An Abandoned Space Ship

Russian urban explorer and photographer Ralph Mirebs discovered an enormous, abandoned hangar in Kazakhstan.

Hangar1

Inside were the remains of the Soviet space shuttle program.

Hangar2

More amazing photos from the source here or from a secondary news piece here.

Comments

Nothing beside remains. Round the decay/
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare/
The lone and level sands stretch far away

Ozymandias! Nice reference.

I always liked Sheets and Kelly.

There is a website dedicated to abandoned industrial sites. Mainly military. Often air force bases. Soviet usually. I think it is this one:

http://www.urbanghostsmedia.com/2011/09/post-soviet-aircraft-graveyard-discovered-abandoned-east-russian-air-base/

I recommend the one on the Albanian air force base.

Pre 1991. USSR, not Russian space shuttle program.

Fixed.

Should he expect a call from KGB?

Pay dat man hees money.

It's my understanding that this project never went anywhere because it was developed by the Soviet aircraft industry, not their space program. They built it just because they could. It wasn't integrated with the space program, so even if the Soviet Union hadn't collapsed it would have ended up like it is now.

Nice spot. And I suppose somewhere in North Korea there's an anti-AlexT that shows photos of the jumbo aircraft graveyard in Arizona with the caption that capitalism digs its own grave though oversupply and/or capital deepening effects (or something cruder).

Don't think Alex's post was a dig at communism...

The boneyard in Arizona is full of 1,000's of planes that reached the end of their service life. This is a hanger of two shuttles that were never finished. That's not really comparable. Though, of course, the facts wouldn't stop anyone pushing propaganda, North Korean or otherwise, from trying.

Ray Lopez July 4, 2015 at 11:18 am

And I suppose somewhere in North Korea there’s an anti-AlexT that shows photos of the jumbo aircraft graveyard in Arizona with the caption that capitalism digs its own grave though oversupply and/or capital deepening effects (or something cruder).

I am not sure that would have the effect that the North Korean government might like. As they head into yet another massive drought with the inevitable hunger and deaths, what do you think the response of North Koreans to these pictures showing America is rich enough to throw away perfectly good airplanes would be?

1. We love our Eternal President Kim Il-sung and Juche!, or

2. F**k Dougals MacArthur! We couldda had some of that!

There are plenty of examples of Communist countries showing Western agit-prop films by our own Leftists only for the Workers under Real Existing Socialism to say "Wow, those striking miners have their own cars".

Douglas MacArthur did about everything humanly possible, including pulling off perhaps the greatest amphibious landing of modern warfare, to unite the two Koreas.

After so many years of neglect the hangar seems structurally quite stable?

Where were the elements, vandals & thieves?

Isn't it in the middle of nowhere? Not too many thieves and vandals if you're far from any cities.

Also, isn't that area like a desert? The aircraft boneyard is in Arizona because it helps keep the planes from deteriorating.

Oh I suspect it was guarded for a long while, if not still today. You'd be surprised how far scavengers went to strip the last copper pipe from derelict buildings after the Soviet collapse. 90s were desperate times.

.....in spite of the Copper price being barely 20% of today. Desperation indeed.

Marc Rich paid a lot of ex-Soviet factory managers to dismantle their factories to sell to him as scrap.

This isn't an "abandoned" building. It's an unused building inside Baikonur.

The Soviets watched the congressional debate over the Shuttle project in the early 70's, saw that the economic projections used to promote it were transparently false, and presumed it's cost could only really be justified if it were a nuclear first strike weapon. So they reoriented their entire space industrial complex to build a 'Sovietized" copy/counter.

Economic comparisons are hard to make, but Apollo program spending peaked a bit below 1 % of US GDP, with most years using much less, while the Soviet shuttle Buran is believed to have consumed 3% to 5 % (or more!) of Soviet GDP *continuously* over a 15 year period.

Buran's development played a meaningful role in the downfall of Soviet Communism, and except for the rocket engines they sell to us today, they more or less threw the whole thing away.

