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Space United States Politics

Russia Bans US Use of Its Rocket Engines For Military Launches 522

schwit1 sends word that Russia will now ban U.S. military satellite launches using Russian-made rockets. According to Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, this is retaliation for U.S. sanctions on high-tech items, put in place because of the dispute in the Ukraine. Rogozin also threatened to block U.S. plans to keep using the International Space Station beyond its 2020 mission end date. That's not all: 'Rogozin also said Russia will suspend the operation of GPS satellite navigation system sites in Russia from June and seek talks with Washington on opening similar sites in the United States for Russia's own system, Glonass. He threatened the permanent closure of the GPS sites in Russia if that is not agreed by September.'
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Russia Bans US Use of Its Rocket Engines For Military Launches

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  • by Doug Otto ( 2821601 ) on Tuesday May 13, 2014 @01:05PM (#46991009)
    Ok kids, everyone under your desk.
    • by Stele ( 9443 ) on Tuesday May 13, 2014 @01:37PM (#46991429) Homepage

      Shouldn't we lie down, put a paper bag over our head or something?

    • Re:Duck and cover (Score:5, Informative)

      by TWX ( 665546 ) on Tuesday May 13, 2014 @01:58PM (#46991639)
      I used to make fun of duck-and-cover too. Then I looked at what it's actually designed to accomplish.

      You don't duck-and-cover to survive being within the atomic fireball, that would be stupid. You duck and cover because you may be close enough to the blast that debris may hit you. Obviously if the roof caves in then you're probably dead, but if the ceiling breaks free from the structural roof or the structural floor above you, having a physical barrier between you and the ceiling grid, or the light fixtures, or the sheetrock panels, or other building infrastructure may well save your life or reduce the injury that you'd sustain. Same logic holds true for blown-in glass from windows, blown-in nonstructural building facades, and anything else thrown by a blast. Look at the videos from that asteroid strike in Russia, where thousands of people were hurt by flying debris. Same principle would have applied. Also holds true for earthquake mitigation, put something solid and relatively unyielding between you and the loose stuff that will rain down on you.

      If you try to explain to the average person that there's a difference between ducking-and-covering right at ground-zero for a nuclear blast and five miles out, you're going to get no practical improvement in what people do. Just tell everyone to do it, and those that happen to be far enough to not be incinerated or irradiated might survive.
      • Re:Duck and cover (Score:5, Interesting)

        by MozeeToby ( 1163751 ) on Tuesday May 13, 2014 @02:29PM (#46991989)

        A large part of this is that people's instinct when they see the flash is to go to the window to see what it was. The flash and the shockwave can arrive anywhere from seconds to minutes apart, and people all gather round the windows to see what's going on.

      • Just tell everyone to do it, and those that happen to be far enough to not be incinerated or irradiated might survive.

        (And to those that aren't, it won't matter either way.)

      • Re:Duck and cover (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Sir Realist ( 1391555 ) on Tuesday May 13, 2014 @03:33PM (#46992739)

        I grew up in the middle of Silicon Valley - a major techno-industrial center wedged between a fairly major military base and two major population centers. As part of my Boy Scouts Disaster Preparedness merit badge, we had to explain our plan in case of a nuclear war being declared. I told them "kick back on the roof in a lounge chair and watch the mushroom clouds go up."

        There was a brief pause, and the instructor said "Fair enough."

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by roc97007 ( 608802 )

          That's one way to look at it. Personally, when the grim reaper comes for me, he'll have a fight on his hands. My family has a plan, and there are emergency supplies including medical, and food and water for three days in each vehicle, we have a direction, (away from city center) and a meeting place already arranged. In the case of an EMP we likely won't have transportation, but you can't plan for everything. I admit the plan works best in the case of a dirty nuclear device detonated in the heaviest popu

      • More importantly from the government's point of view, any training that reduces injuries, even non-life-threatening injuries like cuts from broken glass, also reduces load on responders.

