A news roundup from NK; the usual computer translations. Cosmonaut sea survival training, Russia’s space budget, another space tourist craft proposal, the new Russian Orlan-MK spacesuits, an IMBP experiment.
Novosti Kosmonavtiki news №210:
18/06/2008/00:08 – The annual training of cosmonauts began in the District of Sevastopol, with the support of the Black Sea Fleet rescuers
At the Black Sea on June 17 began the annual training exercises for the cosmonauts. According to Igor Dygalo, Assistant Commander-in-Chief of the Navy, “The training in the sea in the vicinity of Sevastopol Center is conducted by the GCTC cosmonauts in conjunction with the Office of Search and Rescue of the Black Sea Fleet of Russia.”
According to Dygalo, the purpose of exercises, which are a serious test for all participants in the upcoming flights, including backup crews and visiting crews, is “the development of the spacecraft crews’ skills of action after an unexpected splashdown of the capsule at descent.” Two Black Sea fleet vessels are provided for the cosmonauts’ training.
Weather in the area is conductive to the holding of the exercises: water temperature 21 degrees, cloudy, sea nearly completely calm.
20/06/2008/00:08 – Russia spends two times less in space than the USSR
Financing of Russian civil space has fallen more than twice since Soviet times, said Roskosmos. In 2007, the civilian space programs of Roskosmos was allocated $1.34 billion, while in 1989 the Soviet space program funding was $3.28 billion, said the report, published on the Federal Space Agency site.
From 1991 to 2004, Russia spent on space roughly the same as India. Only in 2004 did the budget of Roscosmos exceed that of the Indian Space Agency and amounted to $770 million. In 2006, funding for the Russian space program has been increased by another $100 million, the report said.
In so doing, it is still at $400 million below the cost of France for civilian space and $600 million below the cost of space in Japan. The European Space Agency is funding its space programme in the amount of $4.3 billion, that is more than three times as much as “generous” Russia. NASA’s space and aeronautics budget, the report noted, has grown from $11 billion to $17 billion since 1989. Over the past seven years, NASA costs are increasing annually by about $500 million.
Novosti Kosmonavtiki news №211:
24/06/2008/20:31 – Russian scientists began an experiment to prevent diseases requiring surgical intervention during interplanetary travel
At the Institute of Biomedical Problems (IMBP), Russian Academy of Sciences an experiment began on June 24 that will help scientists to develop a methodology for treatment of diseases requiring surgical intervention for future interplanetary expeditions, reported IMBP press secretary Pavel Morgunov.
“The experiment will last about a month, during which at least 8 healthy volunteers aged from 20 to 35 years will be required several times during the day to lie in conditions simulating the effects of microgravity (where the legs are up in the air at 15 degrees above the head),” he explained. In doing so, scientists will conduct infusion therapy (intravenous solutions introducing various drugs) and observe the redistribution of body fluids during the stay of subjects under the conditions of “weightlessness”.
In orbital flight when a disease requires an urgent operation, or is a critical condition, there is the opportunity to suspend the expedition as soon as possible and return the cosmonaut to Earth, recalled Morgunov, but this would not be possible during an interplanetary mission. Therefore, when preparing the system of medical support for an interplanetary flight, scientists are obliged to consider these principles and develop techniques for treatment of these diseases.
One of the fundamental components of surgical care and intensive therapy is infusion therapy. Modern hardware makes it possible to carry out infusion therapy even under weightlessness conditions. However, since there is no data on the impact of infusion in different environments on the parameters of the central and peripheral hemodynamics, gas exchange microcirculation and tissue in conditions of spaceflight, the scientists suggested a series of experiments modeling the effects of spaceflight to determine the impact on the effectiveness of various infusion media. According to Morgunov, “it is planned to assess the influence of some solutions on the volume of circulating blood, central and peripheral hemodynamics, the state of the microcirculation, tissue gas exchange and rheological properties of blood.”
After each day “resting”, the subject will undergo a thorough examination, because the main purpose of the experiment is “to compare the effectiveness of some infusion media in compensating for the losses of fluid in conditions simulating the effects of microgravity.”
24/06/2008/20:31 On the ISS next year crews will work in open space in the new “smart” Russian spacesuit
On the ISS, where crews are now working in open space, the complete replacement of the “Orlan-M” Russian spacesuit with the more modern “Orlan-MK” is scheduled.. The first Orlan-MK will be taken into orbit at the end of this year on a Progress Russian cargo ship, and in early 2009, to the International Space Station will receive two more, Sergei Pozdnyakov – general director of the “Zvezda” Scientific and industrial enterprise, where all domestic spacesuits are manufactured – said Tuesday.