Ironically the USSR space shuttle program ended up just like the U.S. 30-year boondoggle-- junkyard/museum relics, except the U.S. wasted well over $200B in direct costs alone; USSR failed effort lacked time to waste such huge sums.

U.S. space shuttle was originally sold to Congress as a vehicle to make spaceflight cheap and efficient, with weekly flights into high and low orbits. It never came even close to meeting those specifications. Average flight directly cost $1.5B at less than 10% of the promised launch frequency and only into low orbits.

The U.S. space shuttle development was a comedy of errors with heavy political interference and standard NASA gross mismanagement. USAF mission requirements originally drove the complex Shuttle design, but the Air Force discerning the unfolding program disaster, wisely exited and returned to its older launch systems, abandoned its California Shuttle launch facility plans.

Neither NASA, USAF, nor the USSR got the shuttle system they wanted or needed(?).
Citizen taxpayers got the usual penalty.

We did get 135 flights out of it.

TMC,

"We did get 135 flights out of it"

+1

I watched quite a few of those flights take off (from Banana River once). Very impressive. The program failed it economic goals but actually passed it technical objectives. The predicted failure rate was a loss of vessel every 30-40 flights, Even with the Challenger and Columbia the over safety record exceeded expectations.

Overall, the Shuttle program reflected well on the United States. We dreamed it up, paid for it, built it, made it fly, and did rather well in bringing it back down intact.

Was it worth the cost? Hard to say.

It was probably a marginal program, but it certainly wasn't a failure. And it moved the state of the technological art forward.

"It was probably a marginal program, but it certainly wasn’t a failure. And it moved the state of the technological art forward."

The US Space Shuttle, whose 1st orbital flight was in April, 1981, was designed using mid 1970's technology.

Peter, "Was it worth the cost?" No. Even going by its marginal cost of about $450 million per launch it cost the shuttle about $18,400 to get a kilogram of payload into orbit. A proton rocket which can launch similar sized payloads into orbit costs about $5,000 a kilogram. The space shuttle's purpose was to lower the cost of getting into space and at that it was a complete failure.

"We did get 135 flights out of it."

Versus the 3,000 missions it was supposed to deliver.

The US Shuttle Program failed its original mission & economic goals by an extremely wide margin.

The khutspe of the many NASA apologists seems unbounded.

It's a cool idea but the engineering problems are just too difficult to be solved for a reasonable amount of money.

Then there is the weird evolution of NASA's asteroid mission. Originally, NASA was supposed to land astronauts on a near-earth asteroid. Now, apparently, a robot will remove a small piece of the asteroid, send it into lunar orbit and then a manned mission will be sent into lunar orbit to capture the piece of the asteroid. I don't know if this makes sense to anyone.

One problem is that we have become irrationally risk averse.

Unfortunately, we're so busy attending to imagined risks, we fail to notice the real ones in front of our noses.

"The U.S. space shuttle development was a comedy of errors with heavy political interference and standard NASA gross mismanagement."

You argue NASA grossly mismanaged the funding it got based on the robust space cargo and passenger business created by the US private sector generating high profits without government funding?

Silicon Valley and other billionaires have been willing to pay super high prices to get into space, but only the left over commie capital investment in space flight has provided it so far.

The US private sector has failed to deliver the cheapest cargo service to earth orbit until an Aussie got rich enough to pay billions to workers to build factories and do the engineering investment in reduced cost space cargo and passenger service. Inspired by US scifi and scared for the future of his grandkids.

I really don't understand your point.

What evidence is there for NASA gross mismanagement?

Compare and contrast NASA with the superior alternative.