      • Re:Duck and cover (Score:5, Interesting)

        by rasmusbr ( 2186518 ) on Tuesday May 13, 2014 @05:47PM (#46993971)

        Of course, in any realistic WW3 scenario all that this would accomplish in the end is a slightly larger food riot once the food runs out.

        Now in this day and age with slimmed down just in time delivery, the food would run out in less than 72 hours in all major metropolitan areas. The food you see on the shelves in your local food store is pretty much what's in store, plus whatever is in any trucks that manage to make it to the store.

        Come to think of it, I bet it would take less than a hundred nukes aimed at a carefully selected list of choke points in the transport infrastructure to doom everyone in North America to starvation. The same thing goes for Europe and (to some extent) Russia. Even a very limited nuclear war could probably be incredibly lethal if both sides were aiming to kill/incapacitate the other side's population.

    • Re:Duck and cover (Score:5, Informative)

      by 93 Escort Wagon ( 326346 ) on Tuesday May 13, 2014 @02:28PM (#46991981)

      I think we'd better learn the words to Waltzing Matilda and maybe keep the cyanide pills handy.

  • SpaceX (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 13, 2014 @01:05PM (#46991025)

    This might be one of the best things to happen for SpaceX.

    • Exactly what I was thinking... Even though the courts just vacated his case, this is the best next thing... Ultimately, Russia is completely fucked in this situation. Read my older posts regarding my position on this...
    • Re:SpaceX (Score:5, Insightful)

      by GameboyRMH ( 1153867 ) <gameboyrmh@NoSpam.gmail.com> on Tuesday May 13, 2014 @02:18PM (#46991869) Journal

      I'm sure they're all popping champagne bottles in the office right now.

      Also a good thing if you don't want to help fund Putin's wars of conquest.

  • by AaronLS ( 1804210 ) on Tuesday May 13, 2014 @01:06PM (#46991027)

    Wasn't it nice when at least space programs still worked together and were kind of outside the scope of international quarrels. Astronauts working together, at least to me, were a symbol of how we were still all civilized people who had a lot of common interests and could work together peacefully.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 13, 2014 @01:21PM (#46991235)

      http://www.spacenews.com/artic... [spacenews.com]

      Seems NASA started this over the month ago.

      If there is anything to know about Russians, is they do not like getting bullied. And before you say "OMG, Russian are bulling Ukraine!", this is not the first time east Ukraine and majority were told to take a hike by the so-called "westerners".

      Quick note: East Ukraine was Russia. West Ukraine was Poland. Borders were redrawn and now you have populations with different leanings. Imagine that!

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H... [wikipedia.org]

      • by losfromla ( 1294594 ) on Tuesday May 13, 2014 @01:53PM (#46991561)

        Uh, like other countries like to get bullied?
        98 lb guy doesn't like getting bullied? Tough shit, schedule him for a 2:45 wedgie.
        275 lb football player doesn't like getting bullied? ok, fine, take him off the schedule.
        Same with countries, that's why they all want the nukes, it's the nukes that make all the difference.

      • by Wookact ( 2804191 ) on Tuesday May 13, 2014 @01:58PM (#46991633)
        Your quick note left out quite a bit of information that is relevant. Mainly that the russian speaking ukranians were imported to Ukraine, and the originally ethnic groups were cleared out.

        Sure the majority of the people in eastern Ukraine might want to belong to Russia, but those people have only lived there since the 40s through the 70s for the most part. In which case I propose they just move back to Russia, and leave Ukraine to the ethnic groups that were cleared out.

        See : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R... [wikipedia.org]

        See Also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R... [wikipedia.org]

        In fact the Russians that moved in were hell bent on stamping out Ukranian cultrue.

