Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 internet speed test! No Flash necessary and runs on all devices. ×
ISS

Russia May Be Planning National Space Station To Replace ISS 236

An anonymous reader writes with news that Russia may be building its own space station to replace the ISS. Russia may be planning to build a new, independent national space station rather than prolong its participation in the $150 billion International Space Station (ISS) program beyond its current 2020 end date. The U.S. space agency NASA proposed last year to extend the life of the ISS — the largest international project ever undertaken by nations during peacetime — beyond its currently scheduled 2020 end date to at least 2024.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Russia May Be Planning National Space Station To Replace ISS

Comments Filter:
  • by camperdave ( 969942 ) on Friday November 21, 2014 @03:10AM (#48432177) Journal
    We'll build our own station... with blackjack and hookers!
    In fact, forget the station.
    • And the blackjack

    • by gl4ss ( 559668 )

      well they got russian hookers already everywhere else than on the space station so maybe that's it.

      it's a joke though. they can't afford it, it gives them no meaningful bonus of any kind - science or military wise. ruble is already in the gutter and they would rather use the money and resources for jets and missiles. but talk is cheap.

      or maybe they'll just photoshop it. the pro russia regime russian media has started being so sloppy lately that you have to even start wondering if being so sloppy in the pro

      • by schnell ( 163007 )

        it gives them no meaningful bonus of any kind - science or military wise

        This is something that has long bothered me: what do they do on the ISS that is "important science" worth all the money and hassle? I can go read a list of experiments on the station, but it all sounds like picayune little science projects to me. Can somebody who knows more about this than me give me some context on what the heck is Really Important about work done on the ISS? Or do we just send people and things to it Because It's There?

  • Peace Time. (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Peace time! The countries have been involved in almost constant war the entire ISS programs existence.

  • What's it good for? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bradley13 ( 1118935 ) on Friday November 21, 2014 @03:27AM (#48432211) Homepage

    I am totally pro-space, but I just do not understand the ISS. It is hugely expensive to keep and feed crews. And yet, the human habitation makes whole classes of experiments difficult or impossible, due to the atmosphere, the vibrations from movement, etc..

    Where human presence could be useful: if we were actually building a space infrastructure. Capture some asteroids, use them for raw material, and build a base to use to get to the rest of the solar system. While lots of construction tasks can be automated, human intervention will occasionally be necessary. But we aren't doing that.

    So, what exactly is the point of manned space stations? Is it really worth it? Or would the money, time and effort be better invested in some other types of space activity - automated experimental stations, or - let's dream - building a "real" base in space?

    • by itzly ( 3699663 )
      Humans may be useful to build a base, but a base is only needed if you want to have humans in space. Apart from the 'cool' factor, there's no actual benefit from having people in a space base, or to send humans to the rest of the solar system. And if you don't send humans in space, there's no real use for the ISS. The ISS is a huge drain of money that could have been better spend on a large number of unmanned probes to do actual science.
      • by vux984 ( 928602 ) on Friday November 21, 2014 @04:23AM (#48432385)

        The ISS is a huge drain of money that could have been better spend on a large number of unmanned probes to do actual science.

        Studying the effects of living in space on humans and solving those problems is actual science; with lots of practical applications in medicine etc that will have real benefits even for us earthbound people.

        Longer term we will want to know and solve those problems as well, for actually getting people somewhere else, even if its not am immediate plan to put anyone permanently anywhere else.

        • by itzly ( 3699663 )

          with lots of practical applications in medicine etc that will have real benefits even for us earthbound people.

          I'm pretty sure that with $100 billion in funding here on Earth, we could achieve bigger medical breakthroughs, that are more relevant to general public health.

          • by AC-x ( 735297 )

            But if you're going to talk about worthwhile spending then maybe not spending ~$700 million per day ($100 billion every 140 days) in Iraq [washingtonpost.com] on a war that increased global terrorism [washingtonpost.com] is a better place to start?

            • by itzly ( 3699663 )
              That's a completely independent discussion. No matter what happens to the military spending, I'll still argue that the ISS is a waste of money, and that its budget could be better spent on unmanned space exploration, or even other science goals.
              • by dywolf ( 2673597 )

                completly different, kind of like...the difference between funding for space research and medical research?

