Russian Rockets – the Only Way to Travel to Space
Tuesday, November 8th, 2011
The Russian Federal Space Agency had an important achievement this past week – a cargo ship was successfully launched to the International Space Station, clearing the way for the next missions and putting minds at ease about future plans for the ISS. On October 30, the unmanned Progress M-13M took off as scheduled from Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
The success of this mission eases concerns created by a previous launch failure in August. An un-manned cargo ship fell victim to a manufacturing flaw, casting doubt on the Soyuz booster rocket used in ships that also transport astronauts. The Progress M-13M is the second successful launch of a Soyuz rocket booster since the failed attempt in August. We can now breathe a sigh of relief here at UrtheCast – our cameras will be travelling on an un-manned cargo ship much like the Progress.
Most importantly, this triumph is just in time to clear any doubts concerning the scheduled launch of a new crew on November 14th. The ISS has been continuously manned for the past 11 years, and that stretch would have been broken if a new crew couldn’t be launched to the outpost by mid-November.
NASA space operations chief Bill Gerstenmaier congratulated Russia on the successful Progress launch. The readiness of Russia’s spacecrafts is vital to NASA, as the ability to transport astronauts lies entirely with Russia since the retirement of the NASA space shuttle in July. In fact, the readiness of the Russian Space Agency is vital to the entire globe – Russia currently serves as the only way to get to the space station.
The space industry shares similarities with many technological endeavors – they closely adhere to Murphy’s Law – anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. Fortunately, the Russian Space Agency has a dedicated team of engineers and rocket scientists waiting in the wings to fix these issues as they occur. The timeliness of their response and the obvious skill with which the rockets were repaired give a firm indication that the UrtheCast cameras will travel safely.
With Murphy’s Law in mind, the people who code incredibly complex operational systems, engineer rocket boosters and manned shuttles, and direct the whole orchestra spend time on the “what-if” scenarios. They think about what could happen, what should happen, and then they learn from what did happen. When introduced with better information, they replace the old information. It’s a work ethic like this that allows UrtheCast to feel confident and secure in our ambitious commercial space project.
When our cameras go up next year, we’ll be sure that they are in good hands. The incredibly skilled astronaut who installs them will know that the shuttle he’s travelling in is safe and sound. The team at UrtheCast can already see the implications of how space ventures like our cameras will help pull the world closer together. While we once were in a race, country pitted against country, we now are team-mates in a desire to see a thriving future for the space industry.