        The first wave of purges between 1929 and 1934 targeted the revolutionary generation of the party that in Ukraine included many supporters of Ukrainization. Soviet authorities specifically targeted the commissar of education in Ukraine, Mykola Skrypnyk, for promoting Ukrainian language reforms that were seen as dangerous and counterrevolutionary; Skrypnyk committed suicide in 1933. The next 1936–1938 wave of political purges eliminated much of the new political generation that replaced those who perished in the first wave. Being accused of using the "Skrypnyk alphabet" – in other words, using Ukrainian Cyrillic letters instead of Russian ones – could lead to arrest or death

        • Sure the majority of the people in eastern Ukraine might want to belong to Russia, but those people have only lived there since the 40s through the 70s for the most part. In which case I propose they just move back to Russia, and leave Ukraine to the ethnic groups that were cleared out.

          The median age in the Ukraine is 40, meaning half of people were born during or after 1974 and thus have no home on the Russian side of the border. So you would have them pack up and find a new city for the convenience of certain people (Crimean Tatars I think you mean) that have been living outside the area for 60 years? I can't think of how that could possibly make you any better than Josef Stalin that kicked the Tatars out of their homes in WWII, maybe worse, since he at least had the excuse of alleged N

        • Hm, that's an interesting suggestion.

          Then what about people in US move back wherever they came from and leave the continent to the ethnic groups that were cleared out ?

    • Well the Snowden leaks messed up American Credibility.
      For the most part he leaked stuff that everyone knew that we were doing it anyways. But because of the leak it gave government politicians something tangible to grab on and scold the US for, and pressure public opinion away from the US.

      Russia is doing this too, with its citizens having proof of American bad guys, they can play to the paranoia that was already there, and use this to push their own objective. As America doesn't have a moral stance of thei

      • Except this latest spat is specifically about Crimea.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by BobMcD ( 601576 )

          Except this latest spat is specifically about Crimea.

          Now, now, let's be clear. This 'spat' is about Syria.

          1) US wants Syria taken down, appeals to world to do so.
          2) Russia blocks at every turn.
          3) US attempts end-run, attracting only France in the process, then backs out
          4) US deploys PsyOp to destabilize Ukraine, and 'spontaneous' protests break out.
          5) Now Russia has more pressing shit to deal with than Syria...

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      You do realize the space program(s) started out as competitors, right? The whole thing started as a result of this little "international quarrel" called the Cold War.

  • How does one suspend GPS? Russia doesn't control outer space above their country.

    ps - Elon Musk must be chuckling.

    • Re:suspend GPS? (Score:5, Informative)

      by bigpat ( 158134 ) on Tuesday May 13, 2014 @01:09PM (#46991063)
      I believe they are talking about ground stations that are physically located in Russia. My understanding is that since they are fixed points on the earth that they can be used to calibrate the GPS signals/clocks to be more accurate when they are passing over that area of the world.
      • Then Russia would just be hurting itself as the satellites around the rest of world will continue to function.

        • Re:suspend GPS? (Score:5, Interesting)

          by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) * <mojo@world3.nBLUEet minus berry> on Tuesday May 13, 2014 @01:24PM (#46991271) Homepage Journal

          Russia has its own system called Glonass. Most modern navigation devices support it because all the GPS modules implemented it when Russia decided to impose massive import duty on GPS only devices. They probably wouldn't be hurt by GPS because Glonass is adequate for civilian use and the military would never trust GPS to begin with.

          It won't just affect Russia either, it will affect nearby countries. If the GPS system can't be maintained with new satellites it will eventually degrade and fail, but presumably the US has a backup plan to keep it going with different launch vehicles. I imagine there will be some considerable cost involved though.

          • Re:suspend GPS? (Score:5, Informative)

            by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 13, 2014 @02:08PM (#46991743)

            A GNSS primer:

            GPS will still function fine. It's a cold war technology: it was designed with the understanding that Russia would try to thwart it, not maintain it. There is zero danger that it will "degrade and fail" without Russian support. Ground stations are useful because they are known positions which should be very constant moment-to-moment (though there can be inches of movement in the long term). That makes it good for calibrating out error. The sort of errors it's good for calibrating out are pretty much only notable at the cm level, if you are actually in Russia. Russians with GPS systems won't notice.