                • by itzly ( 3699663 )
                  The point is that the $100 billion spent on the ISS is a waste of money. If it were my choice, I would prefer to have move that budget to unmanned space exploration. Now, if somebody counters this by claiming that medical research done on board the ISS is vital, I'll be willing to concede a portion of the budget to medical research on Earth, and spend the rest on unmanned space projects. Of course, in either case, we're talking about diverting the ISS budget, which remains completely orthogonal to military
            • But if you're going to talk about worthwhile spending then maybe not spending ~$700 million per day on a war

              It is a logical fallacy to justify spending money on something stupid just by pointing out that we already spent more on something even stupider. That sort of circular argument just leads to a lot of stupidity. Each expenditure should be justified, or not, on its own merits.

          • I'm pretty sure that with $100 billion in funding here on Earth, we could achieve bigger medical breakthroughs, that are more relevant to general public health.

            I'll concede the point once we stop spending trillions on bombing other people here on earth first.

      • by putaro ( 235078 )

        There's a lot of value in having humans along. Currently, launch costs are so high that the costs of bringing along the life support for humans is prohibitive, but if it got cheaper many things would work better.

        Consider Philae - if it had landed a few meters in another direction it would still be working. If it had been a manned expedition, that wouldn't have been an issue.

        Or look at the Mars rovers. Great stuff, but there's little ability to improvise. Think up a different experiment you want done? W

        • by itzly ( 3699663 )
          Yes, if launch costs were cheaper many things would work better, including unmanned probes. Now, there's just a little problem of reducing launch cost.
        • by N1AK ( 864906 ) on Friday November 21, 2014 @07:11AM (#48432717) Homepage

          Consider Philae - if it had landed a few meters in another direction it would still be working. If it had been a manned expedition, that wouldn't have been an issue.

          For the cost of getting humans to and from an asteroid on a decade long mission (in anything approaching a functional state) we could have sent thousands of unmanned landers. Sending people adds a gigantic cost premium. It's nonsense to suggest the rover mission would have been better with people, it wouldn't have happened with people due to cost, and if we could afford the cost of sending people we could do hundreds of unmanned missions for the same cost as one manned one.

        • Consider Philae - if it had landed a few meters in another direction it would still be working. If it had been a manned expedition, that wouldn't have been an issue.

          Uh, yeah but how would you have kept the skinbags alive for the 10-year trip to the comet?

          • by itzly ( 3699663 )
            Plus another 10 years to get back. And how much more fuel would it require to send dozens of tons of stuff on a round trip, compared to 100 kg one way ?
        • Consider Philae - if it had landed a few meters in another direction it would still be working. If it had been a manned expedition, that wouldn't have been an issue.

          Or they could have included three or four more copies of the lander and still cost less than sending humans. Rosetta has been in space for 10 years-- there aren't going to be humans floating around in tin cans in deep space for that long for a *long* time. At least not live ones.

          Or look at the Mars rovers. Great stuff, but there's little ability to improvise. Think up a different experiment you want done? Well, it'll have to wait for the next rover because that one can't do it.

          That's not an argument for manned missions so much as an argument to either make things we're sending smaller and more capable or increase our ability to send larger and larger things. A significant portion of the mass you send on

      • Apart from the 'cool' factor, there's no actual benefit from having people in a space base, or to send humans to the rest of the solar system

        First step to getting somebody on another planet so a single Extinction-Level Event doesn't come along and wipe out humanity.

        I can't believe I'm practically the only one who can figure this out whenever this topic keeps popping up.

    • by Thanshin ( 1188877 ) on Friday November 21, 2014 @05:05AM (#48432479)

      So, what exactly is the point of manned space stations? Is it really worth it? Or would the money, time and effort be better invested in some other types of space activity - automated experimental stations, or - let's dream - building a "real" base in space?

      What's the point of everything else we do in space if not to extend our horizon? Manned space stations allow us to advance in one of the pillars of colonizing space; the actual survival in that space.

      The question should be quite the opposite. what's the point on every other investment that doesn't allow us to push our boundaries? What's the objective of humanity?

      For me, the primary objective should be to expand, so for example every single dollar spent in defense, to fight among ourselves, is only useful in whatever science those investments bring along.

      • by itzly ( 3699663 )

        What's the point of everything else we do in space if not to extend our horizon?

        To satisfy our curiosity. For instance, I'm curious if there's any other lifeform in our solar system. To answer that question, sending unmanned probes is the quickest and most cost effective method.

    • by hab136 ( 30884 ) on Friday November 21, 2014 @05:45AM (#48432553) Journal

      >So, what exactly is the point of manned space stations?

      For one thing, testing various methods for keeping humans alive, healthy, and sane in space.

