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Thursday, October 19, 2017

A symbol of space leadership, the USSR became a symbol of stagnation

Exactly 45 years ago launched the world’s first long-term orbital station “Salyut-1” – the absolute success of the Russian space industry. It was originally supposed to confer military functions, but in the end it became a symbol of “peace-loving foreign policy of the USSR”, and later – also a symbol of stagnation, which may have cost us the mission to Mars.

At the present time revolves around the Earth the ISS, continuing the work of stations such as Salyut and Mir. As with almost every major space program, long-duration orbital station (Dosas) were a product of policy. After losing America, “lunar race” in the late 1960s, the workers of the Soviet space industry have been remembering the colleague of chief designer Sergei Korolev, academician Boris Chertok in his book “Rockets and people”, about such installation of the CPSU Central Committee: “we must Not allow the people even thinking about any of our failures in space. We have our own way, own way, and if the Americans also achieve success, it is somewhere in the side of our General line.”

“Werner von Braun – one of the main creators of the U.S. space program – offered to withdraw to low earth orbit station with winged and ordinary atomic bombs on Board”

Think about how to compensate for the failure of the Soviet lunar program, “tormented”, according to Chertok, “not only senior leaders”. They are literally “hung in the air.” The first was filled with such an idea concrete meaning to the other constructor of rocket and space technology – Vladimir Chelomey (his most famous creation – the rocket “the proton”). In 1967, his OKB-52, later renamed the Central design Bureau of machine building (CDBMB), began the development of the project of the orbital station. The possibility of creating such technology was supported by the presence of the above-mentioned “Proton”. This media could put into orbit 20 tons – more than enough to launch into space DOS.

Station Chelomei was given the name “Diamond”. Formally, this DOS was developed by order of the Ministry of defence. On the original draft she was supposed to consist of the station itself, the descent module to return the crew to Earth and heavy transport supply ship (TKS). The main objective of this DOS (Chelomei was preferred abbreviation POS manned orbital station) was the exploration.

However, the palm in advance of idea to use the manned space station as a scout belongs to the United States. 10 December 1963 America has announced plans to create under the auspices of the Pentagon’s so-called Habitable manned space laboratory (Manned Orbital Laboratory MOL). MOL officially intended for scientific research, but one of its main functions was space exploration. However, as the development of unmanned space scouts the need for such a costly structure gradually disappeared, and the program was canceled in June 1969 – a month before the landing of “Apollo-11” on the moon.

From the USSR to the world

The most powerful launch vehicles in history kosmonavtiki OKB Queen also did not neglect the subject of manned space complexes. There began to develop the project of a multipurpose space base-station (IASC). As calamaestra PIC, it was created for intelligence, but to a greater extent lived up to its name “base”. It was expected that the IASC will go other spacecraft (KA), mainly the scouts, to donate their photographs, charging new film, refueling, prevention and repair. This would extend the life of SPACECRAFT data.

However, the IASC was to fulfill the role of not only the station “maintenance” for satellites. It was planned to equip it with various kinds of anti-irradiation and anti-missile weapons. The idea to build such orbital “dreadnoughts” came to mind not only the Soviet designers. In 1950-ies Werner von Braun – one of the main creators of the U.S. space program – offered to withdraw to low earth orbit station with winged and ordinary atomic bombs on Board.

So the Kremlin had to choose who will build the first DOS: enterprise Korolev or Chelomei? The choice fell on the first. This was partly due to skillful lobbying in the interests of his company employees Royal KB, including “family ties” in this KB and the Kremlin (lead designer on Dosami Yuri Semenov was married to the daughter of a member of the Politburo of the CPSU Central Committee Andrei Kirilenko), partly due to foreign factors. “Korolevtsy” not only declared that will create the station faster than “kalameitsau”. They suggested that it should be civil, open to international cooperation. Purely military “Diamond”, which besides significantly behind schedule, this is possible, of course, grant could not. The Kremlin jumped at the idea of becoming pioneers in the field to unite efforts in countries outside the atmosphere had the taste of Soviet leaders. This would underscore the peaceful nature of Soviet foreign policy. But we had to hurry, while Americans are not smart enough to capture a moon of any of its European allies.

