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Space oddity - The coolest mankind oddity of all times (part 2)

Ladies and gentleman, for those who have been missed, here is link to the first part of a story:

This is the second part of a story about men and his amazing and beautiful dream, dream to touch stars by his own hand. The story is illustrated with photos of original artefacts saved in Space Museum in Moscow, Prospekt Mira 111. Furthermore, the story is illustrated with photos taken from Internet as well as films recorded in the space. This episode presents some of the most remarkable creations mankind has ever been created, Space Orbital Stations or as we use to say Artificial Satellites.

The beginnings:
Salyut 6 (29.09.1977. - 29.07.1982.)
Salyut 7 (19.04.1984. - 07.02.1991.)

After the success of Apollo and disaster with Skylab, Americans decided to close their space programme. But in this topic Soviets were more systematically and continue with orbital space station programme in very precise and programmed steps. Such in mid 80ies after Salyut, Soviets launch Mir orbital space station which was, in three phases, cruising in the orbit around the Earth for amazing and long-lasting 15 years. To support the programme, Soviets did enormous efforts in constant maintaining and repairing, supplying station with utilities, food and consumables. This resulted in that the cosmonauts constantly lived in the space. Orbital space station Mir setup the first man record in continuous living in space. Russian cosmonaut Valery Polyakov on his second flight in 1994/1995 stayed in station for almost year and a half. Precisely he stayed there 437 days and 18 hours.

Orbital space station Mir was realized in three phases. In the first, Soviet, phase (1986 – 1991) Mir was home for Soviet cosmonauts only. In each shift only one of three cosmonauts was changed with another. To enable the mission, Soviets organize constant transportation path served by lot of space crafts and flights which supply human crew with food and orbital station with spare parts. Contrary to their robotic driven space vehicles responsible for food and utility supply as well as garbage collection on return to the Earth, cosmonauts were transported with classic Soyuz space crafts. To enable functions for such complex system, Soviets founded first mass space craft production (industry) for operational rockets, orbital station spare parts and all other utilities required not only for maintain machines but for serving human supplies, as well. Yes, Soviets lost Space race but ... they have not been beaten in complete. Americans send first man to the Moon. Starting from Apollo 11 to Apollo 17, the task equal showing superiority of each expedition was to walk around the Moon to collect samples of Moon ground and stones. But as presented in the previous episode, Soviets respond with first spacecraft which takes Moon samples and return them to the Earth. And immediately afterwards this sucess they send first ever build robotized vehicle to explore the Moon surface. They called the robot “lunokhod” and trained it on the Earth to carry out the mission on the Moon. And such this becomes very first and practical implementation of what we call Artificial Intelligence. Lunokhod was capable to move completely independently around the Moon ensure all of his given functions.

In the meantime, Soviets opened a new era in the space. In parallel, started from Salyut 1 to Salyut 5 they collect experience and develope technology to join first two and later several Soyuz space crafts and other modules in building a space station where human will be able to live permanently. Such in the second half of 70ies they launch Soyuz 3 space crafts and central, command module from which first orbital space station with a permanent presence of humans was assembled. Of course, learned from the experience of lost Moon race against Americans, Soviets kept activities in secret and announce them only after final success.

First Soviet space orbital station Salyut 6 was cruising around the Erath with an average speed of around 28 thousand kilometres/hour relative to speed of the Globe. This orbital space station lasts for almost five years. Below are photos from the first Soviet space exhibition in USSR on their technical and technological advances in Space program. Second Soviet orbital station Salyut 7 was designed to last even more, almost 7 years.

Space suit model for Soviet cosmonaut in 70ies

Space suit model for Soviet/Russian cosmonaut in 1980ies/1990ies/2000ies

In 70ies, as a kind of continuation and replacement for Apollo program, Americans made step into space orbital station development. The name of the project was Skylab. Compared to Soviets which experiments were closed for the public, Americans did a kind of TV show to advertise their advance technology and superiority but … Skylab was seriously damaged when launching from the Earth to open space with Saturn rocket and therefore served only for few very limited short term human staying. Finally in year 1979 Americans landed Skylab and this was practically the end of their Space programme.

