This week was a terrible week for the Russian companies planning to make money by launching satellites and such. Big crash on the launch pad, advertised all over the world.
Luda has told me about a couple of the jokes now being told in Russia about these launch failures.
I forget one of them. Probably there were obscene jokes she did not tell me. I remember just one joke:
"It's all because of Putin's new law, the law for The Respect for the Feelings of Religious People.
The religious people believe in a flat earth, with nothing in earth orbit, so of course the rockets were made to be sensitive to the feelings of those people.."
But was this just a joke? Could it be more true than we think?
In fact, the US has also experienced a kind of chronic spectacular failure in getting to space.
With some of the most advanced capabilities you could want... and engineers who could
have gotten us down to $200/pound-LEO forty years ago... blocked again and again by
holy rollers of various types, more interested in piously ripping off the taxpayer than in opening jp a new frontier.
Could it be the same, roughly, in Russia? Back when I funded a group at Analytical Services and Princeton to understand and replicate the advanced "Ajax" technologies which appeared in Russia,
I certainly encountered a whole lot of sophisticated thinking and capability in the Russian aerospace world. They have people with some understanding of what kind of reusable technology is needed to get to really low cost and high reliability. They had people who understood key things which almost none of our people here did (at least at AIAA Hypersonics Conferences). Yet these recent launch failures are even worse than the fatal cost overruns of the Ares rocket in the US, overruns which the lobbyists seem dead set to repeat (even though it would predictably mean death for all their programs).
So has Putin been fooled by the same kind of pious posturing idiots who screwed things up
in the US, and failed to put Russia's energy into things which could actually work and make a difference? It is interesting to contemplate....
Some might wonder: why did you take the time to write this?
That's a strange story too, but maybe not for now.
Best of luck,