            GLONASS is the Russian program. It pretty much JUST covers Russia. It covers it well, making it good enough for civilian use. But then again, so is GPS, even without Russian ground stations. The notion of adding GLONASS ground sites in the U.S. is kind of meaningless. They could put up satellites that actually provide good coverage of the U.S., but I can't imagine any real tactical or economic advantage. It's saber-rattling aimed at people who don't know what they're talking about.

            Meanwhile GPS is long in the tooth. Planned errors are inserted into the signal to degrade performance if you don't have the "key" to correct for them... but any government who cared to have military-grade GPS has it, either through the black market in Israel, or basic reverse engineering and intelligence. As such, the U.S. actually offered the proverbial keys to it's allies (read: everyone, especially Europe), but Europeans decided that they could not stand to ride the U.S.'s coat tails. They want an independent, European-controlled GNSS system. (This is not imprudent, as the current NSA- and Ukraine-related tensions show.) This is when they started pouring more money into Galileo. This was originally envisaged as a 50/50 joint public/private venture, but no companies actually stepped up to take part in the expensive R&D effort of re-building something that already exists. It is now a (very underfunded and behind schedule) 80% public venture.

            Meanwhile, governments that may become unfriendly in the future -- like China, which always speaks of "when we invade Taiwan", never "IF we invade Taiwan" -- can't trust anything that the U.S. might shut off. Hence, they are building out their own system, BeiDou. The main focus of their "limited" version of the system was obviously South China Sea, but they supposedly plan a global build-out.

            • Re:suspend GPS? (Score:5, Informative)

              by JohnnyComeLately ( 725958 ) on Tuesday May 13, 2014 @02:37PM (#46992107) Homepage Journal
              As one of about 3 operators who turned it off in early 1990s, your information is a bit dated. The signal isn't degraded, but the mathmatical solution WAS. However, after the Russians shot down a civilian airliner (aren't Russians AWESOME!) President Reagan made the decision to turn it off, and it was implmented a few years later. We sent the "SA/AS = 0" (or turned it off) and "Bias=0" (or turned any bias amount to zero) commands around 1993. SA is Selective Availability. AS is Anti-Spoofing. Spoofing is the process where someone pretends to be GPS to throw your solution off, or they might jam to just outright deny usage. Your keys comment might also confuse as we (the US) can also encrypt GPS signals. Meaning AS turns on keys, SA turns on bias. They are mutually exclusive, as AS denies usage (aka, encryption) and SA denies precision (aka, dilution of precision).
            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              GLONASS is the Russian program. It pretty much JUST covers Russia

              My Nexus 4 in the UK regularly picks up Glonass GPS satellites. I guess I'm not that far from Russia...

          • Any payload launched with Atlas V can be launched with one of the Delta IV rockets. That was the whole purpose of the EELV program to begin with. The problem is a lot of payloads are dimensioned to fit in a Lockheed Martin Atlas V with Russian RD-180 engines and won't fit into anything smaller than the Boeing Delta IV Heavy with US RS-68 engines and the Delta IV Heavy costs... a lot.

        • Then Russia would just be hurting itself as the satellites around the rest of world will continue to function.

          IIRC, Russia has a law requiring all domestically produced/sold GPS devices to support GLONASS.
          Turning off the GPS ground stations wouldn't anything to limit Russian's use of GPS/GLONASS devices.
          Worst case scenario, it could limit precision for devices that actively use both satellites to derive the location.

    • It's not about suspending GPS. It's about land based sites. Some kind of signal boosters I suppose.

      • Re:suspend GPS? (Score:5, Informative)

        by dmgxmichael ( 1219692 ) on Tuesday May 13, 2014 @01:26PM (#46991299) Homepage

        GPS is normally only accurate to within a few yards, and when the system was opened up to civilian use in the late 90's the military put in a discrepancy to the civilian signals so that they'd be off by a few dozen yards.