Ooops, not aussie but refugee from apartheid South African

I CONCUR WITH MUCH OF WHAT YOU SAY AND I AMPLIFY THE GROSS MISMANAGEMENT COMMENT.. THE REPORT CHAIRED BY THE ADMIRAL IN 2003-4 WAS A BLISTERING INDICTMENT OF NASA AND THEIR BYZANTINE RELATIONSHIPS WITH CONTRACTORS.. I CANNOT BEAR TO READ THE REPORT IN ITS ENTIRETY BUT I WOULD BE SAFE BETTING THAT THERE WERE INSTANCES WHERE GROSS MISMANAGEMENT ROSE TO THE LEVEL OF CRIMINAL NEGLIGENCE. I CANNOT REMEMBER THE NAME OF THE REPORT BUT WIKIPEDIA HAS A LINK TO IT FOR THE 2003 CATASTROPHE.

Meanwhile here's how Ufa prepared for the Brics summit, not exactly with bricks. Potyomkin would be proud.

http://varlamov.ru/1393217.html

Great link. I was born in Ufa and this is very interesting, and obviously a bit depressing.

Why haven't the Chinese obtained this for their own purposes? They like to purchase Russian military hardware and copy it, just like everything else. Their aircraft carrier is an old Soviet model, for example.

The Buran is slightly used, having actually made a round trip to orbit and back to Earth.

And more than slightly out of date. Besides, why would China care about the copy when they undoubtedly have plentiful information concerning the original - including the number lost in service.

Aircraft carriers do a pretty good job; spaceplanes don't.

When China decided they wanted a space program, they wisely based their spacecraft on Soyuz.

There is no more reason for spacecraft to look like airplanes than there is for airplanes to look like boats.

Shuttles aren't spacecraft. They are designed to be shuttles, hence the name. The point is to economically carry cargo from earth to orbit (which they were poorly designed for) and to return with crews, used hardware and trash (which they were well designed for). Their mission was to deliver cargo to actual space craft, space stations and to place small spacecraft into low orbit. Generally, the small spacecraft were satellites of various sorts and they moved into higher orbits using their own thrusters.

It turned out that it's more economical to use a rocket that is well designed for earth to orbit and poorly designed for orbit to earth than the shuttles reverse approach.

Why do we bring back trash? Is it harder to eject it out into space? Or keep it permanently tethered to the ISS. Or do something destructive with it out there?

Because "trash" then becomes projectiles in space traveling at extreme speeds, which can cause damage to other spacecraft.

There's little point in "bringing back" trash, intact, to a soft landing. Trash of most kinds is best de-orbited into the middle of the Pacific. You know, unless we're talking about plutonium here...although we've dropped a bit of that into the depths of the ocean, too. Anyway, it's nothing you need big fragile wings and landing gear to accomplish.

What's the probability? How many craft do we launch? What if we shred it before we release it?

Alternatively, can't we give trash just enough of a nudge to self destruct by spiraling inwards or slip off into outer space? Or is the impulse needed for that more expensive than carting trash back to earth?

Shred? Nope. In 1983, a 0.2 mm paint chip hit a window on the Space Shuttle creating a 4 mm crater. Any conceivable shredder would simply increase the number of dangerous particles.

http://ccar.colorado.edu/asen5050/projects/projects_2003/slane/history.html

Space junk has been recognized as a growing menace to satellites and manned spacecraft for years. For a fictional version, simply watch the movie "Gravity".

We should have abandoned earlier, before losing two crews

It is somewhat ironic that we as a society let two crews affect us so much. By any utilitarian calculus of human life, the loss was an insignificant fraction of the budget.

Even by non-utilitarian metrics we lose that many human lives in other pursuits (e.g. war) quite willingly. Even in peacetime pursuits like mining, shipping, mountaineering etc. we fret over such losses yet life goes on & no one calls for abandoning the ventures.

Is it an irrational calculation that makes us pay such exaggerated importance to the loss of two crews?

Rahul, NASA lost two shuttles. That's the issue, right there. Nasa's not an airline, where the insurance pays out & the airline orders another 777. The factors influencing the cancellation of the Shuttle program include capital expenditures, operational costs, legacy technology and political expediency. The original Shuttle program - had it received appropriate funding - would have been a far more capable launch system. Working to a reduced budget resulted in significantly reduced ability and these limitations dogged the Shuttle throughout its life, and came to haunt NASA mgmt. True, the tragedy of the lost lives was politically unacceptable, as well as the likely potential for further future losses. It was this, combined with the continuing costs of operating a smaller fleet of aging shuttles (70's tech) made the cancellation decision an obvious choice. That hasn't stopped the American space program, BTW, just resulted in delays and a change in direction, somewhat.

