1. To The Moon and Beyond: Russia’s Future Space Strategy Unveiled

    Russia has largely finalized its concept for future space exploration. Its key tasks are: to expand presence in low near-earth orbits, explore and colonize the Moon, and start developing Mars and other planets of the Solar System. The strategy was outlined by Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin in an article in the Rossiyskaya Gazeta newspaper.

    According to him, the current priorities of the Russian space industry should be the establishment of a space services market and advancement in the exploration and development of the resources of deep space.

    A national project for deep space exploration could play an important part in this process, Rogozin said. The Russian Space Agency (Roskosmos), together with several ministries and in cooperation with the Russian Academy of Sciences and the state nuclear corporation Rosatom, have been instructed to draw up proposals on the viability of its implementation, he added.

    The Moon as a laboratory for studying the universe
    Rogozin continued: "Key areas of research and development under this national project will be the development of nuclear power units and plasma technologies for energy conversion, the development of biotechnologies, robotics and new materials."

    "In addition, work is getting under way to identify technical options for a manned spacecraft based on a super-heavy carrier rocket for missions to the Moon and later to Mars," he added. Research is also being done into "creating powerful interorbital (interplanetary) tugs, which are essential for developing the Moon and exploring the planets of the Solar System."

    Rogozin is convinced that the Moon is a key target for fundamental scientific research and the nearest source of extraterrestrial matter to Earth. Furthermore, it could become a platform for technological research and for testing new space systems.

    As a longer-term objective of lunar development, Rogozin suggested the establishment of a man-tended Moon and first interplanetary laboratory, which could house "the tools and systems for studying the universe, lunar minerals, meteorites, as well as a test production of useful materials, gases, and water from regolith." The first cosmonaut landings on the Moon are planned by 2030, after which a man-tended lunar base will be deployed. The next stage of the plan envisages manned missions to asteroids and to Mars.

    Russia to establish itself in near-earth orbits
    Cosmonaut Sergei Krikalev says Russian plans of deep space exploration are not at all science fiction. He believes they would require a system of “base camps” near the Moon and on the Moon itself, with in-built rescue capabilities both there and en route to the Earth.

    "I think, ultimately, we shall have a base flying around the Earth, as a starting point for other missions,” says Krikalev. “At the same time, we should not give up research in low orbits, where Russia should have a strategic base of its own. It will not only serve as a research station, but will also act as a launch and test base for preparing deep space missions, a workshop for assembling new spacecraft, servicing, adjusting satellites. Everything could be tested in a near-earth orbit and only then allowed to venture deeper into space.”

    Despite the government’s ambitious plans, there are quite a few weak spots in the Russian space industry. One of them is the domestic production of top-quality electronics and components, Rogozin pointed out.

    "In recent years, onboard relay systems of communications satellites have either been fully manufactured by foreign firms or have been assembled at Russian plants from foreign components. That is why the Federal Space Agency has authorized the Military-Industrial Commission to commission radiation-hardened electronics and components from domestic manufacturers," he added.

    Commenting on NASA’s decision to suspend cooperation with Russia, Rogozin said that these sanctions would help Russia to draw up a development strategy for manned space exploration independent from unreliable international partners.

    Source: RBTH

    Related: The Astronaut Film | AstronautFilm.Tumblr | IWantToBeAnAstronaut Facebook | @AstronautMovie

    And another very relative post.

  2. guardian:

    Nasa asks members of public to select spacesuit of the future

    Nasa has collected more than 200,000 votes from members of the public who are on a mission to help the space agency select the spacesuit of the future.

    Voting ends at midnight ET on Tuesday for the newest iteration of Nasa’s spacesuit. The competition pits three suits – “Biomimicry”, “Technology” and “Trends in Society” – against each other before the winner can be tested in Nasa’s facilities. Full story 

    (Source: theguardian.com)

  3. for-all-mankind:



    Commencing countdown, engines on.

  4. costsmorethanspace:

    What costs more than space exploration? Mistakes made by government unemployment benefit programs.

    As reported by the LA Times, the State of California is about $516 million poorer than it should be. A recent audit uncovered the fact that the state’s Employment Development Department had missed out on a chance to recoup hundreds of millions of dollars that had been overpaid to unemployment recipients, via a federal program. Admittedly, doing so would have required a $323,000 investment in software. A tidbit of relevant information, courtesy of the LA Times: “the state’s Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund became insolvent in January 2009.” Ouch! They go on to quote the audit, which notes that California “has borrowed about $10 billion to cover the deficit and paid hundreds of millions of dollars in interest on the money it has borrowed.” 

