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The Atlantic magazine looks at the Russian space programme today

By dpreview staff on May 16, 2012 at 00:41 GMT

The Atlantic's 'In Focus' photo blog has collected a fascinating series of images from the Russian space program. Looking at both Zvyozdny gorodok, the training center just outside Moscow better known as 'Star City,' as well as  the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, the pictures give an insight into post-Shuttle space flight. Astronauts and scientists from different countries train together, as do entrepreneurs preparing for their paid trips into space. The collection uses a variety of photographic styles and beautifully conveys the faded futurism of space travel. (from The Atlantic)

 AP Photo/Mikhail Metzel
 NASA/Don Pettit

Comments

Total comments: 42
waxwaine
By waxwaine (May 18, 2012)

AMAZING, WOW! Thanks for sharing.

0 upvotes
Iamprasanth
By Iamprasanth (May 17, 2012)

Great post, wonderful images :)

0 upvotes
RGM 1957
By RGM 1957 (May 16, 2012)

NASA spends millions of dollars on developing a pen that can write in space.....the Russians use a pencil :-)

Urban myth but a good story never the less!

Comment edited 22 seconds after posting
4 upvotes
Peiasdf
By Peiasdf (May 17, 2012)

NASA spend millions building two Crawler-transporters back in the 60s' to transport rocket/shuttles from assemble building to launch platform. The Russian just used a railroad track.

3 upvotes
Paul Farace
By Paul Farace (May 18, 2012)

Not just a railroad track, but the point is there is absolutely NO comparison to a Saturn V moon rocket and anything the Russians have ever built. You couldn't get the Saturns or Shuttles out to the pad via a railroad track. Think 5+Million pounds. Besides, the crawlers were very, very cost effective!

0 upvotes
Nibb31
By Nibb31 (May 20, 2012)

The Russians used railroad tracks to transport their N1 moon rocket in the 70's. The reason they use a railroad track is because they assemble their rockets horizontally.

0 upvotes
Alec
By Alec (May 22, 2012)

N1, and Energia-Buran complex, were transported using two parallel train tracks. In all fairness the cost of the erector mechanisms for such big vehicles can't be ignored.

0 upvotes
Alec
By Alec (May 22, 2012)

@ Paul, I could say how more advanced Buran was vs. the Shuttle. You could say how it only had one flight and the program had gone nowhere. We'd both be right.

If you look at a lot of the Russian projects and inventions, be it the Cola borehole or the Antarctic station, they place extra value on big dreams and big things, even without much consideration to commercial drivers. By contrast the Americans, who are at least as (and often better) at executing complex scientific and technological projects, would not just get up and do it full-on without a commercial driver. You just won't get the funding. You know where Saturn 5 would be without the Sputnik and Laika and Gagarin and Leonov and the first moon impact and the first photo on the back side on the moon (Russian achievements). Saturn 5 would still be on a drawing board.

So the Americans and the Russians can't really go far without each others. You need both the Russian "Let's go!" and the American financial wisdom to keep going.

0 upvotes
GCHYBA
By GCHYBA (May 16, 2012)

Very cool pictures. Make as much fun of the backward Russians as you like, they have a rocket to carry people into space, we don't...

3 upvotes
Stollen1234
By Stollen1234 (May 16, 2012)

2nd photo is nice..but seriously whats the point of this post? what has it to do with photography...

0 upvotes
mister_roboto
By mister_roboto (May 16, 2012)

Did you even click the link to the article? It's a photo series article.

3 upvotes
Iamprasanth
By Iamprasanth (May 17, 2012)

Bonehead

1 upvote
KoKo the Talking Ape
By KoKo the Talking Ape (May 16, 2012)

Is anybody else surprised at how steady the platform is in the space-based photos like the second one above? I would expect vibration from pumps and motors, thermal expansion or contraction, etc. ISS thing is not connected to the ground or anything else to damp out vibration.

0 upvotes
Jay Adeff
By Jay Adeff (May 16, 2012)

Most likely the reason the platform is so steady is because of the huge mass of the ISS.

1 upvote
KoKo the Talking Ape
By KoKo the Talking Ape (May 17, 2012)

Mmm, mass doesn't automatically mean no vibration. If you hang a massive steel girder in midair and rap it, it still vibrates. Also, the thing isn't isn't a monolith. It is constructed in sections which may be able to vibrate semi-independently. Also, now that I think of it, you would get shocks passing through the structure from things bumping together.

Probably the simplest answer is that the camera is on some kind of vibration-dampening mount. Maybe it isn't necessary, but if I were them, I'd use one.

0 upvotes
MarkByland
By MarkByland (May 16, 2012)

Nice images. I respect that international space programs have been the global uniting force since the end of the cold war. We should pursue that aspect more fervently with as many countries willing to put forth the effort. And while I'm not much in to hero-worship, Astronauts are pretty much top 'o the line for me.

Comment edited 20 seconds after posting
1 upvote
farrukh
By farrukh (May 16, 2012)

That second photo is fab!

1 upvote
agott123
By agott123 (May 16, 2012)

Great images. Thanks for sharing

Comment edited 58 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
schufosi777
By schufosi777 (May 16, 2012)

Fascinating pictures, thanks.

1 upvote
epo001
By epo001 (May 16, 2012)

"faded futurism", what an apt and poignant description. We shall have to wait for the Chinese to take manned space travel forwards.

2nd pic looks like a snapshot from a gay stag night (this may be a UK-centric comment)

Comment edited 4 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
Cy Cheze
By Cy Cheze (May 16, 2012)

What monetary or political incentive would inspire China (or any other country) to send people into space? Even if asteroids were solid gold, the cost to retrieve by robot would exceed the value. Human cargo merely multiplies^5 the costs and risks.

