Many people do not know it yet, but Houston has yet another problem: Quality Control or QC. The problem is not in Rocket City, the Space Coast, or even the shining city on the hill. No, the problem is Russia. Russia has had three failures of its venerable Soyuz launch system. One may have ended in a loss of crew (LOC) event. This time, the Russians found the error on the ground instead of in flight.
Another Russian Soyuz rocket has failed again. Thankfully, it was carrying a Russian communications satillite and not Astronauts or Cosmonauts. This now brings the total number of failures to THREE in the last FIVE months. This is the same system NASA and Congress told us we could use to ferry our brave astronauts to the space station.
Just so everyone is clear: The quickest way to stop depending on Russia for rides into space is to fully fund the Commercial Crew program utilizing Space Act Agreements (SAAs).
Russia is fueling its Phobos sample return mission. Phobos is one of two moons orbiting Mars. The launch date is November 9th, next Wednesday. Have you heard about this or has this been quietly pushed aside by the influential main stream media? If successful, Russia will be the first nation to return a sample from a Martian celestial body. I hope America takes notice. We used to go to Mars every two years, just on general purpose. We went to explore, because that’s what America does.
On Friday Russia announced that it was canceling the development of its new rocket. This is somewhat surprising as this will leave them with the venerable Soyuz Launch System (SLS). Not to be outdone, The United States is continuing on with its development of the Space Launch System (SLS). Confused yet? Nyet? Khorosho! Better brush up on your Russian comrades, if you want to be an American astronaut you need to speak Russian.