STS-116 Discovery undocked today and as usual the mission has been reported in breathless detail by the world’s media. It was a spectacular mission that involved four complex spacewalks by the Shuttle crew.
In contrast Russian missions are rarely reported by the mainstream media as they probably seem rather dull in comparison and aren’t doing anything noteworthy, apart from transporting crew. There’s been no Russian ISS components added since Pirs in 2001, and the MLM isn’t to be added until 2009 at the earliest (see 22/11 entry.
Sunita Williams has replaced Thomas Reiter as the third crew member; she will be the third American woman to stay for a long-duration ISS mission. Again Russia is a sorry contrast; they have not sent any Russian women into orbit since 1997 (Elena Kondakova on STS-84) and whose sole hope for another woman cosmonaut, Elena Serova, is only beginning her training, and (assuming she succeeds) it will be many years before she gets into orbit.
Some Russian news from Space Daily:
- “Russia Rolls Out The Red Carpet To University Students In Bid To Attract Talent”, 15/12.
- “Russia’s Rocket Policy Chaos”, 12/12.
- “Russia Faces Problems In Developing Space Technology”, 15/12.
- “Russia Set To Implement Ambitious Space Program: Part 1, Part 2”, 20/12.
And an article from Interspace News: “Russia’s Plans For The Next 26 Years In Space”. A detailed examination of Russia’s space plans for the future – but will the Government support them?
Still waiting for Charles Simonyi to begin his blog!! He also said that his two Russian cosmonaut crewmates, Fyodor Yurchikhin and Oleg Kotov, will be posting entries too, so I look forward to that! (I might add that I really hate Flash-animated sites as I have to “load” the site every time I visit, and I can’t copy-and-paste text to quote it! The photos are also Flash, so I can’t save them to my computer unless I take a screenshot and open it in a photo editor. Annoying!)