“Cosmonaut: Russia falling behind in space race”, MSNBC.com, 20/11. Cosmonaut Mikhail Tyurin is concerned at Russia’s tardiness of developing a new spacecraft, and that it will fall behind other countries and become irrelevant. Cosmonaut Pavel Vinogradov voiced similar concerns last year (18/5/2008 entry), about Russia being relegated to a space tourist taxi service.
He said officials’ talk of using the ship to fly to the International Space Station, and then the moon and Mars, are unfeasible. “One vehicle can’t be both a steamroller and a Formula One racer,” he said.
Tyurin said that work on the prospective ship has proceeded slowly, with engineers continuing to argue over such basic things as whether the new spacecraft should come back using parachutes, like the Soyuz, or land like a plane, similar to the U.S. shuttles.
But Tyurin warned that the failure to develop new space technologies would relegate Russia to a secondary role in the near future. “Very soon, no one will need the Russian space program,” he said. “Our partners already have got all they could from us. They won’t take us into the future.”
“Russian room ready for space station launch”, MSNBC.com, 9/11. On the new Russian module, Poisk, launched 2 weeks ago.
“Industry Insiders Foresaw Delay of Russia’s Phobos-Grunt”, Spacenews.com, 5/10. Article by Anatoly Zak on why the Phobos probe has been delayed until 2011: more equipment testing is needed, the onboard flight control system wasn’t ready, nore are ground control facilities.
Not exactly what you’d find NASA astronauts like Mike Massimino writing about, and that’s exactly what makes the reflections worth reading. We tend to receive our vision of space exploration through the American lens, so it’s great to get some outside perspective on what’s going on up there. And Suraev’s site really feels like someone’s blog.