The wolrd in 80ies was preoccupied with “cold war” between two superpowers but regardless to that, superpowers started space collaboration using on-going Soviet space station programme. Here is the space suit of American astronaut Michel Collins who was participating in Soviet space program as a guest. And would you believe Michel was one of few who were walking on the Moon in Apollo program? The artefact is exhibited in the Space museum in Moscow.

Salyut space orbital station exhibited in Space museum memorial park in Moscow, Prospekt mira 111.

What you see above is the original artefact of the first space station, model Salyut 6. And what can I tell about this ”bastard” 36 years after but its the beauty and the beast at the same time. Magnificent!

The typical space orbital station in that early time consists of three modules, not to count some other. The essential module is main command module launched with Soyuz 1 rocket positioned in the very precise orbit to cruise around the Globe. Afterwards, another Soyuz 1 rocket launches space craft Soyuz 3 with cosmonauts into an orbit. The task of human crew is to assemble solar panels. The panels are crucial for enabling all operational and control functions in of a space station. You guess, they are responsible for supplying the flying-monster with sufficient and constant energy which is then transformes into the electrical power. When task is completed, the next crew with next Soyuz is going into space. The task for this new crew is to start all programmed functions in space orbital station. Such, at the end, on the each side of main module you find one Soyuz 3 space craft and space station is now completed. The next replenishments then are programmable. In alternate, one after another, new crew with new Soyuz 3 exchange the oldest one. It’s just simple as that.

Let’s now explore the interior of Soyuz 3. Do you remember the boy from the first episode? The boy is still dreaming and therefore is carefully looking at the equipment stored inside typical Soyuz. At the top there is a cabin with cosmonaut and cargo. The comfort inside is very interrogative. Everything is minimized and simplified to enable load additional cargo in as much as possible quantity. On the control board now you can’t see instruments simply because they were moved out. Through the time Soviets improved control instruments and at the end everything was fully computerized but … Constructors are cleaver guys and therefore always leave a possibility to switch each function from computer to digital driven technology. Of course, in digital technology everything is on buttons and switches but … It is simple and works if computer is call off. Well, you catch the basic idea: each command and function has its reserve, pair, a replacement. And this is the security topic, just in case.

After the initial start, Soyuz rocket separates from the craft and falls down to the Earth. Driving task is now left in hands of pilot duo sitting in the middle module of Soyuz. Here is also everything computerized as well has its relative in digital technology. Just like two cosmonauts sitting in a pair in deck chairs. The reason why I put here three photos from the museum is simple and is not religious. I didn’t been able to select one and therefore, I decide to give you all three as a present.

Of course, next photos are also taken in the Space museum, as well. You are looking at propulsion jets of rocket engine. And rocket is responsible to drive Soyuz to meet mother Salyut. And the drive is magnificent and amazing. The drive goes through numerous elliptical circles around Mother Earth where the Earth control centre coordinates with this complex manoeuvre, manoevre of close encounter mother Salyut and child Soyuz. I hope you realize now from where name Soyuz 3 is comming - the space craft consist of three modules. And don’t be panic, this has anything common with the religion or maybe have, who cares?

Let’s now discuss advances used in space orbital station construction and control. First orbital Soviet stations, as well as American Skylab, were assembled from components of cylindrical and spherical shapes arranged in a row. Even by itself each component is designed in almost perfect shape, in final it results with a limited room for storing cargo, supply, utilities and crew. Therefore Soviets construct extensions and inserts which enable modular stacking and better use internal volume bounded by external dimensions. In such the final shape starts to be much more complicated and structures are extent to use all three dimensions of inner volume. Advances here were for the first time used in constructing Soviet orbital space station Mir.

