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Yet Another Russian Space Plan

This time, it’s building a permanent presence on the Moon.

Just add money.


Another Dead Russian Mars Probe

Maybe the Russians should just cut their losses and focus on another planet or the Moon – ESA Abandons Effort To Contact Russia’s Stranded Mars Probe:

NASA had also lent its tracking assets to the Phobos-Grunt salvage effort but was unable to pick up any signals from the spacecraft, which was launched Nov. 8 on a mission intended to land on the martian moon Phobos and return samples to Earth. The spacecraft also carries a small Chinese satellite intended for Mars orbit.

“The mission is no longer feasible,” said Manfred Warhaut, head of operations at ESA’s European Space Operations Centre (ESOC) in Darmstadt, Germany. In a conference call with journalists, Warhaut and ESOC operations engineer Wolfgang Hell, who had been in regular contact with Lavochkin, said Russia is unlikely to give up on Phobos-Grunt.

“We are not in a position to continue, but they definitely will not give up,” Warhaut said. “They will continue to try to send thruster commands” to get Phobos-Grunt’s engines to function.

It seems the more ambitious their Mars missions, the more quickly they fail. Which is too bad – the more Mars missions, the better, but also because the Phobos sample return on this mission would have been really interesting.


…all those German classes weren’t wasted after all – The Rise of the Fifth Reich? (Did I miss the fourth one?)

Corn’s sensitivity to the possibility that actions Americans do not anticipate based on the very different priorities of policy makers in other parts of the world could radically reshape the global picture animates his article on Germany.  He begins provocatively:

“If Clausewitz is right that “war is the continuation of policy by other means”, then Germany is again at war with Europe, at least in the sense that German policy is trying to achieve in Europe the characteristic objectives of war: the redrawing of international boundaries and the subjugation of foreign peoples….

Germany’s goal?

A constitutionalization of the EU treaties, which would irreversibly institutionalize the current “correlation of forces,” and allow German hegemony in the 27-member European Union to approximate Prussian hegemony in the 27-member Bismarckian Reich.

This is much more exciting than the usual bland pap about European politics one reads in the US, and Corn’s analysis is deeply grounded in what serious people are thinking and writing in Paris, London and Berlin.

Exciting indeed, but I’m not sure if that comment at the end about “serious people” is meant to be irony or not…

As Mead notes, Corn may just be getting over-excited, but it’s still worth considering as a thought experiment. And in my case, it’s interesting as fodder for a future history — if a resurgent Germany dominated the EU like the Zollverein and succeeded in bringing a demographically cratering Russia to heel in exchange for help shoring up its eastern border defenses, etc., what would that world look like in fiction?

Another Russian Space Hotel

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before…

A Russian company which plans to build the world’s first space hotel has released further details on its ambitious project.

The plan, which would see a hotel placed into orbit some 350 kilometers above the earth, was first unveiled last year by Russian firm Orbital Technologies as a commercial alternative to the International Space Station.

This week, it revealed further details of the design at an aviation industry event in Moscow, suggesting that it will be able to accommodate seven people at a time – with the most incredible views you’re likely to get out of a window…

Orbital Technologies says that the design and development of the space station is underway, and it is expected to launch in 2016.

Just add money!

I’d like to see them succeed, but given the frequency with which ambitious space projects involving the Russians emerge and then disappear, I’m a little skeptical.

2012 Prometheus Award Finalist

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A young girl sets out to prove herself by resolving a long-forgotten mystery. But when she gets close to the truth, what she thought was a harmless adventure becomes a threat to the future of the independent commercial settlements on Mars.

April 2014
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