Is it just this blog or is there just not much going on out there at the moment? Maybe it is the Christian festival of Easter that is slowing things down with all that related time off work?
But for those of you that are looking forward to the imminent 2 April Soyuz TMA-18 launch there are pre-flight interviews with the crew at the news webpage of Russia’s Federal Space Agency aka Roscosmos
Russian news website RIA Novosti is reporting that the UK and Russia could become high tech partners – is this because of the creation of the UK Space Agency? One doubts any help will be forthcoming on the scale that Russia provided China with for its manned spaceflight programme - click on the hypertext for a 38-slide presentation about the middle kingdom’s ambitions, happy Easter!
However there is a Russian presence now at the Harwell innovation and science centre which is to get the UKSA’s International Science and Innovation Centre (spot anything similar?) with £40 million from government and industry. More on that Russian presence another day…
Maybe the Russian’s could help the UK with this solar sail anti-space debris thingy that UK newspaper The Guardian (a paper that is shedding jobs at a scary rate lately) reports is being proposed. The theory is you attach the solar sail, folded up inside its own spacecraft, to future satellites and then they use it to deorbit later. Oddly the sail would be used to de-orbit large satellites, why bother, why not just use the spacecraft’s own station keeping thrusters to end its days – as is done now?
This blog didn’t comment on it at the time but Russia Today has reported Russian space industry officials comments about the country resuming space tourism flights. This blogger very much doubts it somehow. While Russian industry can justly take pride in pushing Energia Soyuz TMA production to five spacecraft a year - and a lot more for the Samara Space Centre Soyuz rockets that also launch Progress - the International Space Station is going to to be an astronauts-only area for some time to come
Maybe these tourists can hitch a ride from Canadian spaceports that Russian media are reporting have the backing of Virgin Galactic’s Sir Richard Branson. Is Canada to grab Lossiemouth’s position as a prospective northern latitudes spaceport? Well, the UK government has squandered four years inwhich they could have solved all the legal ambiguities surrounding space tourism from the Royal Air Force base at Lossiemouth in Scotland so why not? For those Scots or Canadians not prepared to wait there is always the New Mexico over flight planned for WhiteKnight Two and SpaceShipTwo
Meanwhile others are happy to use the prospect of a suborbital flight as an excuse for a jet ride, and in an Lockheed F-104 Starfighter too
For those of you who balked at this blog’s description of there being not much going on, because of the US political kerfuffle probably, then feel free to follow the slanging match that is passing for Congressional debate at spacepolitics.com, NASAWatch.com (which can also tell you the price tag for NASA’s Constellation programme fully adoting the metric system instead of
Imperial English units) and the Orlando Sentinel’s blogs
Finally, Boeing is apparently to work with the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), if you believe that link, while this story seems to be repeating something that has been known for sometime, ISRO’s intentions to have a winged reusable launch vehicle; ah those starry eyed day dreaming Indians, will they not learn from others’ experiences?