Next photo is also taken in the Space museum and pshow the construction frame for advance and fully computerized control for space pilots, regardless the control is on space craft or space scooter for riding through the space.

Among numerous artefacts, one of the most interesting place in the museum is for sure the original Space control centre. Here you can sit and enjoy in Big brother show which was during 16 years record inside and around Mir orbital space station. Everything here is original, started from the computer and LCD technology, Windows environment older and incomparably more sophisticate and better than Microsoft or Apple will ever be. The reason is, in fact, you can’t manage to play with CTRL+ALT+DEL in solving technology problems because you’ll crush the station and Mir is unstoppable rushing towards Mother Earth.

If you eaver visit the musuem, my recommendation here is to take a break, bring with yourself a coffee and relax and enjoy in watching original films from cosmonauts life in space and their conversations between as well as with Earth Control centre. Definitely this is the coolest coffee shop in the whole world where you’ll be feeling like a part of this glorious story. Absoulutely fantastic and invaluable!

Mir space station era
Soviet, Russian and International (20.02.1986. - 23.03.2001.)

Cosmonauts in all Space Orbital Stations mainly spent time in the control module, the brain, regardless they are working in shifts in other modules as well as in an open space. In the second phase of Mir project (1991 – 1996) the number of crew didn’t been changed but astronauts from other nations and states join to programme.

Mir 3 - third phase (1996 – 2001) was unplanned extension which entry into the era of Russia now days. In that period western nations and states fully join to the programme. Such Mir becomes a mother for what we today call International Space Station programme, programme which started in 1998 and is lasting up to 2020. The purpose is to develop a complete technical and human infrastructure for man journey, first to the Mars and then much far away.

Unfortunately, during last period Mir space station befalls a place with lot of accidents mainly caused by the deterioration of embedded technics and technology expressed in general malfunction and equipment failures. Mir space station was designed and built in a way that everything can be changed and replaced, everything but not the brain, the command module. And the command module and its complex electronic was not designed to last in a such long period but only five, maybe ten years. And module with its electronics was ambitiously used over the period of fifteen years of which twelve with man crew, this at the end become a problem.

But regardless to its glory and misery days, Mir space station was and still is one of the heights human mind did in all times. During exploatation period Mir was laboratory for lot of different scientific experiments which, among others, were include raising plants in the space. The significance of these biological experiments is not only in simple food farming but in oxygen production, as well. Plants on the light produce oxygen using carbon dioxide and such are capable to solve issue of oxygen reserve required for men crew during long term long distance space journey as well as consume carbon dioxide which is a by-product of human and animal breathing. And this, when time comes, may be a way human design space craft where life for generations is possible if once they sail away in direction of stars.

Ladies and gentleman, let me present you one of the heights not only in the Space museum but one of the objects mankind ever has been created. What you see is not the fake, it is the original Mir space station.

Let’s start a drive through the command module. What you see here is the brain, place from where you control and manage all function of space orbital station. There are two fix chairs, just like in the plane. Because of zero gravity, cosmonauts are sitting on them strapped not to be float away. Of course, the cabin you see here is naked almost to the skeletal, without additional utilities, wires, bags and stuffs which were hanged around fastened to the inner shell to avoid floating in a cabin without gravity. Here you see computers, commands, LCDs and other here are original from that era. Remember, we are still in the mid 1980ies when Mir was launched which means the construction and design waere in the late 1970ies. The boy in me is excited and grown man sitting inside me is smiling: "Cool, cool, cool!"

The photo below is taken outside command module. As you can see you, the space station is plated with solar panel which feed control instruments with the power and electricity. On top of that space station had the complete system of power wings and surfaces. And at the top of the command module you can see sub module with windows through which cosmonauts were able to observe the Earth and the Universe, as well.

Now take a look at back of the cabin. On left side you see the very private and intimate corner of the space station which function is obvious, isn’t it? Beds or better say drainage networks with sleeping bags are just opposite. In between are doors which lead into other modules.