My point was beyond this specific example. e.g. Take the worries about radiation exposure during a manned Mars mission and cancer risks or whatever. In general, we seem too concerned about lost lives.

Let's stop commercial fishing. It is always far and away the no. 1 most dangerous occupation.

It is surprising to me that more of the site wasn't salvaged by scavengers.

There's a fence around the space center.

Fences work.

Depends on their scrap value.

This reminds me of my visits to the Space Museum (in the Moscow V.D.N.Kh) in Soviet and early post-soviet days. The difference was very affecting. Before, this was the show-piece of Soviet technological propaganda before; after, the satellites were shoved into the far end under a larger than life Yuri Gregarin, covered with a very thick layer of dust. A shopping mall (more or less) was being built inside the building.

Imagine the Smithsonian like that.

https://www.google.com/maps/views/view/104231631968849598184/gphoto/5797640862342031186?gl=us

Just to clear some things up, this isn't something "discovered" by the photographer. Everyone has known it was there.

This isn't "the" Buran space shuttle. It's an engineering test vehicle used for testing loading and fueling techniques. The hangar its in was the original Energia program hangar, but since that project was canceled, the hangar has remained unused.

The original Buran space shuttle, i.e. the one that actually flew into space once, was destroyed in 2002. There's 2 more Buran shuttles which are not fully complete, but are still around (one is in Baikonur, and one is at a museum). There are also several other engineering test vehicles around too; several being in museums including one in a museum in Germany.

Similarly, the US space shuttle program had 5 engineering test vehicles. The ones in display in Alabama and NYC aren't real shuttles, but engineering test vehicles.

It's not at an abandoned site. It's in Baikonur, which is the Russian's space center. There are unused empty buildings at Cape Canaveral too, left over from older space programs.

PS: Correction. There are 2 vehicles inside that hangar. One is an engineering test vehicle, the other is the actual second Buran shuttle which was never fully completed.

As to the cancellation of the US space shuttle program: the shuttle program wasn't canceled because of the loss of 2 crews, or risk. It was cancelled because it is not economical.

At the time the US shuttle program was created, conventional rocket technology didn't exist, or was too expensive, to launch the sizes of cargo envisioned for the shuttle. However, conventional rocket technology become capable of doing what the shuttle did, for much less cost eventually. Furthermore, the cargo need envisioned for the shuttle didn't materialize. So it made no sense to send half-empty shuttles into LEO, when much smaller and cheaper rockets could do it with no need for human crew.

As for private space programs...people forget that SpaceX is not the only, or the first, or even the most successful private venture. Not by far. Most of the US space cargo is delivered, and has been for many years, by another private space company: United Launch Alliance https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Launch_Alliance

Private space companies did in fact kill the shuttle. ULA did.

AIG July 4, 2015 at 5:18 pm

At the time the US shuttle program was created, conventional rocket technology didn’t exist, or was too expensive, to launch the sizes of cargo envisioned for the shuttle.

Space Shuttle first flew in 1982. It was capable of putting about 24 tonnes into Low Earth Orbit. Saturn V first flew in 1967. It was capable of putting 118 tonnes into LEO. As it turned out, the Space Shuttle is not cheaper either. They promised it would be, but it hasn't worked out that way:

https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Comparison_of_orbital_launch_systems&oldid=590182048

Private space companies did in fact kill the shuttle. ULA did.

ULA is a bloated, corrupt, cartel that is bleeding tax payers. They ought to be tried and shot to encourage others. ULA has not killed anything. The Shuttle was a dog from the start. Although SpaceX does seem to be having a good effect on ULA:

In October 2014, ULA announced a major restructuring of processes and workforce in order to decrease launch costs by half. One of the reasons given for the restructuring and new cost reduction goals was competition from SpaceX. .... In May 2015, ULA announced it would decrease its executive ranks by 30 percent in December 2015, with the layoff of 12 executives.