The speed of creation of the first DOS was achieved by “confiscation” Chelomey ready corps of “Diamond” (which, of course, has caused this constructor violent protests). “Koroleva” was filled with her equipment, much of which was designed for “Soyuz” and “Salyut-1” was ready. However, kalameeste station still saw the space under the names of the “Salyut-2, Salyut-3 and Salyut-5”. Of them got the worst of the “Salyut-2”: the station began to lose the tightness before she came the first crew, and two months after launch, was orbited. Salute 3 and 5 and although for a short time, but was able to work with astronauts on Board. All subsequent “Fireworks” – 6 and 7, and Mir, were the works of the Royal company.

In dreams about Mars


Rescuers evacuated from the descent vehicle “Soyuz TMA-18M” returning from the ISS the members of the annual mission of Scott Kelly and Mikhail Kornienko, and Sergei Volkov spent six months in orbit. Crew members presented bouquets of Kazakhstan tulipanova needed Dosas? Professor Leonid Gorshkov, formerly one of the leading designers of RSC Energia, told the newspaper VIEW: “I Wanted to do something new, go ahead. And, of course, very great was the desire to overtake the Americans in the field of manned space systems: launch the station before them and the longer they are there to fly”.

As already noted, such a gust of engineers and designers of the Soviet rocket and space industry has found full understanding at the Kremlin, and the work in this area was provided with the necessary support. It is curious that the first Dosas were interested in the engineers and designers themselves, and not as a stage of preparation for the Mars expedition. The Martian piloted the project was developed in the USSR since the beginning of 1960-ies, but Dosas went like “parallel course”. And only starting from the “Fireworks” 6 and 7 (not to mention multi-module “World”) was, according to Gorshkov, to come to the understanding that Dosas are a valuable stand for testing and checking the “Martian” technology.

The crowning achievement of Dr. Dosov as such stands is the design of an interplanetary Orbiter (IOC), which is the basic element of complex for manned flight to Mars. IOC was developed in the early 2000-ies. As emphasized in the book “Piloted expedition to Mars” the creators, “the main feature of structure and systems of the interplanetary Orbiter is to maximize the use of Russian technologies, designs and systems worked when creating space stations: Salyut, Mir and the ISS Russian segment”.

American response

“She fell from orbit, prosypalis in the form of an artificial meteor shower on the South-Western Australia”

Created was the orbital Outpost and overseas, but his birth, unlike “Fireworks,” was not caused by factors of “space race” and desire to move forward professionally, many desire maximum use of taxpayers ‘ money spent on Apollo. In addition, NASA wanted to avoid layoffs of an estimated 400,000 employees of the American space industry after the completion of the lunar program in 1972.

American orbital complex, called Skylab, was approved in 1967 in the framework of the program “Use of results of the program “Apollo”.

The station had to be built on the basis of the 3rd stage of the carrier rocket “Saturn-5” and the crews on Board would be delivered the ships “Apollo”. This project was implemented.

Skylab operated in manned mode from 25 may 1973 to 8 February 1974. During this time, it worked three crews, each of which consisted of three people. After the station left the last astronaut, she was moved in automatic flight mode and on 11 July 1979 left its orbit, prosypalis in the form of an artificial meteor shower on the South-Western Australia.

The period of stagnation

“We thought, recalled pots, – that is to make, say, a telescope beyond the atmosphere, and the opening will fall on us as from a cornucopia. The reality was much more modest. Any discoveries we have made, although acquired experience in the construction and operation of stations was very valuable”.