Below is the small window to take a look at the Earth, Sun, Moon, Stars and Universe. When you are in the open Universe, you are exposed to radiation and therefore you have to be very, very much protected. Mir space station is extremely protected but as you can see, small room with window is additionally separated with special curtain to minimize radiation effect because of window. Just like window space at the top of command module.

Even every function on Mir was computerized, engineers still kept manual options, mainly for vital functions. And this is how it must be, just in case there is a crap/bug in the software or malfunction with electronic component happen.

Some additional help and control tools with help and control buttons. This is instead of CTRL+ALT+DEL in todays computerized systems.

Yeah, the Big guy is again spotted from the front side. While circling around the Earth this part of the Mir was for the most of time facing with Earth. Maybe it sounds pretty much crazy but this was designed because of safety reason to enable undisturbed communication from Earth control centre with the crew in space as well as for supervising all functions in the space orbital station during 15 years of its existence.

Mir was really enormous big and long life space orbital station. Therefore, the station had to be capable in producing energy by its self. And the way how to ensure that are solar panels. This is the photo of one of the original module for collecting energy. Isn't that cool?

After short introduction with the brain, let's now explore other parts of the station. For that time Mir space station was enormously big. Therefore, if for some reason cosmonauts have to work outside, on some distant module placed outside the station, they used a vehicle, a special craft, to get there. The craft is simple but efficient. It has small rocket engines which safely drive cosmonauts and cargo to the target area.

There is no labor possible without a tool and therefore, you have a bag with tool. And don't laugh, even tool looks and seems ordinary because this tool is not. This tool was used inside Mir as well as outside, in the space. Cool, isn’t it?

And be careful, when driving in the vehicle in open space you have to take a special position otherwise ... you’ll float out into the Universe.

When working outside you wear suit which protects yourself from radiation as well as ensure breathing. To be sure you'll not float away special magnetic boots keep you safely connected with an outer shell of the space station.

And now let’s focus on food cosmonauts are eating. Here is the short story of what and how to eat in the space. It is not the question how much and how often because, if you don't learn technique how to eat, you'll stay hungry. Even the most of the food is compact you still have spoon. Forks and knifes are not needed and even cannot be used, at least not for this kind of preprocessed food.

When Soyuz or robotized space vehicle delivers supply, you receive a container of fresh food: vegetables and fruits. This is necessary because processed food cannot be substitute for an original one.

Now take back a look inside command module. Here is the dining table with food supply just served for the meal. And do not forget in a plastic plate inside the table construction a real food supply for the whole squad for one day is staying. Cleaver, isn't it? In the space you don't eat much because too much food will make you sick. In such people are really monkeys because they never learn obvious things to keep them safe and sane.

Is that the dining table? Yes it is. Ohoho, but there is a crap in the system. And guess who is the intruder? Why all over the world idiots always are employed to be museum guardians? Crappie.

Some original photos from space orbit life.

To stay in a good condition you must exercise constantly and in space medicine have to control your health in the real time. This is especially required after taking food. Why we ordinary people do not learn this simple fact from cosmonauts? I'm pointing at the word "exercising" because when we came to visit doctors, its almost too late.

In the space orbital station Mir cosmonauts were by the programme raising different kind of plants, for food as well as for oxygen production. This was the part of the scientific research to prepare human to fly on other planets of Solar system and to fly on other star systems with more than probably their own planet systems. And believe or not, you may think on that as fiction but a day will come and man will start a journey to stars because this is definitive human destiny.

In addition, you can see a small presentation what was breaded in the space. Of course, these are models but are based on the real plants breaded in the space. In any case, this is interesting, isn't it?

Do you remember the accident in which three Russian cosmonauts were lost/captured several days in Syberia? This is the simulation of the place they found them with the original landing module.

Second photo is not one of the best quality but can serve to illustrate the purpose.

On this dashboard there are all non-Soviet/Russian astronauts which were joining to Mir program through years. On the screen you can see all countries and highlighted astronauts from United States.