        Then someone hit upon the idea of checking GPS against a known good reading.

        GPS base stations do this. They know where they are, exactly. They listen to the GPS satellites report of where the satellites think they are, then broadcast the margin of error out to nearby GPS receivers. As a result, the accuracy of the readings can be gotten exact down to a few feet.

        So successful was this that the military eventually discarded the idea of putting in an intentional margin of error for civilian signals.

    • by ChadL ( 880878 ) *
      They are talking about the GPS ground stations [gps.gov] that monitors the GPS signals (and is programed with its exact position and altitude) and determine what corrections, if any, need to be made to the GPS signals (so that what it knows to be its correct position is the same as what its GPS receiver is telling it)
      Russia wants similar ground stations set up in the US for their GLONASS system, which I think is fair (and good for users of navigation systems, if not for the US military which would like to be able to
      • Yes, but the link you provide also shows there are NO GPS monitoring stations in Russia. Ascension and Kwaj Islands, Diego Garcia, Colorado Springs, Hawaii, and Cape Canaveral. Ground Antennas are about 5 of those (drop Hawaii, Cape, and Colo Sprngs). Hence, none of the sites that affect GPS are Eastern Europe or Russia. Remember, GPS was originally built during Reagan's years, before the Cold War ended.
  • And I should have bought SpaceX stock last week.
    • Don't you wish you could... [forbes.com]

      • One of the primary reasons given is that space exploration (in particular the highly speculative Mars mission SpaceX continues to look into) are high risk long term ventures and they don't want to be beholden to investors to meet quarterly numbers. To which I say put it in the company bylaws, mission statement, and investment prospectus and let the investors decide. I would love the chance to invest in a high risk, high reward, long term thinking company. There are so incredibly few of them out there, it

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by nitehawk214 ( 222219 )

          Presumably Elon wants to build rockets, not have another company owned by Wall Street where profit is all that matters. You can put it in the bylaws all you want, but the first time the CEO makes a decision for the long term health of the company rather than short term profits, the major shareholder will get together and sue him out of existence.

  • by ilsaloving ( 1534307 ) on Tuesday May 13, 2014 @01:12PM (#46991117)

    All HTTP connections to US websites will be redirected to a youtube video of Putin striking manly poses while riding on top of a grizzly bear.

  • Do a quick bunch of mealy mouthed video bites proclaiming solidarity and further cooperation to, well, study the situation.

    I have no faith in our leaders here in the US or in the EU to stop Putin.

    • by pla ( 258480 )
      I have no faith in our leaders here in the US or in the EU to stop Putin.

      Stop him from doing what, exactly?

      So far, we have a bunch of former Soviet satellites holding referendums on independence. Pooty hasn't actually "done" anything yet.

      This makes the US and EU situation particularly laughable - Whether or not Crimea really wants to join Russia or not, we have imposed sanctions against private individuals because unrelated third parties held protest-votes that make the UN look bad. And the closest
      • And the closest we can come to even calling those votes/referendums illegal, they violate the will of a group of thugs who overthrew the legitimate, democratically elected Ukraine government a few months ago.

        Ukraine's "democratically elected" government was hardly overthrown: the composition of the Rada remains the same as it was before the trouble started. Svoboda, for example, was already in parliament under Yanukovych. All that changed was that Yanukovych fled, and then most of the the members of his Pa

    • by horza ( 87255 )

      The US needs to stop Putin, and the space front rather than Ukraine is the perfect place to start. The EU is hopelessly hooked on Russian gas and scared silly of Putin, so don't expect any help there. The first space race took us (using 'us' in the human race sense) to the moon, and very little since. Maybe the next one will take us to Mars?

      As an aside, 'our leaders' needs to include the people. Shifting off Russian oil and gas will be painful financially, and economies that are only just getting back on th

  • by ArcadeNut ( 85398 ) on Tuesday May 13, 2014 @01:17PM (#46991181) Homepage

    We need to bring back the NASA programs and other things that are vital to national security in house rather then outsourcing to the lowest bidders...

