:: Thursday, August 18, 2005 ::

Role reversals for NASA and Russian space agency
Who'da thunk that the Russians would embrace private enterprise so well while the U.S. space agency plods under the weight of Soviet-like bureaucracy? Wired reports that "Space Adventures, the company that sent the first tourists to the International Space Station, announced last week that it had cut a deal with the Russian Space Agency, or RKA, to send tourists on a flight to the moon by 2010. It will be the first manned Russian mission to the moon, and the first manned lunar mission, period, since NASA's Apollo 17 in 1972."
Only this won't be much of a race. To be sure, NASA has its own plans to return to the moon, but that mission depends on fabulously expensive new hardware that's still in the conceptual stage and that NASA says won't be ready until 2018.

The Russian mission, on the other hand, will use off-the-shelf hardware that's practically ready to go now. All it has to do is wait for Space Adventures to find a couple of tourists willing and able to fork over the $100 million each to pay for it. That may sound like a lot of money, but it's still less than half of what NASA spends on each space shuttle mission.

To be fair, the Russian mission will simply loop around the moon and come back without landing. But if the first missions are successful, landings will be next, and will require only one new piece of hardware, a lander.

By many measures, the Russian Space Agency is miles ahead of NASA, a situation that's become increasingly clear over the last two and a half years as NASA has had to bum rides on Russia's Soyuz space capsules while its aging, accident-prone space shuttles languish in the shop. With the upcoming lunar mission, it will become abundantly clear just how many miles RKA is ahead: about a quarter of a million, the distance from the Earth to the moon.

, , ,

:: Andrew 08:20 + ::

bloggedy blog recommends

Save the Net

bloggedy pod (my podcast page)

Independent hotels
in Missouri

Get Firefox!


eMusic's Power Charts: The Most Interactive Music Charts Online.

Never Mind the Bibles

In rotation

What I've been listening to lately. Click album cover or hyperlink to hear track samples and learn more.

Sermon on Exposition Boulevard Rickie Lee Jones, Sermon on Exposition Boulevard

Children Running Through Patty Griffin, Children Running Through

Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer? Of Montreal, Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?

Tones of Town Field Music, Tones of Town

The Girl Collection De Bossen, The Girl Collection

Robbers & Cowards Cold War Kids, Robbers & Cowards

Carinvore Simon Dawes, Carnivore

Until Death Comes Frida Hyvonen, Until Death Comes

Tratore Basics 2: New Brazilian Rock Tratore Basics Vol. 2, Novo Rock Brazil

Modern Times Yusuf: An Other Cup

Modern Times The Beatles: Love

Two Thousand The French Kicks: Two Thousand

Paper Television The Blow: Paper Television

Freedom Haters Unite! A Bloodshot Records Sampler, Vol. 1 Freedom Haters Unite! A Bloodshot Records Sampler

Beast Moans Swan Lake: Beast Moans

Prototypes Prototypes: Prototypes

Violence Is Golden Scanners: Violence Is Golden

Mothers, Sisters, Daughters & Wives Voxtrot: Mothers, Sisters, Daughters & Wives

Your Biggest Fan Voxtrot: Your Biggest Fan

Translate Macon Greyson: Translate

Get Evens The Evens: Get Evens

Veruca Salt IV Veruca Salt: Veruca Salt IV

Modern Times Bob Dylan: Modern Times

Look Your Best Pink Tuscadero: Look Your Best

Blue On Blue Leigh Nash: Blue on Blue

I Am  Not Afraid Of  You And I Will Beat Your Ass Yo La Tengo: I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass

Boys and Girls in America The Hold Steady: Boys and Girls in America

The Longest Meow Bobby Bare Jr.: The Longest Meow"

Hello Love The Be Good Tanyas: Hello Love

The Lemonheads The Lemonheads: The Lemonheads

Ben Kweller Ben Kweller: Ben Kweller

We Are The Pipettes The Pipettes: We Are the Pipettes

Surprise Paul Simon: Surprise

Sev7en Exene Cervenka and the Original Sinners: Sev7en

A Hundred Highways Johnny Cash: American V: A Hundred Highways

For the Best of Us The John Doe Thing: For the Best of Us

Runaway Bombshell The Fondas: Runaway Bombshell

Flat-Pack Philosophy Buzzcocks: Flat Pack Philosophy

Citrus Asobi Seksu: Citrus

The Loon Tapes 'n Tapes: The Loon

2006 Pitchfork Music Festival Sampler Various Artists: 2006 Pitchfork Music Festival Sampler (24 free tracks)

News and Tributes The Futureheads: News and Tributes

Zoysia The Bottle Rockets: Zoysia

Let's Get Out of This Country Camera Obscura: Let's Get Out of This Country

Bang Bang Rock & Roll Art Brut: Bang Bang Rock & Roll

A Blessing and a Curse Drive By Truckers: A Blessing and a Curse

Broken Boy Soldiers The Raconteurs: Broken Boy Soldiers

The Life Pursuit Belle and Sebastian: The Life Pursuit

The Greatest Cat Power: The Greatest

bloggedy tags

from our sponsors

for your viewing pleasure

the Richard Show

where in the world?

Locations of visitors to this page