SpaceX is hardly working and yet suddenly ULA decides it can cut the cost of a launch by half? And its senior management by a third? What a surprise. As I said, a bloated, corrupt cartel.

1) Comparing Saturn V with Space Shuttle isn't very useful. I said that at the time of the shuttle, existing rocket technology either didn't exist or was too expensive to do that work. The Saturn V example shows this. But by the 90s, existing rocket technology could do what the shuttle could, cheaper. Hence.

2) Yes, ULA is expensive. But it's still cheaper than the shuttle. Hence. SpaceX jumping into the game only creates more competition, which drives down prices. No argument there. My argument was simply that ULA could do what the shuttle could cheaper, and hence the shuttle no longer served a function.

Useful is an interesting concept. It depends on what you mean by useful. In this case Saturn V existed before the Shuttle and it was a cheaper means of getting into orbit.

ULA is not cheaper than the Shuttle. Proton is. ULA may be able to do what the Shuttle could but they have shown no sign of it so far. They continue to be significantly more expensive than the Shuttle. Nor have they actually advanced the field of rocket science one bit. They are using rockets from when Von Braun was still designing them. There has been no change in ULA's rockets since the 1990s except the occasional use of a Russian engine.

Huh? Cheaper? Satrun V cost $1 billion per launch in comparable dollars. A shuttle launch cost $450 million in 2011. it was twice as expensive.

ULA is much cheaper because of the reasons I outlined below: cost per launch. Cost per kg is irrelevant, since the Shuttle never gets enough of a cargo to fill it to capacity.

It's like sending saying that per kg, a truck is cheaper than a van. Yes, but if I only have a letter to send, sending an empty truck with a letter is more expensive then sending a van with a letter.

Why do they have to "advance the field of rocket science one bit"? Rocket science hasn't evolved much, from anyone, anyway. Some things don't evolve very fast. If ULA technology is 1990s, Space Shuttle technology was from the 1960s.

AIG July 4, 2015 at 8:36 pm

A Saturn V launched over four times as much as the Shuttle so of course it was much cheaper per kilogram.

ULA is not cheaper per kilogram. It is not even close to being as cheap to comparable launchers from the former Soviet Union. They did not drive the Shuttle out of business. The Shuttle always was a dog.

No one would launch a half-empty mission if they could avoid it. They would wait until they had enough smaller payloads. But even so. The solution was not to give launches to ULA which is a bloated and corrupt cartel. We would be better off doing deals with Ukraine.

They don't have to. It would be better in many ways if they did not. But simply launching a proven design does not give them what they want - endless work for designers and managers of designers. So they have to re-design, re-design, re-design. The Russians don't.

We should have a law preventing ULA and anyone associated with them ever getting another government contract ever again. That would be a first good step to cost-effective space launches.

A Saturn V wasn't cheaper than a shuttle. It was more than twice as expensive. Period.

It didn't launch 4 times more than a Shuttle. It launched a tiny manned capsule to the moon. The weight it had to carry up to LEO is the weight of the fuel. Saturn V was never designed to go to LEO. It was designed to go the moon.

Again, the shuttle is almost always launched way below its carrying capacity. Hence why it costs $450 million per launch vs $125 million for an Atlas V. Period. Cost/kg is irrelevant if you're never utilizing the full capacity. I.e., there's "fixed costs" to a launch. And the shuttle's "fixed costs" were way higher.

Ukraine doesn't have any launchers capable of doing what the ULA launchers are capable of doing.

I'm starting to suspect you're just throwing around nonsense for no reason. Starting.. ;)

AIG July 5, 2015 at 2:00 am

A Saturn V wasn’t cheaper than a shuttle. It was more than twice as expensive. Period.

And yet it put four times as much into LEO. Making it cheaper per pound put into orbit. As long as you could find payloads of course. Virtually everyone in the space community knows the Big Dumb Booster was the sensible choice. Everything else has not worked out.

