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Proton-M Rocket Carrying Russia's Most Advanced Satellite Crashes 160

schwit1 (797399) writes "When it rains it pours: A Russian Proton rocket crashed Friday nine minutes after launch. Considering the tensions between the U.S. and Russia over space, combined with the increasing competition for the launch market created by SpaceX's lower prices, another Proton failure now is something the Russians could do without. Moreover, the Russians were planning a lot of Proton launches in the next few months to catch up from last year's launch failure. Many of these scheduled launches were commercial and were going to earn them hard cash. This failure definitely hurts, and will certainly be used as justification by their government in increase its control over that country's aging aerospace industry."
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Proton-M Rocket Carrying Russia's Most Advanced Satellite Crashes

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  • This failure definitely hurts, and will certainly be used as justification by their government in increase its control over that country's aging aerospace industry."

    Because paying folks by the hour rather than by the successful launch is a surefire way to cut Space-X off at the knees. This from the land of the three-man shovel.
  • When you're talking about people's lives at stake, and lobbing enormous explosive devices around, minimizing people's hours and maximizing the profit isn't necessarily the best answer.

    The evil capitalist profit incentive has gone a long way toward making the chances of dying in a plane crash approach the probability of winning a lottery. If an airline lost the entire plane on the twenty-fifth flight ala Challenger, and again on the 113th flight ala Columbia there'd be a lot of empty seats.
  • by dave420 ( 699308 ) on Friday May 16, 2014 @10:12AM (#47017297)
    That and the massive amounts of regulation that works directly against the "evil capitalist profit incentive". You picked a really bad industry. Try something with fewer regulations - pogs or Justin Bieber CDs or something.
  • by deadweight ( 681827 ) on Friday May 16, 2014 @10:15AM (#47017305)
    Commercial pilot here: If you think "profit" is why airplanes are safe - I am ROFLMAO x 1000. OMFG you could not be more wrong! I once worked for a place that wanted us to call in on the radio with our registration number insteald of XX airlines Flight XXX so the FAA wouldn't even realize we had paying passengers in our ancient shit-heaps. They were ALL ABOUT profit!
  • by deadweight ( 681827 ) on Friday May 16, 2014 @10:36AM (#47017521)
    One of the reasons the FAA (then CAA) was INVENTED was because planes crashed so often that the industry was never going to become viable. One thing they did pretty early on was prohibit making wing spars out of wood for commercial airliners after some people died because of either rot or termites. Absent that rule there would always be one airline not ticking off the "make spar out of metal" option box and saving a few dollars.
  • by gtall ( 79522 ) on Friday May 16, 2014 @10:45AM (#47017593)

    Yes, it should be the case that any modification to health coverage in the U.S. should not alter any one person's coverage.

    Get a grip, of course changing health coverage over a large swath of the U.S. economy is going to generate winners and losers. So you lost, how about the ones who couldn't get coverage before due to cherry picking by the insurance companies that can now get insurance?

    Personally, I'd have broken the insurance companies knees. By the way, most of the provisions in the ACA where Republican notions before they became Democrat notions. And the the insurance companies were free to direct that legislation, all in good Republican free market theory. If you didn't get what you expected, blame both parties.

  • by gman003 ( 1693318 ) on Friday May 16, 2014 @11:04AM (#47017753)

    It's amazing to me just how ancient most Russian rocket designs are. The Soyuz launcher is literally based on the same design that launched Sputnik, with the addition of a second stage. And even after fifty years of iteration, they still have only a 97.5% success rate with the current Soyuz launchers (Soyuz-U, Soyuz-U2, and Soyuz-FG). That's a full point worse than the Space Shuttle (98.5%), which was a completely new design that didn't have several decades of production testing on basically any of the parts.

    Proton is almost as old, dating back to the Soviet lunar program. It was actually first intended as an ICBM, to launch ridiculously heavy warheads (think Tsar Bomba on an ICBM). The changes since then have been fairly minimal, compared to the design changes American rockets went through. One of the biggest features of the latest Proton-M design is "uses less parts made outside Russia". Counting this latest failure, Proton-M has only an 88.9% success rate.

    The oft-repeated engineering mantra is "quality, reliability, cost - pick two". Russia's antiquated designs don't give you quality (in terms of efficiency or even lifting power), and they really aren't as reliable as you'd expect from such well-established designs. I can only hope that they're cheap enough that it's worth it - and when you're launching multi-million-dollar satellites, maybe cheaping out on the launcher isn't such a good idea.

  • by NoImNotNineVolt ( 832851 ) on Friday May 16, 2014 @01:42PM (#47019181) Homepage

    That's a silly thing to say, and it's obviously false.

    *sigh* [google.com]. You're right, we're living in an era of unparalleled cooperation between the two dominant political parties. The Republicans in the legislature haven't been obstinate for the sake of obstruction at all, no. *sigh* [google.com]

    According to polls, many Americans were opposed to the passage of the ACA; sometimes a majority.

    And so this is your rationale for claiming that it was pushed down Americans' throats? That for the most part a minority of Americans were opposed to it? I suppose you're similarly opposed to any other legislation that falls short of unanimous support?

    Sadly, it's unlikely that anything interesting will happen this year. I don't see the Democrat/Republican control over our government weakening any time soon. If you expect any meaningful change to come from either side of the same coin, you haven't been paying attention.

  • by arth1 ( 260657 ) on Friday May 16, 2014 @02:04PM (#47019441) Homepage Journal

    What should be an eye-opener is this: "Strikingly, even Americans who are white, insured, college-educated and upper-income are worse off than their counterparts around the world â" a finding that no one quite understands."

    Yes, I am white, insured, college-educated and upper-income, and I definitely agree that healthcare here in the US sucks compared to what I had in Europe. It's old-fashioned and the hospitals work hard to get as much money as possible (doing tests which they can't be sued over, instead of treatments which they can), while the insurance companies work hard to pay them as little money as possible.
    If I ever need major surgery again, I'll have it in Europe. Because the healthcare provided in the US is far from top.

    We may have the best plastic surgeons in the world, and that says a lot about the American society.

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