      We need to expand beyond Earth. To do that, we'll need space stations as jump-off points, and we'll need to know how to survive extended periods in space (months and years). To do that, we need somewhere to test survival, like the ISS.

      > Or would the money, time and effort be better invested in some other types of space activity - automated experimental stations, or - let's dream - building a "real" base in space?

      The ISS cost $150 billion over 20 years, or about $7.5 billion a year to construct and maintain. The US currently spends about $3 billion a year to keep it going - or about $8 per person. It's not a lot of money. Think about that - watching a movie about space costs more than actually maintaining a real life space station.

      We have to start somewhere. All the work put into building and maintaining ISS was necessary experience before would could build a "real" base. We can design all we want but there are a lot of lessons to learn when you try to put theory into practice.

      Yes, for each individual experiment, automated experiments are cheaper and easier. They're still done: http://www.space.com/27003-rus... [space.com]

      We don't have to do ISS *or* automated experiments - we do both.

      Space is the future and it takes big investments right now. They do pay off now, and they'll pay off even more in the future.

      • If you need an environment free of vibrations and atmosphere, can't you just park it a foot from the space station? And once the experiment is done, retrieve it?

        The added bonus is that if the experiment needs modifications, you have the possibility of doing it in almost real time and send it out again.

        • If you need an environment free of vibrations and atmosphere, can't you just park it a foot from the space station? And once the experiment is done, retrieve it?

          The added bonus is that if the experiment needs modifications, you have the possibility of doing it in almost real time and send it out again.

          It's not that clean an environment around space station. It's more llike the space equivalent of Pigpen from the old Peanuts comics- a station with a cloud of contamination floating along with it. There was a microgravity facility that was very loosely coupled to ISS, but it still has to be coupled so that when the space station maneuvers your things keep up. If you really need microgravity it tends to be easier to make a free flyer and stick it in a higher orbit. The possibility of re-usability is appea

      • As a sense of scale:

        The US public spent $7.4 billion on HALLOWEEN in 2013, including $350 million for PET COSTUMES. (http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2014/10/wait-americans-spend-how-much-on-halloween/381631/)

        Next Friday, on "Black Friday" US consumers will spend ~$40 billion on stuff that they & others don't need, but (mostly) want.

      • The ISS cost $150 billion over 20 years, or about $7.5 billion a year to construct and maintain. The US currently spends about $3 billion a year to keep it going - or about $8 per person. It's not a lot of money. Think about that - watching a movie about space costs more than actually maintaining a real life space station.

        The movie analogy is one of my favorites. I like to point out to people that you can send a small rover to Mars for the same cost (or less) than making a couple of really bad movies about sending people there. You can send a large rover for about the cost of a James Cameron extravaganza or two about it.

    • And yet, the human habitation makes whole classes of experiments difficult or impossible, due to the atmosphere, the vibrations from movement, etc..

      The primary thing we are studying on the ISS is the occupants. All the other experiments are just added value.

      Capture some asteroids, use them for raw material, and build a base to use to get to the rest of the solar system.

      Oh is that all there is to it? We don't need to learn how to keep people alive and healthy in zero G first? What is your proposal for radiation protection outside of the Earth's magnetic field? How do you propose to manufacture useful products out of asteroids of unknown composition given that we lack even basic space worthy manufacturing technology? How do you plan to keep people's bones intac

    • Its a massive pork project to fund the domestic space industry that didn't have a mission to work on and to keep starving Russian engineers from working for the axis of evil.

  • Can't they plan something permanent, where you add and remove modules as needed ? Barely 2 decades of use for such an expensive project seems kind of a waste.
    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) *

      They probably will now, but the problem with the ISS is not technical, it's political. The US doesn't play well with others, and Russia is basically fed up with it. I imagine they will partner with China instead in future.

    • by Hadlock ( 143607 )

      It's not like we had hundreds of years of heritage in designing these things. We have yet to have a satellite collide with a human-populated space station. I'm sure we'll learn a lot about what to do/not not do with space stations in the years after that first event. Designing a space station module to survive multiple tens of thousands of MPH impacts with space debris, satellites, micrometeorites, etc for not just 10 years but 100 years is asking a bit much, don't you think?

      We've only been buildin

    • Yep, it cost a lot of money to put all that mass up there. Seems like an awful waste to deorbit it just because the warranty expired and the rubber gaskets are getting brittle.

      Maybe next time around, build it with self-healing materials or at least with some foreplanning into reusing metal panels that get pitted over time from micrometeorites.