It didn’t launch 4 times more than a Shuttle. It launched a tiny manned capsule to the moon. The weight it had to carry up to LEO is the weight of the fuel. Saturn V was never designed to go to LEO. It was designed to go the moon.

I admire talking to someone who does not know what they are talking about and yet is so willing to confidently display their knowledge on the internet. Saturn V had three stages. Obviously to go to the Moon it had to go first to LEO. There is no design issue with taking one of the stages off, turning it into useful payload, like, say, Skylab, and then launching it into LEO. You do understand that not all the stages from Saturn V went to the Moon, right?

Again, the shuttle is almost always launched way below its carrying capacity.

It was a bad design from the start.

Ukraine doesn’t have any launchers capable of doing what the ULA launchers are capable of doing.

If you define what the ULA launchers are doing as "cheating the American tax payers and providing jobs for useless bureaucrats" I think you do the Ukrainians an injustice. They can learn to do that too. But they do have the Dnepr which will put just under 4 tonnes into orbit for $14 million - for less than a quarter of what ULA charges. They also have the Tsyklon family which can put 5.5 tonnes into LEO. Above all they have the Zenit which is a hang over from the Soviet days. Which puts more into orbit than anything ULA has for about $100 million - half the price.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zenit-2M

But it is not hard to beat ULA when even the junk the EU makes is cheaper.

So do you really want to continue with this because I am starting to get mildly annoyed? I don't mind people disagreeing with me, but people who disagree with me, are ignorant of which they are so quick to disagree with me about and are rude about it, kind of motivate me in ways that are not very nice.

AIG July 4, 2015 at 5:18 pm

Private space companies did in fact kill the shuttle. ULA did.

To return to this page once more:

https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Comparison_of_orbital_launch_systems&oldid=590182048

ULA offers several rockets. Two versions of the Atlas rocket for instance. They charge $13,812 per kilogram to LEO. The Atlas has been flying since 1957. The Atlas V version uses a Russian engine on the first stage because, you know, it is not as if Americans can design rocket engines or anything. They also offer a version of the Delta rocket. That also costs roughly $13,000. The Delta first flew in 1960 but this model, the Delta IV, first flew in 2002.

The Space Shuttle put pay loads up for just over $10,000 a kilo. Saturn V did so for just under $10,000. The Russians can do it for between $4-7,000. So can the Ukrainians and the Indians.

Only the Europeans and the Japanese pay more for launches. But that is because their launches are actually part of their ICBM programs.

It takes real genius to take a piece of engineering that is 65 years old, with no significant development costs left to pay off, and still produce something that costs more than the Space Shuttle. Especially if your engines are so bad that you have to buy them from the Russians.

By the way, I notice someone has deleted the comparative cost column from that Wikipedia table. I had to link to an older version. I guess ULA employs some PR people.

No. Because of scale.

I.e., the shuttle's bay is so large, it never gets filled to capacity. Those costs are if you utilized the maximum launch weight to LEO, which the shuttle never reaches. A smaller rocket which can be filled to capacity, ends up being cheaper, in it's total cost.

Look at the TOTAL COST per launch. An Atlas V is $125 million per launch. A space shuttle was reaching $450 million by 2011. If you only have a small satellite to launch, which won't even fill 1/3 of the shuttle's capacity, why send up a $450 million shuttle instead of a $125 million Atlas V?

The actual launch costs are even less in favor of the space shuttle when considering that the space shuttle was pretty much limited to LEO, while many of these rockets can launch to higher altitudes.

The rockets aren't "65 year old technology". They simply share the same names as older platforms. The name doesn't imply it's the same thing.

They buy Russian engines because they are...cheap and available. They are surplus unused engines. So why not buy cheap ones?

The Russians get cheaper launch costs for two reasons:
1) Reliability is questionable. So there's more risk.

2) Scale. Rockets get cheaper per launch the more you launch. The Soviets produced WAY more rockets than the US did, so per vehicle, it ends up being cheaper. It's basic economies of scale.