However, somewhere at the end of the first decade of operation, the Dosov in the Soviet rocket and space industry began to grow a feeling that flying in an orbit is not anything new and gradually turn into endless repetition. It is interesting that at the “top” of state power began to appear the same feeling. According to the memoirs Gorshkov, somewhere in the late 1970-ies met the Secretary General of the CPSU Central Committee Leonid Brezhnev with which by the time the main army (then Spa) “Energy” Yury Semenov. Brezhnev asked what the NGO will do next, and then all around the Earth and around the Earth… Semyonov reported to the Secretary General that the company now is developing… a multi-earth station.

Speaking about the reasons why General designer of “Energy” Valentin Glushko, and after his successor, Yuri Semenov continued to “stamp” Dosami near-earth space, instead aim for Mars, Leonid Gorshkov said it was “easier”. Indeed, all the key technologies were already developed and tested. Small changes to the design of the stations does not lead to quality opportunities, but did not increase the risk of exploitation of these complexes, which allowed the creators of rocket and space “to develop” manned space flights with a minimum of headaches for yourself.

According to Gorshkov, a certain part of the blame for this stagnation lies with the designers. They were supposed to offer the General designer of the project, which he had either to support or to reject. “Maybe we [the designers], it was also easier to continue to “improve” Dosas, – he admitted. – True, there were objective reasons why we have not proposed a draft of the Martian expedition. Just in informally spoken form it was impossible. Was required to prepare a corresponding draft government decree, but without the booster, capable to put into orbit the elements of an interplanetary complex, doing that was pointless – no one b this initiative is not supported. Rocket H-1 would not, and the rocket “Energy” could not fly. When she learned how to do it (1987), it became clear that it is possible to prepare the public opinion for the flight to Mars”.

“In 1988, continues pots, we made an agreement with Volodya Gubarev (former editor in chief of the scientific Department of the newspaper “Pravda”), that I wrote an article on the Mars mission “the Truth”. This article after all approvals from the authorities was issued on 24 may 1988. Why we never did a draft government decree on the Mars expedition later, in the late 80s and 90s, it is clear: the country went into a spin.

There is no personality – there is no breakthrough

“This earth “carousel” was taken from the national space exploration a considerable amount of funds that could be spent preparing for the Mars mission”

Of course, we should not blame General constructors, and it’s hard to argue with Leonid Gorshkov, but in the stagnation of the Soviet Astronautics in the second half of the 1970s and throughout the 1980s, to blame mainly. To understand this, just remember that when U.S. President John F. Kennedy delivered in 1961 before the American task is to deliver a man on the moon and safely return him to Earth before the end of the decade, the United States has not yet completed development of the launch vehicle even for low earth orbital missions. But designers, particularly Werner von Braun, convinced the President that less than nine years will be able to solve such large and complex task as the establishment of a “lunar” equipment, including heavy-duty rocket “Saturn-5”. And really decided it.

This happened because American designers not only believed in their own strength, but wasn’t afraid to take on the responsibility of solving the problem, which entails an increased risk. Similar qualities, incidentally, were the chief designer Sergei Korolev. After the flight of Yuri Gagarin reliability engineers have calculated that the probability of a successful outcome of this flight was only 46%. But, as he wrote space historian Yaroslav Golovanov about the Queen in the eponymous book, this flight “was primarily an expression of his will, concentrated to an incredible density of internal energy, compressed, as the plasma column by the magnetic field, the expectation of victory, which he dedicated life.” Alas, none of the successors of the Queen at the head of “Energy” or like the will nor the internal energy did not possess.

Thus, long flights in low earth orbit key element of preparation for a Martian expedition has become one of its main brake. It happened for two reasons. First – increasing the duration of orbital missions allowed to talk about the “leadership” of the USSR in space. In 1978 the crew station “Salyut-6” Yuri Romanenko and Georgy Grechko broke the record of the third crew of “Skylab” (84 days), after being on-orbit for 96 days. The duration of follow-up missions continued to go on increasing, reaching more than fourfold (and by “the World” during the flight Valeri Polyakov – five) overlapping records of Americans. A similar indicator of “leadership” was created in the Kremlin and in the space industry atmosphere of benevolence and complacency, is not conducive to moving forward.

