back to article Soviet military-surplus manned spacecraft to fly again

A company with a former NASA astronaut among its management says it has acquired several Cold War era Russian ex-military spacecraft and stations. The firm intends to refit its "Almaz" reusable capsules for commercial manned operations in orbit. The Almaz Reusable Re-entry Vehicle (RRV). Credit: Excalibur Almaz/NPOM What the …

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Harrumph

"...it's to be presumed that the firm will remove the armament, which is (and was) strictly illegal under international treaty."

You're just no fun at all these days...

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Grenade

remove the armament...

...or maybe not!

Could be a big market for rich red-neck big game hunters!

"Ay git ma a Geostationary burd! Ye ha!!!"

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Interesting...

How much more the RRV looks like the conical Mercury/Gemini/Apollo than the sort of headlamp-shaped Soyuz capsules. I wonder how their heatshield is attached and if it is ablative (like Soyuz) or refractory (like the Shuttle)?

Of course this also means the Soviets clocked up another first - the first reusable manned craft, ahead of the Shuttle.

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Reusable crafts

Actually Gemini was there before the Russians. Gemini 2 capsule was reflown as a part of the mentioned MOL exercises, unmanned of course.

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Sexist language

How hard is it to write "staffed spacecraft" ?

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Joke

Almaz?

Pure and simple; born in a world where love survives...

As Randy Crawford would say.

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Pirate

Presumed...

"...it's to be presumed that the firm will remove the armament, which is (and was) strictly illegal under international treaty"

Or maybe they'll use some form of meta-material to render the armaments invisible?

Or, they'll just paint over them - I imagine in it a red-dwarf-opening-credits style.

It's cold outside, there's no kind of atmosphere. we're all alone, more or less. etc.

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@Mike Richards

Although it looks more similar to Gemini, Apollo was really more similar to Soyuz in that it had multiple modules and so on.

Of course, Almaz craft were never launched manned, due to Soviet mistrust of the then rather explode-y Proton rocket; they were launched unmanned and crew were transferred from Soyuz.

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Genius

@Calum Morrison

Made me spit tea all over the keyboard. Excellent !!

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Headmaster

@A J Stiles

According to my dictionary:

Man: noun, a member of the species Homo sapiens or all the members of this species collectively, without regard to sex

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Bronze badge

re: Sexist language

You make it sound like spacecraft are operated by a bunch of bureaucrats. OK, maybe at NASA but this ain't NASA. I think the term you want is "crewed".

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Anonymous Coward

Hey, Stiles...

[Insert lewd joke about man-staff here.]

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Anonymous Coward

@A J Styles

This site is for all mankind. you and your staffkind can just fuck off!

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Bah!

[4 A J Styles] For goodness sake don't be such a big girl's blouse.

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Hatch in Heat Shield

The Almaz capsule has the hatch in the heat shield. I believe that it is an ablative shield that had to be restored after each flight.

No meat shots, Protons too iffy, but the hatch held!

DX - Philadelphia

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Pint

@ Hakan & Dave Walker re: hatch in the heat shield

Granted, those guys were top-drawer engineers and all, but I remember when I first read about the MOL Gemini mod at Encyclopaedia Astronautica, I found myself cringing at the thought of _cutting_a_hatch_in_the_heat_shield_, f'cripesake. Turned out it worked fine, obviously.

Still, if any of you have actually _seen_ the size of the Gemini cockpit (they didn't call it the "Gusmobile" for nothing) you can see why Tom Stafford -- at approx. 6ft, the tallest of the Gemini crewmen -- wasn't selected to fly MOL missions, as he would've likely sprained his back trying to fold himself in half in order to turn around and slip through the hatch into the MOL cabin. As it was, iirc, on his Gemini flight he had to sort of slouch over in his seat so the white room techs wouldn't whack his helmet when closing the hatch.

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Black Helicopters

hmmmmm......

secret manned space stations in orbit....

so that could well account for the non-terestrial crew that mr.mckinnon spotted during his sogourn through the secret files on the nasa/nsa computers he's being gitmo'd for....

the fact is that the russians broke the rules on space based wepons... and no one at the UN has had a hissy fit about it yet...

(no doubt there are still platforms(deployed by both sides) up there loaded with orbital deployable nukes, relying on gravity well and solid propelent rockets for targeting).

could that be what NASA were upto on all those secret shuttle launches, restocking thier other private stations ?

black heli, cos it's all a shot in the dark..... and from a 50mm cannon from orbit thats gotta hurt more than dropping spanners or golf balls down a gravity well.

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Go

I knew it!

EA eh? Tell me this isn't just a division of Electronic Arts making a really, really convincing version of Elite! Obviously the armaments will not be removed, otherwise how could you kill space pirates while you mine ore from asteroid fields and collect fuel from the sun with your scoops?

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How hard is it to write "staffed spacecraft" ?

How hard is it to get a life and stop obssesing about what is essentially the english language?

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Happy

Language

@Francis Boyle - none of that use of crewed language neither.

Hey Nobby, I love the idea of a staffed spaceship. Brittas Space Empire?

I guess nothing would happen on Tuesday mornings while they had a staff meeting and approved holiday requests and did risk assessments. Where would the smoking area be?

Actually, a risk assessment by the staff health and safety representative has led to a decision to unstaff the spaceship at the next staff team handover. And liquid oxygen propellant is being replaced by washing-up liquid whih is safer to handle.

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Pirate

Recoil -

How the hell would they have managed the recoil when they fired their cannon? When firing on earth, most firing platforms have energy on their side. Aircraft have forward velocity to absorb the recoil energy )slowing the place down becuase the firing is along the line of travel), ships have their mass on their side and soldiers have small weapons and can absorb the recoil and pass it to earth.

Could the space station only fire along the direction of travel? if so, it makes it kinda easy to attack, "simples" as Alexsander the Meerkat would say

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Boffin

@ Andy Poulton re: Recoil

From the entry on the original Almaz development program, at Encyclopaedia Astronautica,

http://www.astronautix.com/project/almaz.htm :

"Following numerous problems in the first flight tests of the Soyuz 7K-OK, Kozlov ordered a complete redesign of the 7K-VI. The new spacecraft, with a crew of two, would have a total mass of 6.6 tonnes and could operate for a month in orbit. The project as reformulated was approved by the central committee on 21 July 1967 by the Central Committee of the Communist Party, with first flight to be in 1968 and operations to begin in 1969. The Soyuz VI was to include a recoilless gun for self-defence developed by the well known Soviet designer A E Nudelman..."

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@Recoil

i guess the simple solution to the recoil problem is 2 guns, shoot one toward the enemy and the other toward your crewwoman (happy?) who happened to be doing a space walk on the other side at the time, the recoil of each weapon will cancel out the other one, solving the problem

i doubt recoil would be a problem anyway, you don't need big guns in space because the enemy couldn't afford the weight of decent armour, so small weapons would probably penetrate most things with only a tiny bit of recoil (which is probably next to nothing compared to what the thrusters normally do to maneuver the craft in to position)

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Rob
Headmaster

@Stevie RE: BAH

Large person's blouse please if we're being pedantic about it all ;)

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Grenade

re: sexist language

How easy is it to write "staffed spacecraft"?

Just as easy as it is to sign comments "douchebag totally unaware that he/she/it is neither an editor nor in charge of the English language".

Just a quick answer to your question. No need to thank me.

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@Recoil

Why waste ammo with two guns? Make sure your one gun fires small projectiles and is positioned near the center of mass, so you don't start spinning. Then fire a thruster on the exact opposite side to counter the (small) reaction force and you're pretty much set...

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