    • It's not possible. The electronics on board have a limited lifespan due to their exposure to ionizing radiation. You can't make densely integrated electronics last indefinitely. Going back to the more robust low density electronics used on the long lived space probes would be impractical on a complex manned spacecraft.

  • by Hadlock ( 143607 ) on Friday November 21, 2014 @03:34AM (#48432237) Homepage Journal

    Russia announced that they were planning to end their involvement with the ISS in 2009 or so. This is nothing new. They've been telegraphing their displeasure with the ISS program for half a decade or more, and their lack of willingness to continue with it past 2020. The portions they're sending up to the ISS will be detached and converted in to a separate space station shortly after 2020. This is not "news", this is "established fact". Maybe it's more noteworthy the second time that they publish this through official channels?
     
    The ISS will be a 20 year old international experiment at that point, yes the US and Russian halves of the ISS share a common "atmosphere" but mechanically they're completely separate space stations capable of detaching at any time. Most of the Russian segment of the ISS is made from leftovers from their MIR 2 project. It's no surprise that they're wanting to separate from the ISS. Those space station modules have a finite lifespan and most of them will be nearing their operational limits around 2020, with a maximum lifespan of 2030. Either we replace them with new modules or deorbit the whole thing. Russia has decided to replace them with new modules and go their own separate way. They've been talking about this for a looong time. The ESA has been talking about teaming up with the Russians moving forward, rather than NASA on the next space station. China ended up building their own space station after being turned down by the Americans. We're not making a whole lot of friends in the aerospace field with the ISS these days. The New ISS may be everyone - (minus) America next time around, due to our overwhelming fear of sharing orbital technology with the Chinese (who aren't allowed inside NASA buildings, just ask any Chinese aerospace engineer).

    • Maybe it's more noteworthy the second time that they publish this through official channels?

      Not really. The Russians have been publishing all manner of powerpoints about what they plan to do "real soon now" in space for a quarter of a century - and only a dozen or so have progressed to more powerpoints, less than a handful to anything more, and precisely none to fruition. And yet, people keep falling for them.

    • The ISS will be a 20 year old international experiment at that point, yes the US and Russian halves of the ISS share a common "atmosphere" but mechanically they're completely separate space stations capable of detaching at any time.

      False. The US portion of the ISS cannot survive without the Russian parts, and vice versa. This was intentional, to ensure interdependence and continued cooperation.

      • by Hadlock ( 143607 )

        That was true in 2004, however with redundant systems installed since then, the US portion is capable of running on it's own today.

  • by camperdave ( 969942 ) on Friday November 21, 2014 @03:50AM (#48432295) Journal
    What would happen if the Russians just decided to keep the International Space Station going unilaterally? Is there anything critical to the operation of the ISS that only the US can provide?

    Or is the ISS getting so old - seals are starting to leak, parts are getting brittle with age and the harsh environment of space - that it's safer to ditch it than to continue to use it?

    All in all, it seems like quite a waste to splash a hundred and fifty billion dollar microgravity research station, especially when they're planning on adding new modules to it next year, and in 2017.
    • by Hadlock ( 143607 ) on Friday November 21, 2014 @04:33AM (#48432407) Homepage Journal

      It was designed with a 10 year service life, then re-rated for 20 years. Current plan is 2024 but after that is really stretching things and major modules need to be replaced due to stressed placed on them by boosting the orbit (the ISS is actually in the upper atmosphere and loses about 2km (1 mile) altitude per month due to atmospheric drag. It gets reboosted by Soyuz and Progress spacecraft periodically.
       
      Yes you could keep it going indefintiely but eventually the safety factor drops below an acceptable point. Based on what's there right now, that safe point is 2024-2030.
       
      A next generation space station could possibly exceed a 25 year design life, but really, 25 years is pretty damn good given this was the first try since Space Lab for the US. For the Russians this is old hat, their segment(s) are just repurposed MIR 2 parts.

      • Yes you could keep it going indefintiely but eventually the safety factor drops below an acceptable point. Based on what's there right now, that safe point is 2024-2030.

        So, based on history, the Russians will try to keep it going until 2040

      • If the solar cells dont optimize the solar incidence angle, the power could be cut in third. Power is kind of tight on ISS now, In the mid-2000s a shuttle mission replaced a broken bearing wheel on half of the solar cells. It would be much slower to replace such now without the shuttle.
  • We should build a moon base. It will be the first of its kind...Alpha. Something we should have completed 15 years ago, instead of wasting money on ISS.
    • I completely agree with you. A well designed, permanent Moon base is really what's needed. Many years from it's completion I can see it being self-sustaining and even launching people and goods back to Earth.