The second reason was that this earth “carousel” was taken from the national space exploration a considerable amount of funds together with technological and manufacturing resources that could be spent preparing for a Martian mission.

“The crisis of the genre”

It is this phrase used in 2000, Deputy General designer of RSC “Energia” Yuri Grigoryev, when talking about near-earth manned space exploration. As a generator of new knowledge and technologies, it has long ceased to justify itself from the point of view of those funds spent on its maintenance.

This thesis is confirmed by the experience of the ISS. For the countries participating in this project (except Russia) this is the first extensive experience in long-duration manned extraterrestrial activity. For this reason they decided to squeeze out of the complex all that is possible by agreeing to extend the period of its operation until 2024 (the station at that time must be 26 years old, and it will be lucky if she reaches this age). However, none of the partners on the station doesn’t consider structures in the orbit of the ISS-2. The U.S. is targeting the “far” space and to Mars. European partners, Canada and Japan, with high probability will join America, for Union with her will boost their space industry, and thus their science and technology in General.

However, we cannot say that the US lost interest in space stations. They probably will be built in the future, but private business. A few days ago to the ISS was docked with the inflatable module BEAM, designed and built by the American company Bigelow Aerospace. It needs to work at the station and at least two years. But the plans of Bigelow and has a much more ambitious project – to put into orbit by 2020, an inflatable module with a volume of 330 cubic meters (hence the name of the module V330). It can be docked to the ISS, and can fly as a stand-alone station. Potential customers are NASA, other government organizations, private companies, as well as space tourists.

Proceeds to build its earth station China, but as a country whose experience of the piloted activity has been limited to only five short flights (two of which, however, already included a dock with the prototype of the manned orbital complex), such a step on the path of space exploration is justified.

As for Russia, in the absence of a credible space policy and pending for the period after 2030 plans to replicate the American lunar program “Apollo” was going to build some this time, “russocentric”, high-latitude, periodically visit the ISS successor, from time to time voiced in the media, gives the impression of the straw that a drowning man trying to clutch. Without such stations, all manned operations in orbit Rossi will come down to the flights of the ships “the Union” (which in 2024 will be 57 years) according to scenarios of the 1960’s, when a ship with a crew of two or three people went for a few days in orbit in independent flight. Recall that the record of the duration of such mission, established in 1970, the crew of “Soyuz-9” amounted to 18 days.

In the conditions of the above-mentioned “crisis of genre” to justify the construction of the successor to the ISS tried giving her new features. For example, a “build-service” shop, where were going and took small repair spacecraft, orbital factories for production of medicines or certain elements for the electronics industry, or the “observation deck” where the astronauts would be watching for the Earth (a feature which has long handle automatic machines that are much more efficient and cheaper people). However, no indisputable scientific or feasibility study giving station similar functions. Apparently, her (if she ever will be created) you need to launch just to ensure that astronauts have a place to fly. This is indirectly confirmed by the new Director of piloted programs of Roskosmos Sergey Krikalev when he said in an interview with “Izvestia” that “the station in orbit, permanent access to it to be necessary, but people are constantly in orbit, I think, not necessarily”.

As for the ISS, this complex can and should drive the orbit for as long as the cost of its operation due to the piling up of failures will not become prohibitively high. But we should not forget that at the current stage of development of world Astronautics (defined primarily by the achievements of the space programs of Russia and the USA) an earth station is only a “simulator” that allows you to prepare for the development of “far” space. With regard to the exchange of experience and information we can say that the world space community is engaged in this training for 45 years and will probably do another eight (until the end of the flight the ISS). Attempts to continue circling around the Earth outside of the ISS project will kill the senselessness interest in space science by politicians and society and, as a result, to bleed them white financially manned space activities, promoting its degeneration.

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