  • by areusche ( 1297613 ) on Tuesday May 13, 2014 @01:21PM (#46991231)

    This is exactly why comparative advantage is complete BS. When you let another foreign entity control your means of whatever it may be (rocketd, iPhones, car parts, tools, etc etc) you lose that ability to utilize it when the political poo hits the fan.

    Watch the space shuttle program make a dramatic re-appearance. This is a massive national security issue that I bet no one brought up when they decided, "Gee, lets go and outsource our rockets and launches to a foreign power we've had cold relations with since the early 20th century."

    This is what happens when people look solely at the bottom line. It gets a little hard to project your power into a region when that same region makes most of your equipment (I'm looking at you China!).

    • by jader3rd ( 2222716 ) on Tuesday May 13, 2014 @01:27PM (#46991321)

      This is exactly why comparative advantage is complete BS. When you let another foreign entity control your means of whatever it may be (rocketd, iPhones, car parts, tools, etc etc) you lose that ability to utilize it when the political poo hits the fan.

      I disagree. It's quite possible that this decision wasn't made lightly. I'm sure there are some Russian businesses which are being hurt by this. When countries trade with each other, and become dependent upon each other, there's a higher motivation not to go to war with each other or let political poo hit fans. While trade dependency is a strategy that kind of hurts when war breaks out, it decreases the likelihood of that war actually breaking out.

      I think that policies should be optimized for day to day living during peacetime, not war.

      • Good point, I should have included that the US needs to stop antagonizing Russia and China. If our leaders want to play global bully then they need to understand that there's two sides of this coin. You can't project hegemonic power without a solid base to stand on. Putin said it best, "Everything in the world is interdependent and once you try to punish someone, in the end you will cut off your nose to spite your face.

        • the US needs to stop antagonizing Russia and China. If our leaders want to play global bully

          It's worth pointing out that many of the countries bordering Russia and China desperately want to be our friends right now, because they're worried about their local bullies. Many of these countries have been on the receiving end of Russian or Chinese imperialism in the past, and are anxious not to be come satellite states. Even Vietnam, which as as much reason to hate the US as just about anyone, is on increasingl

      • by Delwin ( 599872 )
        Not the shuttle but the SLS. It's already being tested. Also SpaceX will likely get its human rating a lot faster than it would have otherwise.
      • You may want to look into WW I. Apparently in constant-dollar terms the world has NEVER regained pre-WW I prosperity and all the warring countries were as linked as could be.
    • The Shuttle program was ended because the shuttles were no longer safe to fly. They are not coming back.

    • Why space shuttles?

      They were a magnificent achievement for the '70s, but they were never a cost-effective means of delivering payloads into orbit.

  • by guacamole ( 24270 ) on Tuesday May 13, 2014 @01:25PM (#46991277)

    The sanctions and bans clearly will not work to defuse the Ukraine crisis. The Russian public has bought into Putin's nationalist rhetoric. Putin completely controls the political discourse in the mass media within Russia. This year, Kremlin increased pressure even on web based news, social networks, and blogs. Every Western sanction is met with a counter-sanction from the Russian side. The Russian economy and standards of living may suffer (some have serious doubts about the effectiveness of these sanctions), but I don't think they will make Russia back away.

    Moreover, it's not clear what is the goal of the western sanctions as their goal is often amorphously described as "deescalate the situation in Ukraine". What does this mean? Russians think that annexation of Crimea is a done deal. Not just Putin, average Russians too. They certainly won't back away from that. As for the instability in east Ukraine, it's not clear how you prove who is escalating what right now? The locals in East Ukraine are certainly as pissed off at Kiev as it gets, specially after deadly Odesa clashes and the coup in Kiev. I don't think they need a lot of encouragement from Putin at this point.

