Friday, October 07, 2011

Russia Identifies Reason For Rocket Failure

Don't look now but Russia may be back in the rocket business before you know.

Vladimir Popovkin, the head of the Russian space agency, Roskomos, told lawmakers in his country the problem which caused the loss of a Progress spaceship a few months ago was only a "glitch" and that launches could resume later this month. he also said he expected the International Space Station could be re-supplied and back on schedule by December. (A re-supply mission is already schedule for Oct. 30.)

However, Popovkin also said he felt despite the fact Russia was only country currently able to bring crews and equipment to ISS they were lagging behind other nations when it came to development and oversight. He said he believed the nation should pursue the creation of an independent committee to keep watch on the space program and start investing in new technology to update their existing decades old space craft.

Popovkin said a series of botched launches in recent months showed the need to create an independent agency to run quality controls at the Russian-leased Baikonur launchpad in Kazakhstan.

"I honestly do not think it should be seen as a major achievement for us that we are the only ones fully supporting (flights to) the International Space Station," he said.

"While other countries are working on new (spacecraft) we are forced to focus on the production of well-reputed but comparatively old spacecrafts Soyuz and Progress."

Despite the fact that Russia fields 40 percent of the world's space launches, he said it only held 3 percent of the $267-billion-dollar global space industry market this year.

NASA unveiled plans last month to redirect funds toward building a deep-space rocket to carry astronauts to the Moon, Mars and other destinations beyond.

NASA projects its first test flights in 2017.

Click here to read more of Popovkin's comments.

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