Energiya has a brief report at its site (also at Roskosmos) on the cause of the Progress M-06M docking abort last month: due to interference over a communication channel, a cosmonaut accidentally pressed one of the buttons on the control panel.
“Difficult rebirth for Russian space science”, BBC News, 29/6/2010. Article by Anatoly Zak on the difficult task facing Russian engineers trying to relaunch their country’s long-dormant unmanned space exploration program.
“Russia to kick off construction of a new spaceport”, BBC News, 20/7/2010. Восточный, Vostochnyi (“Eastern”) cosmodrome, an alternative to Baikonur, is to be constructed in Russia’s Far East, intended to be finished by 2015.
“Magic Anti-Radiation Curtain to be Installed in the ISS”, RK, 6/7/2010. An anti-radiation curtain developed by IMBP was delivered on M-06M:
Progress M-06M cargo supply vehicle has delivered a so-called “magic curtain” to the International Space Station. Flight engineer Fyodor Yurchikhin will install the curtain in the starboard’s cabin of the Zvezda module. The curtain designed by IBMP has special pockets for special wet hygienic towels used by cosmonauts onboard the station. The towels are saturated with hydrogen, carbon, nitrogen, which mitigate space radiation effects. The curtain is equipped with the radiation doze meters. Additional anti-radiation crew protection may be provided by three-layer wet towels on the walls of the cabins, thus mitigating radiation effects for cosmonauts, scientists believe.
Result of Matreshka experiment carried out in the station since 2004 show that the radiation is about two times weaker in the center of the station then near the walls. Phantom Matreshka-R is to monitor anti-radiation effectiveness of the wet towels. Experiment Matreshka is to study and to analyze radiation dose distribution in cosmonaut's body during long-term mission aboard the International space station (ISS). Dose from ionizing space radiation was determined with the help of thermoluminescent dosimeters mounted in conditional depths of critical organs in human body modeled in a dosimetric device, i.e. a ball-like tissue-equivalent phantom designed and manufactured in Russia for international space experiment Matreshka-R.
“Roscosmos Head Anatoly Perminov: Mission to Mars is to Take Place after 2035”, RK, 7/7/2010. More disappointing confirmation that there won’t be a Russian Martian attempt for some decades. I hope circumstances alter this! (Perhaps discovery of an alien artifact somewhere in the Solar System…)
Roscosmos Head Anatoly Perminov stated that the mission to Mars is planned after 2035, answering the questions of the students at the opening ceremony of International Students Science School “Space Exploration: Theory and Practice” in Russian Federal Space Agency. “Russia, Europe, the USA are interested in Martian missions today. India and China also have similar projects. There are more talks about human space missions to Mars. Russian Government have approved Federal Space Program which clearly defines sequence of automated space missions, as well as future human missions. The basic strategy implies Martian program to be implemented after 2035,” Perminov stated.
He also explained that there are no engines and propulsions systems capable to deliver humans to Mars in 2-3 months. “This is feasible only with nuclear propulsion. Many countries are trying to develop engines of new type, which can make mission time 20 times less- to reduce it from 1.5 years to 2 months,” Roscosmos Head said.
He added that there is another issue – human protection against solar radiation and radiation of the nuclear propulsion (if it is used). “This leads us to increasing mass of the launcher. No country is able of reaching Mars or other planets quickly. We are facing the energy problem. That’s why 2035 is defined in our plans,” Perminov said. “There is another option proposed by Russia and negotiated with heads of other space agencies. Interplanetary vehicles could be assembled in LEO. This approach can help us making the interplanetary missions sooner. Young generation will work with it, develop a new propulsion with a brand new operation principle,” Roscosmos Head concluded.
The Mars-500 crew are now over 2 months into their mission. They are no longer in real-time contact with TsUP:
25/07/2010: Today is important crucial point in the life and work of the crew because voice communication sessions will be completely ceased since the 26th of July. We change over to batch communication with gradual (stepwise) increment of the delays of communication. Batch communication means video-voice messages to the crew and similar answers. It can be used for the implementation of difficult experiments, for regular medical control and for psychological support. In addition to this the communication with the crew via electronic messages will be kept.
Blogger/Google have at last instigated comment spam filtering, so perhaps I can block my persistent Chinese spammer!