The new spacesuits will gradually replace the ISS Orlan-M at the end of their life, which have faithfully “served” several crews.
The Orlan-MK is the fifth Orlan version and the first computerized Russian spacesuit, Pozdnyakov said. In the process of donning the suit, it prompts the cosmonaut for the sequence of system checks he must follow before going out in open space and reports on the status of these systems. If there are abnormal situations – for example, increased consumption of oxygen, etc. – relevant information is displayed on the signal panel, with a warning beep and instructions on what procedure to follow.
The new “intelligent” spacesuit would avoid situations like what happened during the exit of ISS Expedition 9 in June 2004. At the very beginning of EVA activities, the TsUP Mission Control Center specialists recorded an oxygen leak in Michael Fincke’s spacesuit, and the crew was forced to return to the station. The determination of the cause of the pressure drop in the Orlan took several hours, and the EVA was postponed for a few days. Now the spacesuit itself will “communicate” with the cosmonaut as to the reason for his “malaise”.
According to Pozdnyakov, ISS Expedition 18, which will be launched into orbit in October, has already trained to operate the Orlan-MK. If a cosmonaut forgets a procedure during an EVA, a special program will help him translate into the more simple Orlan-M management regime.
The new EVA suit weighs 120 kg and has a service life of 15 EVAs within 4 years of operation. In open space it protects the cosmonaut from the low barometric pressure, ionizing radiation, solar power, and micrometeorites. The system uses a high-performance thermal method of diverting the heat emitted by man through a water cooling garment. The intensity of heat removal is manually controlled by the cosmonaut by reallocating water flows coming in the heat exchanger for cooling.
24/06/2008/20:31 in the Black Sea near Sevastopol Russian, Canadian and Dutch astronauts are training
In the Black Sea near Sevastopol cosmonauts from Russia, Canada and the Netherlands are training. “The purpose of training is to prepare cosmonauts for a possible splashdown in the sea in the event of unexpected situations in orbit,” Yurii Gidzenko – pilot-cosmonaut, Hero of the Russian Federation, head of special training at the Cosmonaut Training Centre – told reporters .
“During one week we train two crew, which include not only Russian cosmonauts, but one astronaut each from Canada and Holland. They come to replace another two crews, who are also within seven days will be trained,” emphasized Gidzenko. In doing so, he clarified that “the technical equipment for training includes the Russian Black Sea Fleet ships and special equipment which was brought from the town of Star City.”
According Gidzenko, the sea training of cosmonauts was formerly conducted in Feodosia, Kudepste and other coastal cities. “For the past five years, cosmonauts have trained in Sevastopol. This is convenient and for us and the seamen the base is nearby with ships on the spot,” he said.
Gidzenko also noted the “close economic and scientific link” between Roscosmos and the National Space Agency of Ukraine. “We do not and never had problems with our Ukrainian colleagues,” the Russian pilot-astronaut asserted.
24/06/2008/20:31 – Russian small spacecraft “Dandelion”, designed exclusively for space tourism, to appear by 2012
A Russian small spacecraft (IAC) «Одуванчик» (Oduvanchik, “Dandelion”), designed exclusively for space tourism, will appear by 2012. This assumption was made on Tuesday at a press conference in Moscow by Igor Bulanov, Vice-Chancellor, Chairman of the department “Rocket and Space composite structures” at the Moscow State Technical University named after N.E. Bauman.
The specialized ship, which will “convey” only space tourists into orbit, is being developed by students and scientists at MSTU. According Bulanov “at the moment already started production of ship models.” “Tentatively, we expect to finish work by 2012,” he said.
According to the Vice-Chancellor, Dandelion can not be compared with any similar development in the world – it was “much cheaper and outperformed many other proposals.”
It is anticipated that Dandelion will take on board a pilot and four passengers or 600 kg of payload, and will perform a suborbital or orbital flights. It will be able to take off from a mobile automatic platform installed anywhere, and to land both with the aid of the parachutes and independently on a takeoff and landing runway.
“The Glass ceiling In Space”, Space Daily, 17/6. On the dismal state of Russia’s women cosmonauts (only 3 made it into space, and there are currently no active ones, though there is one in the training group, Elena Serova).
“Options for space tourists”, RIA Novosti, 23/6. Andrei Kislyakov opinion piece. Russia began space tourism, but has not managed it very well.
Pavel Vinogradov, a pilot-cosmonaut and deputy head of the Energiya Rocket Space Corporation, says: “Regrettably, space tourism is a big headache for us today. It does not resolve any financial problems, and undermines the foundations of our cosmonautics. We have to replace young cosmonauts with tourists… They are all good people but they are not professionals. Regrettably, we can only find room for them at the expense of professionals.”