    Meanwhile, over on the other side of the country (almost the same line of latitude, in fact), the Commonwealth of Virginia recently invested some money in space exploration. Specifically, Virginia constructed a new launch pad, Pad 0A, and associated infrastructure at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport, which is essentially the commercial portion of NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility. The pad was built to attract and support the business of the Antares rocket, one of two American-built rockets currently capable of delivering cargo to the International Space Station. Even after a lawsuit, the total cost of the pad has been reported as $90 million. Interestingly enough, the cost of development of the Antares rocket itself—borne not by the Commonwealth of Virginia but instead by NASA and by Orbital Sciences Corporation, the company that built it, has been reported as $472 million; meaning that California’s unemployment oversight could have paid for about 90% of the total cost of a new rocket and a new launch pad to go with it.

    (Photos via the State of California and a NASA Flickr Account, used via creative commons license) 

  5. spaceexp:

    The Apollo Test Program

  6. spacewatching:

    Astronaut Shannon Lucid is seen egressing from a training version of a Soyuz spacecraft, during a water survival training session in Russia. In March of 1996, Lucid accompanied the STS-76 crew to the Russian space station, Mir, where she stayed for a little over four months before returning to Earth with the STS-79 crew.

    (via spaceexp)


  7. How astronauts get back to Earth (or, reasons not to be an astronaut)


    There’s nothing quite like floating in outer space, says astronaut Chris Hadfield. Until you look down at that giant blue orb housing your entire species and you’re left with the inevitable question: "How will I ever get home???" 


    This is how: By plummeting through the atmosphere squashed into a tiny capsule with a bunch of other people. The return trip starts in the Soyuz space capsule, which detaches from the space station and plummets toward the Earth’s atmosphere.


    That tiny capsule comes rocketing back to Earth with the force of a meteorite. Hadfield says it’s not the pee-your-pants-in-fear experience that you might imagine. “We weren’t screaming, we were laughing,” he says. “It was fun." (He had obviously never seen the landing gif below.)


    As the capsule gets closer to land, a parachute opens to slow it down, and shock absorbers kick in on impact.  


    Once the capsule has finally stopped rolling and catapulting and otherwise traumatizing everyone inside, a team on the ground “reaches in, drags you out and plunks you in a chair.”   


    That’s when Hadfield says he begins to fully appreciate what he’s done. He says, ”You have taken the dreams of that nine-year-old boy, which were impossible and dauntingly scary, and put them into practice.” 

    Thumbs up, Colonel. We’re impressed. Watch the full talk here »

    (Don’t miss Hadfield singing David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” at the end. It is THE BEST.)

  8. for-all-mankind:

    Pretty much sums me up.

    (Source: fy-perspectives)

  9. mindblowingscience:

    A Salad Bar for the Space Station

    Freeze-dried bags of dehydrated “astronaut food” may seem like a fun novelty for school kids on Earth, but despite all the hard work that goes into providing the residents of the Space Station with nutritious and varied meal options there’s one thing that remains a rare and elusive commodity on astronauts’ menus: fresh produce.

    Although fruit and vegetables do occasionally find their way aboard the ISS via resupply missions (to the delight of the crew) researchers are moving one step closer to actually having a vegetable garden in orbit. On Monday, April 14, NASA’s Veg-01 experiment will launch to the ISS aboard a SpaceX Dragon capsule to test the in-flight viability of an expandable plant growth chamber named “Veggie.”

    In development for several years, Veggie is now getting its chance to be space-tested with the launch of the SpaceX-3 resupply mission. Veggie uses clear collapsible “pillows” as miniature greenhouses, inside which plants can be grown with the aid of root-mats and a bank of LED lights.

    Astronauts will see how well “Outredgeous” romaine lettuce fares in microgravity inside the Veg-01 experiment, and can also use the LED bank as a light source for other experiments.

    “Veggie will provide a new resource for U.S. astronauts and researchers as we begin to develop the capabilities of growing fresh produce and other large plants on the space station,” said Gioia Massa, the NASA payload scientist for Veggie.

    “Determining food safety is one of our primary goals for this validation test.”

    While other plant-growth experiments are currently aboard ISS, Veggie boasts the simplest design and largest growing area of any of them to date.

    With the ultimate success of Veggie, ISS astronauts may soon find themselves floating in line at the in-house salad bar. (Watch out for those rogue croutons!)

    Read more in the NASA news article by Linda Herridge here, and learn more about the Veggie project here.

    (via scienceyoucanlove)

  10. pennyfornasa:

    On this day in 1981, astronauts John Young and Robert Crippens embarked on the maiden voyage of Space Shuttle Columbia, marking the first orbital spaceflight of the Space Shuttle Program. It was also NASA’s first manned spaceflight mission since the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project in July 1975. The Space Shuttle Program went on to operate for another 30 years, 15 years longer than it was originally designed for, before it was retired in 2011 having logged a total of 135 flights.

