire flight will be taken up by space tourists. A professional Russian cosmonaut will command the flight for two ticket-paying passengers some time in late 2011. (Soyuz as you know can only carry three people) From then on, Space Adventures plans to fly one charter flight to the International Space Station a year through the station's operational life. RKA will add new spaceships to its manifest rather than bumping existing flights. (you got to think about this for a second....this puts the vaunted NASA on the same level as Space Adventures, basicly buying seats from the Russians. *sigh*) Indications are that a tourist space walk and trip to the moon are in the planning stages - flown by the Russian Federal Space Agency and brokered by Space Adventures. (I hate to even think this, but with exciting stuff like this happening, NASA appears to be dead and to stupid to lay down. NASA is doing some great science, but leaving this huge gap in their manned program shows that they are event driven, advancing in spirts. The Russians have been steady throughout the last 40 plus years. Simplistic yes, but who is buying seats from whom? )

4 comments:

Shaun A Saunders said...

I understand your frustration, Paul...

Your points would, I think, echo the sentiments of many. I sometimes refer back to old Heinlein novels and try to see where we are now compared to where he wrote we might be (i.e., in terms of space commercialisation and exploration).

At least these ventures bring in more money, raise awareness and so on.

Paul said...

Shaun,
Yes, you really have to hand it to RAH, He could really look ahead and see not only the potential but the true weakness inherent in the way NASA does business.

I do have to point out that I am not anti ESA or Russian (sometimes I wonder where the French space agency's priorities are) or anyone who is interested in getting people off the planet. It just galls me that NASA has the potential to set the high water mark, but has been so short sighted as to not even have a carry on program post shuttle that didn't take into account losing some of the fleet and didn't instigate ANY project early enough to not have a serious down time. Forcing us all to watch as they beg rides from other vendors. Its not just a funding problem either, NASA never bothered to make space exploration exciting. The benefits have always been secondary and ad-hoc. I honestly feel at times NASA is successful in spite of itself.

Shaun said...

'I honestly feel at times NASA is successful in spite of itself.'

Well put, and brings to mind that old acronym used to describe said agency:Never A Straight A....

Paul said...

exactly! I had forgotten that one!
Favorite line...."we're looking into that...."