For those who have wondered how India managed to squeak into the small club of nations routinely launching rockets into orbit, this summary is pretty good. Although I’m applying “routinely” to mean just launching rockets into space annually. The Indians definitely slowed down on the number of launches they’ve conducted this year.
A classic case of “fake it until you fake it?”
Off the top of the head: the U.S., China, Russia, Japan, India, Singapore, Venezuela, Germany, France, Canada, and Scotland. Those are a few of the nations I’d consider to be closer to the top than Iran. There are more private companies manufacturing and operating satellites than the nation of Iran. There are private companies launching more rockets to space, successfully, than the very paltry launch rate of 1 every two to three years that Iran conducts, including the occasional failure.
That launch rate also indicates just how many indigenous satellites the nation has launched. So, not many at all.
Other nations in the Middle East are on more serious space tracks, educating their kids no matter the gender to become those nations’ space pioneers. It will be wonderful to see those nations take first steps, and more, to use and explore space.
But Iran’s current government is a Cold War creation, and it’s focus is not space exploration. Iran’s space prowess needs work, big time, for this kind of chest-thumping to not be laughable.
Just as the headline says–the wool will be used for a filter on the Orion spacecraft.
I mean–c’mon! What the Russian launch failure proves is there is STILL a problem within the Russian space industry. Almost every single Soyuz failure in the past five-six years, crewed or otherwise, has been due to errors in manufacturing, programming, etc. More importantly, though, it also proved the emergency system worked for this Soyuz-FG launch.
By the way, as far as I know, China still has the ability to get people to orbit. Somehow one of the most active space nations on the planet was forgotten in the heat of this op-ed. But maybe they aren’t the right…ideology?
Back to the point of this slightly ranty list of observations.
The Space Launch System (SLS) would be overkill for crewed missions to the International Space Station. The Soyuz-FG is proof of that, in spite of the failure. The mass lift capability of that rocket is very low when compared to quite a few other space launch systems. Trotting out worst-case scenarios of SpaceX or Boeing launch failures for crewed missions doesn’t mean SLS would be immune to that kind of sad problem (although that’s ignored in this op-ed).
In fact, SLS may be more prone to these kinds of challenges, because the advertised launch rate of SLS is supposed to be 1 to 2, maybe 3, per year. That’s not much experience in launching people into space, while SpaceX and Boeing will probably have launch rates significantly higher, and cheaper. The SLS isn’t even competitive. It wasn’t designed to be competitive.
The Challenger accident was not a wake-up call for relying on a single launch system for all space activities. Maybe it was for certain agency-types and political creatures, but not for those living in the real world. Others were already very wary of relying on a relatively new launch system to get missions into orbit. Those same people made sure U.S. satellites could still be launched in the months immediately after the January 1986 shuttle disaster. They did it with other systems while the U.S. manned program was subjected to a bit of navel-gazing.
This list could go on, but frankly, The Hill’s op-ed is too target-rich. I wonder if the author’s book is any more accurate?
So, how does the Soyuz failure prove SLS is needed?