Russia blames scientists for rocket crashes

Oct 18, 2011
A Russian Progress-M-12M cargo ship carrying supplies for the International Space Station (ISS) blasts off from the launch pad at the Baikonour cosmodrome in August 2011. Russia's chief prosecutor on Tuesday blamed a recent spate of disasters threatening the future of the International Space Station (ISS) on negligence by the country's underpaid rocket scientists.

Russia's chief prosecutor on Tuesday blamed a recent spate of disasters threatening the future of the International Space Station (ISS) on negligence by the country's underpaid rocket scientists.

A probe into the August 24 crash of the unmanned Progress cargo ship and an August 18 error that put Russia's biggest satellite in the wrong orbit blamed both mishaps on the state-run Roskosmos space agency and its workers.

The decision said the Prosecutor General's office would be pressing for disciplinary measures and fines against "those who caused the accidents" and singled out the agency's executive for separate blame.

The prosecutor's statement pointed to "a lack of proper control on the part of Roskosmos officials over the adoption of corresponding decisions."

The once-vaunted was already rocked by a reshuffle in April when its chief Anatoly Perminov got the sack during celebrations for the 50th anniversary year of Yuri Gagarin's first .

Roskosmos has acknowledged the criticism but complains of being underfunded and unable to compete for top talent with Western firms that draw the young away from its Soviet-era institutions with spartan conditions.

Perminov's dismissal followed Russia's loss of three navigation satellites that the prime minister and likely future president has promoted as a rival to the US-made (GPS).

Roskosmos has since been forced to temporarily ground its main rockets -- the longer-range Soyuz and the lucrative Proton-M -- and left question marks hanging over Russia's ability to safely deliver humans to space.

The US space agency NASA had been mulling the option of leaving the space station abandoned for the first time in 10 years should Roskosmos fail to solve problems with its Soyuz carrier rocket by mid-November.

The abandoned US space shuttle programme and and the failure of both private and Western state firms to step in thus far has left Russia as the only nation capable of ferrying ISS replacement crews.

Roskosmos on October 3 successfully test-launched a Soyuz model and has since scheduled the next crew to the ISS for November 14.

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User comments : 16

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SincerelyTwo
4 / 5 (1) Oct 18, 2011
Poor timing across the board, at least when commercial space flight takes off it will _really_ take off. :)

Until then this critical point will be exploited politically, in effect only further dramatizing just about everything.
LVT
1 / 5 (4) Oct 18, 2011
Oh Dear ~The USSRs and USA's soviet-style bureaucrat managed spaceflight have basically come to an end.
omatumr
Oct 18, 2011
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
acespaceman
not rated yet Oct 18, 2011
Hey, No, it's HR's fault! I actually applied for that position, but HR never called me back. I graduated with my degree in aerospace engineering, 2nd in my class, and still delivering pizza's 4yrs later! I'm not the only one, I'm still delivering to my class mates who are unemployed. I actually have two jobs, I work at walmart too
kaasinees
1 / 5 (1) Oct 18, 2011
Hey, No, it's HR's fault! I actually applied for that position, but HR never called me back. I graduated with my degree in aerospace engineering, 2nd in my class, and still delivering pizza's 4yrs later! I'm not the only one, I'm still delivering to my class mates who are unemployed. I actually have two jobs, I work at walmart too

old farts dont wanna hire young ppls.
acespaceman
not rated yet Oct 18, 2011
But all my friend are old farts! Oh no what to do? Child hood dreams down the shoot. I guess I'll just have to build my spacecraft with my own bare hands.
Vendicar_Decarian
2 / 5 (4) Oct 18, 2011
"The USSRs and USA's soviet-style bureaucrat managed spaceflight have basically come to an end." - LVTard

Certainly America has come to an end. But the Russian space program is doing quite well. China too.

Have you been a Tard all your life LVTard? Or did you just wake up one morning and decide to be a fool?

jsdarkdestruction
not rated yet Oct 19, 2011
how do your unemployed mates pay for their pizzas?
acespaceman
not rated yet Oct 19, 2011
Probably the same way I did, plastic. Thinking that I'll get a job soon, but now I'm massive debt. As we all are. We're going to have learn to package ourselves and produce our own jobs/product, networking worldwide.
acespaceman
not rated yet Oct 19, 2011
What ever happend to the space elevator? Can't we grow carbon nanotubes long enough yet? I thought technology was almost there? Projections were like 2012, back in 2007, but then again projections for manned mars mission was 2007, back in the 90's. There's still hope for me to get to mars.
acespaceman
not rated yet Oct 19, 2011
Thats it, i'm going to start putting on my cover letter: Will design spaceships for pizza and beer.
jsdarkdestruction
not rated yet Oct 19, 2011
lol, on a serious note i feel for you man. if i could do anything to help you get a bettr job in your field i would. keep reaching for the moon....errr, mars.
Nerdyguy
not rated yet Oct 22, 2011
Oh Dear ~The USSRs and USA's soviet-style bureaucrat managed spaceflight have basically come to an end.


Baseless and unfounded. Both agencies continue to grow. NASA, which I'm more familiar with, has averaged a small but continuous budget increase year over year as a percentage of the federal budget and is projected to continue to do so on a perpetual basis in the near term.

I'm basically a cheerleader for the continued privatization of human spaceflight efforts. But NASA should and likely will focus on its core competency of research and development.
Jotaf
4 / 5 (1) Oct 23, 2011
I don't know about aerospace engineering, but if it's anything like my research institute, scientists are paid less than secretaries, and quantity is preferred over quality. About 10% of the scientists do 100% of the relevant science work, and the rest are just leeches.

The problem is that the people in charge simply have NO ability, or desire, to actually select based on criteria of excellence. They go by completely irrelevant measures like number of publications or awards.

An award may have a pompous name but be meaningless because it's at a crappy venue. While people who compete in top journals/conferences don't have as many of those to show, because the bar is immensely higher.

If you had half the scientists at twice the salary, you'd get much better quality at the same cost. The problem is, management is clueless and doesn't know which half to drop.
Pirouette
2 / 5 (4) Oct 24, 2011
I figured something like this would happen and the astronaut personnel aboard the ISS just might not be able to get home because of some sort of glitch in the Russky space program to ferry the crew back and forth. I think it was a monumental mistake for NASA to retire ALL of the space shuttles and not leave at least one shuttle on call for just such an emergency if the Russians were unable somehow to do the job and we had to rescue the crew. What short-sightedness for an American space agency. I certainly hope the Russians don't mess up in November or that crew on the ISS will be getting mighty nervous.
Nerdyguy
not rated yet Oct 24, 2011
"...a monumental mistake for NASA to retire ALL of the space shuttles..." - Pirouette

So true. Sort of like mass insanity. That said, it wasn't really NASA per se. It was the Administration. And the one before it, and the one before that. Add in the fools in the Congress. I've not taken a poll, but I suspect the sentiment at NASA would run about 95% in favor of the agency having some sort of actual human launch/rescue capacity.
Pirouette
1 / 5 (1) Oct 24, 2011
Absolutely. . .heck, even Virgin Galactic isn't equipped for docking with the ISS, and their low orbit planes/rockets have plenty of seats. Endeavour is still at Canaveral, so that should be the one on call. It shouldn't take too long to fit her with all necessary equipment needed for the trip, in case the Russians fail. And I DON"T like the idea of abandoning the ISS and leaving her crewless. She carries isotopes that, if they fall to Earth with the ISS, could possibly spread radioactivity wherever it lands. Not certain, but I think that Curiosity will be carrying the same on the trip to Mars.