AIG July 4, 2015 at 8:33 pm

A smaller rocket which can be filled to capacity, ends up being cheaper, in it’s total cost.

It can do. In which case Proton and any number of Russian rockets are cheaper. For that matter, there are Arianne rockets about the same size as Atlas and Delta and are still cheaper. When the French manage to produce a multinational piece of crap that is cheaper than the best the US can do, you know that ULA is a disaster.

The rockets aren’t “65 year old technology”. They simply share the same names as older platforms. The name doesn’t imply it’s the same thing.

That is one of the more unusual claims of the day. No, they do not just share the same name. They are fundamentally the same rocket with some upgrades.

They buy Russian engines because they are…cheap and available. They are surplus unused engines. So why not buy cheap ones?

Cheap and better. American engine producers would not allow it unless they really had nothing comparable.

Rockets get cheaper per launch the more you launch. The Soviets produced WAY more rockets than the US did, so per vehicle, it ends up being cheaper. It’s basic economies of scale

Because they got a design that worked and stuck with it. Notice that all this technology existed a long time before the Shuttle. We are not talking about any sort of break through. The Soviets took 50s technology and made it work. The US designers want to design so they design new things all the time. Which tend not to work well the first few times. And which turn out to be more expensive by a long shot.

It's amazing how not a single word of that is true.

First, you need to understand that rockets are designed for a particular purpose. That purpose isn't always "lowest cost per kg to LEO". You know...some payloads need to go a bit higher than LEO. So that's a pointless metric. The metric of interest depends on the mission its best suited for.

Second, you really don't seem to understand economies of scale.

Third, so first you say the US rockets are just the same thing since forever...then you say that they keep coming up with new designs for no reason. Then you say the Soviets have stuck with the same thing for 50 years. None of that is true in the least bit.

Go look at Proton rockets, how many DECADES it took the Soviets to get the thing to work...after how many DOZENS of failures.

AIG July 5, 2015 at 2:14 am

It’s amazing how not a single word of that is true.

I strongly recommend that when you are about to have your butt kicked all over the internet, you keep a generally polite tone. That way you don't look such a fool.

Not a word of that is wrong.

First, you need to understand that rockets are designed for a particular purpose. That purpose isn’t always “lowest cost per kg to LEO”. You know…some payloads need to go a bit higher than LEO. So that’s a pointless metric. The metric of interest depends on the mission its best suited for.

I am sorry but do you know anything about putting stuff into orbit? Rockets are not designed for just one orbit. Anything that can put a man on the moon, for instance, could also put something into LEO. Like Skylab.

It is not a pointless metric. The hard part is getting something into LEO. Everything from there is just mathematical calculation. Once we know how much it costs to get in to LEO, we know how much more it will cost to go anywhere else.

Second, you really don’t seem to understand economies of scale.

Given the point of the Soviet success was that they built many rockets, I find this amusing.

Third, so first you say the US rockets are just the same thing since forever…then you say that they keep coming up with new designs for no reason. Then you say the Soviets have stuck with the same thing for 50 years. None of that is true in the least bit.

There is no contradiction at all. They need to keep fiddling. That is why they need to redesign everything. Because the purpose is not putting stuff into orbit but providing jobs for bureaucrats. That is why the Airforce spends so much time doing the same thing. As does the Army.

Go look at Proton rockets, how many DECADES it took the Soviets to get the thing to work…after how many DOZENS of failures.

Which is interesting but irrelevant.

"The Soviets took 50s technology and made it work. The US designers want to design so they design new things all the time."

Yeah, right. Soviets stuck with 50's technology during race to the moon, that's why they came up with such a magnificent failure as N-1.
You should also mention that Proton and it's booster stages were modified a few times and are the only option for heavy lifting because Angara rocket family has been stuck in development hell for decades.
Three advantages that Russian space agency has is cheap labor, decent engines left over from Soviet Union and the fact that no one gives a damn when Kazakhs are getting sprayed by heptyl after another launch failure.

Comments for this post are closed