      Human beings need to start expanding beyond our own Orbit. It's 2014 people, let's go.

      • by itzly ( 3699663 )
        How much would it cost to build a self-sustaining Moon base ? What exactly are the benefits ? How does this cost/benefit ratio compared with other projects we could do on Earth ? For instance, reducing our dependency on fossil fuels ?
        • by xigxag ( 167441 )

          It's R&D. If we already knew the exact benefits, we wouldn't have to do the research.

          One of many worthwhile goals is in developing expertise in the areas of construction and industrial development in a vacuum. This is not something you want to learn at the last minute. And since it will require new methods and materials, there's a possibility we'll learn something that will accrue benefits back on Earth. Even a tiny improvement in a process that would work back on Earth could be beneficial to the tu

    • But we'll need a new shuttle design for transporting equipment back and forth, with a cool, American sounding name like....lambs, pheasants...no wait, Eagles!

      It'd make a great place to dump all our old nuclear waste!

    • The problem is that, as soon as you do that, some idiot will start using it to store nuclear waste. And once that waste explodes, you'll have a whole new set of problems.

    • by Aussie ( 10167 )

      Nice one [wikipedia.org] :)

    • We should build a moon base. It will be the first of its kind...Alpha. Something we should have completed 15 years ago, instead of wasting money on ISS.

      I understand you are making a funny, but I see people saying this in seriousness. The matter of the fact is that if we were serious about going to Mars or a moon base, we would not abandon the ISS but fund it even more and probably need to build a second one, just to do the research to get the knowledge to make such things possible. Complaining about spending funds on the ISS instead of a moon base is like complaining about all the money spend on fusion research instead of just building the final working pr

  • Everyone who doesn't have an armed space station, raise your hand.
    • I have no idea about armed space station but all Soyuz spaceships are armed. Including, of course, the ones that transport US astronauts. Does it count as US militarization of space?

  • If they put their flag in space, doesn't that mean they own it?

  • Russians are "planning" a lot of things. One of the features of mindset of Russian society is permanent talk about ever greater and more impressive projects. None of those normally come true, but they make Russian people feel as if they would be the Greatest Nation of All. So Russians spend their lives in illusionary dreamscape where unfounded paranoid sense of one's greatness and superiority co-exists with the feeblest and most pathetic of realities ever seen by Man which in fact they are living in.

    A commo

    • You study the Soviet life via US propaganda about Soviet propaganda about real Soviet life. Ha-ha. Some Russian jokes for better understanding:

      - Sister, please register me to doctor of ear-eye.
      - Patient, we have no ear-eye doctor, we have separate ear and eye doctors.
      - No, I need an ear-eye doctor. I hear something but see exactly the opposite.

      Q: Radio informs that there is plenty in USSR but my fridge is empty. What to do?
      A: Power your fridge from your radio.

      Q: Why is the Great Soviet Food Production Progr

  • NASA keeps looking for long duration spacecraft. They have a -dandy- one already in orbit.

    What it needs is a large ion thruster module. The ISS would make a really great long duration space probe. We already know that people can live on it for months at a time, and it's got many of the instruments one would want to explore deeper space than LEO. Flying supplies off Earth would take a whole lot less energy than launching an entire space probe.

    Plus, it can be done incrementally. Attach an ion engine, fly

    • Something made for interplanetary travel like that would need far more radiation shielding, which basically must drive most of the rest of the spacecraft architecture. The ISS is in one of the most benign orbits out there (not dealing with the Van Allen belts, yet still enjoying the protection of Earth's magnetosphere). As soon as it got beyond LEO, a single solar flare could be enough to give all the inhabitants a lethal dose of radiation.

      Believe it or not, there are some fairly smart people working at
    • The ISS is not a deep space craft. It and the crew is still protected by the Van Allen belt from radiation, and is not mean to handle the thrust of moving it. The boosting just to keep it in orbit is already taking a toll on the structure and it is very much still in the grip of Earth's gravity and probably could not handle the thrust needed to get it out into deep space. A ion thruster would not do will still in orbit. As far as a car analogy goes, what you are suggesting is like saying somebody should use
  • People could move between them in times of danger. Must develop a "standard docking port". Most of the world uses ISS ports. And likely the Chinese xeroxed when they stole the specs.

I have the simplest tastes. I am always satisfied with the best. -- Oscar Wilde

Working...