    The best way to defuse the crisis in Ukraine, is to help this country rebuild its democratic institutions and economy. While Ukraine is viewed as the victim in this dispute, its government must do more to accommodate the concerns of its Russian-speaking citizens in the East regions. For one, they should be allowed to elect their local government officials.

    • Stop believing what you see on the news. The US and Russia both have agents on the ground in Ukraine stirring this whole thing up. Pretty much everything you see on TV was setup by one side or the other. I've no idea what's really going on other than that it's not whats on TV. Almost every time you read about something over there, you can go to youtube and watch video from people that were actually there and completely debunk what you just read.

      Reporters are lazy, accept what the government feeds them, don'

  • This might really hurt Russia. The Soviet Union struggled to stay apace with technology, and Russia has too since the collapse of the USSR. Space technology was one area where Russia could make money and truly claim to be among the best. If they're not careful this might kill off one of their few chances for profitable exports in the world economy.

    • I suspect the ban on using Russian engines to launch the US military satellites is more of a posturing. Russian rockets and rocket engines are used mostly to launch civilian satellites.

      • I suspect the ban on using Russian engines to launch the US military satellites is more of a posturing. Russian rockets and rocket engines are used mostly to launch civilian satellites.

        Except the number one thing in the news lately about those engines has been the massive US military block buy of rockets that use them. When the judge ordered a preliminary injunction to keep ULA from buying them a bunch of US businessmen, bureaucrats, politicians, and military types freaked out. Which was practically a sign to the Russians saying, "You can hurt us."

        The GPS thing is partly posturing, but mostly about limiting military accuracy in the off chance we try something stupid. It's not likely, b

      • by Delwin ( 599872 )
        The RD-180 is used by ULA for all their heavy lift rockets.

        ULA has a stockpile of them that will last at least a few years but until the SLS with the F1-B or the Falcon Heavy with the Merlin fly the RD-180 is the only heavy lift engine we have.

        The closest second is the Falcon 9 which is already using Merlin engines but it is running about 40% of the lift capiability of the largest ULA rockets. If the Falcon Heavy is ever launched then SpaceX will have a launch vehicle that can finally put the RD-180
    • I think they will probably struggle on with the gas revenues they earn for keeping the lights on in Europe.
  • by Catbeller ( 118204 ) on Tuesday May 13, 2014 @01:31PM (#46991359) Homepage

    Kill shuttles, kill the DC-X, kill spaceplanes, kill research, find the cheapest possible source of launchers. Make a business out of manned spaceflight. So now we're hostage to Russia, because they were cheaper than building a reusable launch system. SpaceX ain't ready yet. So, we're screwed. May Elon Musk get what he wishes for, and may he be able to deliver. Next month.

  • Ever since the Cold War ended, the US has really gone to shit.  It's like an old boxer who goes out of shape because there's no one left to fight.
  • Now can we build up our space launch infrastructure?

  • by pesho ( 843750 ) on Tuesday May 13, 2014 @02:45PM (#46992195)
    This is aimed for internal consumption in Russia only. Bolstering patriotism and such.

    In terms of economic impact on US it is pretty toothless. ULA has already stated that they have two year supply of RD-180 engines and that they are perfectly capable of manufacturing the engines themselves. The reasons for buying these engines from Russia are mostly political - US supports Russian engineers so they don't go and build rockets in Iran. On the other hand Elon Musk must be laughing out loud. The Russians just created the perfect political environment for the congress to act and allow SpaceX to compete with ULA for military satellite launches, something that only few days back was made impossible by a court decision. Good job Ruskies, you just open the door for your most aggressive competitor.

    As far as the shutting down GPS ground stations in Russia goes, this will only impact the accuracy of the system on Russian territory. So the only way somebody in US may feel pain is if they fall off their chairs laughing.

    • Unfortunately, ULA has stated that it would cost one Billion dollars to set up their own engine production here in the US. Sure that's nine tenths congressional/military bribes and lining shareholders pockets but expect the US to be paying for the factory any day now.

Don't tell me how hard you work. Tell me how much you get done. -- James J. Ling