1 upvote
epo001
By epo001 (May 16, 2012)

Same motivation as America's, bragging rights. I agree with you though, it might have been more accurate to opine that if anyone will take manned space flight forward it will be the Chinese.

2 upvotes
Cy Cheze
By Cy Cheze (May 16, 2012)

A fast coastal train service, even if unprofitable, might be a better achievement to brag about. Rockets that light skies on New Year's are probably spatial achievement enough. Government grants for science and math studies would do more to boost technology than diverting existing engineers from economical applications to sending suicide probes to empty voids.

3 upvotes
robjons
By robjons (May 16, 2012)

Nice article, interesting photos.

Re NASA: Is the US still staggering under trillions of dollars of debt, not to mentions cruddy inner-city ghettos? Then we can’t afford a space program. Simple.

0 upvotes
peevee1
By peevee1 (May 16, 2012)

Either outsource your defense and space program to private contractors, who's sole purpose of existence is to extract as much money doing as little as possible for as long as possible (i.e. profit), or do it in house with direct employees as Russians do for 1/100 of the money. Simple.

3 upvotes
Cy Cheze
By Cy Cheze (May 16, 2012)

Russia's launch technologies and infrastructure are a vestige of the Cold War, when the cost accounting was a state secret. Russia might recoup a little by launching commercial satellites, but never a fraction of the sunk costs. Elsewhere, the "private initiative" ventures into space launches rely an awful lot on physical or human capital furnished or discarded by state-sponsored ventures.

0 upvotes
Nibb31
By Nibb31 (May 17, 2012)

The annual budget for NASA is 17 billion dollars, which is 0.4% of the US federal budget. Cutting the space program won't save you any money and will cost you in the long run. On the other hand, the budget for the US DOD is 700 billion dollars. Cut half of the aircraft carriers, shut down half of the overseas military bases, and then you might start to make a dent in that debt.

2 upvotes
JasperD
By JasperD (May 16, 2012)

Interesting article, lots of wonderful images, thanks!

0 upvotes
The A-Team
By The A-Team (May 16, 2012)

Those last images are truly incredible! Thanks for sharing.

0 upvotes
LukeDuciel
By LukeDuciel (May 16, 2012)

" faded futurism of space travel" -- Touché

2 upvotes
Paul Farace
By Paul Farace (May 16, 2012)

"faded futurism of space travel" -- I am painfully aware they may be right... thanks largely to our hip prizzy and entitlement-stoned government.

1 upvote
lmtfa
By lmtfa (May 16, 2012)

So true. To some extent I place blame with NASA. They are not the people of the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo gun ho generation. Bureaucrats and "A" kissers who presided over the demise of our space program. You only miss it when it's gone. The abandonment of the space capsule say's it all.

1 upvote
Codik
By Codik (May 16, 2012)

Come on. At least the US has a space program. Could be worse.

0 upvotes
Tony Baloney
By Tony Baloney (May 16, 2012)

Come on, Paul, you can't rationally blame Obama. Bush threw Mars into a speech or two, but he did little to advance the mission. And if we care about advancing knowledge, we can get much more science for any amount of money by sending unmanned probes into space than by sending humans. Sending a human to Mars would just be a stunt.

3 upvotes
Cy Cheze
By Cy Cheze (May 16, 2012)

Yeah, Newt and W said we should set up a "Man to Mars" program. They would support enough funding to circulate some PR to fool Florida, Texas, and CA voters. But no one wants to pay the full price. And no sane human would want to be imprisoned in a space-can for four years, as gamma rays fry the brain, for the sake of a stroll on a desert waste. Natural Arches National Park is a much more scenic, hospitible, and affordable way to see "Mars" close up. It even has some life. Gas at $4 / gallon is a lot less expensive than the tons of liquid hydrogen and whatnot it takes to leave earth's gravitation.

1 upvote
KoKo the Talking Ape
By KoKo the Talking Ape (May 16, 2012)

Hi all! First post.

In reply to the first post: "faded futurism" doesn't look shiny and new, but who cares? From an engineering point of view, if something works reliably, then it is a waste of money to replace it.

0 upvotes
graybalanced
By graybalanced (May 16, 2012)

I am confused by those who blame government for being the cause of all problems, and then bemoan the loss of government support for the space program. Aside from that being serious cognitive dissonance, it seems like the ideal anti-government solution for space travel is to get it out of government and into private space companies.

Which is exactly what is happening right now.

Anti-government types should be rejoicing. If the government had chosen to ban private space travel, nationalize all private spacecraft companies, and dramatically increase public spending on the space program, then I *might* decide to listen to some of the more radically unfounded claims about the state of the nation.

Comment edited 3 times, last edit 2 minutes after posting
1 upvote
detefon
By detefon (May 16, 2012)

Very nice pictures!

0 upvotes
Aleo Veuliah
By Aleo Veuliah (May 16, 2012)

I wonder what camera they use, NASA uses Nikon, anyway wonderful images

1 upvote
Vlad S
By Vlad S (May 16, 2012)

Zenit? LOMO LC-A?

0 upvotes
lem12
By lem12 (May 16, 2012)

F5, D200, D3S, 8 D2X’s, D3X including 36 lenses - AF-S NIKKOR 400mm f/2.8G ED VR, AF-S NIKKOR 600mm f/4G ED VR, AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2,8G ED and teleconverters AF-S Teleconverter ЕС-20E III, AF-S Teleconverter ЕС-17E II, AF-S Teleconverter ЕС-14E II. SB-800, SB-900. Soft. Capture NX2, Camera Control Pro 2.

2 upvotes
james s. kennedy
By james s. kennedy (May 17, 2012)

As someone who was part of the space program, I know that the man in space efforts were mostly empty hype, devoid of science. Unmanned programs are where the payoff is.

1 upvote
Total comments: 42