    Today, without a spacecraft of our own to transport U.S. astronauts to low-Earth orbit, the U.S. depends on Russians to ferry our astronauts to the International Space Station aboard a Soyuz rocket. NASA is busy developing its next generation Space Launch System and Orion crew capsule capable of taking astronauts to destinations such as an asteroid, the Moon and even Mars. In addition to that, NASA is stimulating the development of commercial crew vehicles capable of carrying our astronauts into low-Earth orbit, which will usher in the return of human spaceflight launches from U.S. soil. However, the Commercial Crew Program, which was originally planned to begin manned spaceflight launches next year, has been delayed until 2017 due to Congress’ failure to fully fund the program.

    Take this opportunity to write Congress and tell them it’s time we began launching astronauts from U.S. soil again: http://www.penny4nasa.org/take-action/

  11. sagansense:

    Throwback post from last year in tribute to Yuri Gagarin…don’t forget to turn the subtitles on (for all whom it applies) and don’t fight back the chills…


    Gagarin: First in Space | Trailer (English Subtitles)

    Yuri Gagarin movie attracts criticism | via Telegraph

    Gagarin: First Man in Space, a state-funded movie about first man in space, cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, is criticised for being too sanitised.

    A state-funded Russian movie telling the story of Yuri Gagarin, the first human to enter space, has been criticised as a sanitised biopic. The 108-minute film Gagarin: First Man in Space is the first full film on the pioneering cosmonaut ever released in the Soviet Union and recreates Gagarin’s pioneering April 1961 space voyage in detail. The film received state funding as part of a drive for patriotic cinema and has been supported by Gagarin’s family – his widow and two daughters, Yelena and Galina. The family previously vetoed a Gagarin musical and took legal action over a previous fictional drama, forcing all references to Gagarin to be cut.


    Yuri Gagarin with his wife Valentina and daughters Galina and Yelena in June 1963 in Moscow

    In director Pavel Parkhomenko’s new film, the cosmonaut (played by Yaroslav Zhalnin) is shown as a flawless character, a portrayal that has attracted criticism. “Any humanity is carefully hidden from us. We stop believing at all in the existence of the person named Gagarin,” was the verdict of Ogonyok magazine. A reviewer on the TV channel Rain accused Parkhomenko of having “made a deadly retro film as if he was turning a feature from (Soviet mouthpiece daily) Pravda into a film”. Producer Oleg Kapanets defended the film and was quoted in an AFP report by Anna Malpas saying: “At first the Gagarin family were suspicious because before there were attempts to make films and it somehow didn’t work out. For them this is a delicate topic and there have always been a lot of unnecessary rumours and sensation around it. They had even stopped believing that it was possible to make honest cinema. But time passed and they were OK with it all.”

    He said he asked Gagarin’s daughters to check with their mother Valentina – who is rarely seen in public – on details such as what flowers Gagarin used to give her (in the film, it is chrysanthemums).


    The capsule that brought Yuri Gagarin back to earth before he parachuted out at 7,000ft

    The film ends as Gagarin parachutes back to Earth, without touching on his later years of socialising with Soviet pop stars and world figures such as Queen Elizabeth II. Neither does it refer to his death at 34 in a plane crash. There were numerous conspiracy theories about his death, ranging from claims Gagarin was drunk to allegations that the accident, which happened while he was flying a MiG-15 fighter jet in 1968, was somehow staged by jealous Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev. But a study in 2010 claimed Gagarin’s death during a routine training flight was caused by his panicked reaction after realising an air vent in his cockpit was open.

    In any case, the new film has won praise from Russian Space Agency officials who watched it in Moscow. “It got through to me, I’ll be honest, it was great,” said head of manned flight programmes at Roscosmos, Alexei Krasnov. “We still know how to make films – not just rockets.”

    Source: Telegraph

  12. sagansense:


    On this day In 1961, cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first ambassador of our planet to enter the vastness of space. Vostok 1 was the first manned spaceflight of the early space race, and Gagarin completed one orbit of Earth before landing safely 108 minutes later.

    While flying weightless above Earth’s surface, Yuri Gagarin witnessed a spectacular view of home — forests, deserts, and great plains were surrounded by expansive oceans. Upon viewing the thin blue line of the atmosphere, Gagarin became the first of our inquisitive species to see our planet as it truly is — a vibrant, geologically active world circling a star. We at Penny4NASA urge you to honor the memory of this brave man, as his Vostok 1 mission was the catalyst for every manned spaceflight adventure to date.

    Remember and honor this great (hu)man by exploring all of my related posts on Yuri Gagarin. Ad astra per aspera*

  13. design-is-fine:

    Advertisement with Apollo Astronaut Outfit, 1959. Tang, USA. Source

    (Source: brainpickings.org, via from-the-earth-to-the-moon13)

  14. colchrishadfield:

    Today’s the perfect day for space/astronaut-themed music. Do you have a favorite? Here’s one.

  15. spaceexp:

    At this moment, but 53 years ago Yuri Gagarin landed near the village Smelovka Saratov region. Completed its first manned space flight.