Mir space station era
Buran – the story of the project who had no chance to survive

On 30 September 1988, many readers of the Pravda newspaper - the official mouthpiece of the Soviet communist party - could not believe their eyes. Published somewhat inconspicuously on the second page, there was a photo depicting the familiar shape of the US space shuttle, but with Soviet insignia on its wings. Finally, years of rumours about a Soviet "copy" of the shuttle had been confirmed. However, the official Soviet press was quick to point out that despite its superficial resemblance to the US counterpart, the Russian shuttle, dubbed Buran or "snowstorm", was better and more capable. Within days, the new ship got a chance to prove it.

On November 15, 1988, as snowy clouds and winds were swirling around Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, the Buran orbiter, attached to its giant Energia rocket, thundered into the gloomy early morning sky. Three hours and two orbits later, the 100-tonne bird glided back to a flawless landing just a few miles from its launch pad. Despite the kind of strong winds that would rule out any launch or landing attempt by the US space shuttle, Buran touched down just 3m off the runway centreline. And this planet-wide ballet was performed with its "pilots" safely on the ground.

Buran's pioneering mission was the culmination of an effort by more than 1000 Soviet institutions which, since 1976, had secretly laboured on this largest of Soviet space projects. Upon the spacecraft's triumphant landing, the Soviet newspapers promised a new era in space exploration. Few could predict at the time that it would be Buran's only mission. Unlike NASA, Soviet developers never had any grand illusions about replacing traditional rockets with a reusable space truck. Instead, the Soviet shuttle was conceived primarily as a "symmetrical response" to the perceived military threat from America's winged orbiters. Years after a sceptical Pentagon had given up on the shuttle, even as a delivery truck for spy satellites, the Russian officials continued whispering to journalists that the US orbiter had a secret capability - to make an undetected "dive" into the Earth's atmosphere and suddenly glide over Moscow dropping nuclear bombs.

Never mind that such a scenario was not supported by physics or by common sense. Energia-Buran's chief architect, Valentin Glushko, hardly tried to educate warmongers at the Politburo about the questionable merits of the re-usable orbiter as a weapon. Glushko was one of the first generation of Soviet rocket pioneers, who were experimenting in the 1930s under the tutelage of Konstantin Tsiolkovsky - one of the "fathers" of spaceflight. Like many of his contemporaries, he had little interest in designing weapons. He did dream, however, about building a permanent base on the surface of the Moon. Unfortunately, after losing the Moon race to America in 1969, Soviet leaders had little appetite for another deep-space adventure. Still, Glushko probably hoped to exploit Cold War paranoia about the threat of the US shuttle as an opportunity to lay a detour road to the Moon, and possibly even to Mars. Glushko carefully steered the Soviet shuttle project away from being a carbon copy of the American design, which could not be easily modified. Instead, he proposed a winged orbiter along with a fully functional rocket which could carry any cargo - including lunar landers, orbital tugs and even pieces of a Martian expeditionary complex. In the end, Kremlin bosses had committed to the monumental expense of money and human talent with only vague hopes that real tasks for the grandiose vehicle would emerge as it came online.

Instead, after long delays and cost overruns, the Buran appeared on the scene in the last act of the Cold War and amid a crumbling Soviet economy. The Berlin Wall had come down just a year after its first flight, and the Soviet Defence Ministry was suddenly more preoccupied with resettling thousands of troops returning from Eastern Europe than with servicing orbital anti-missile platforms and deploying killer satellites in space. The collapse of the Soviet Union in December 1991 sealed the fate of the Energia-Buran system.

There was a flicker of hope for Buran's giant booster - Energia - when Russia joined the effort to build the International Space Station (ISS). Still unfinished today, after a decade of efforts and dozens of assembly flights, the ISS could have been hauled into orbit by only a few Energia boosters, had international partners adopted it into the program, say the rocket's proponents.

In the mid-1990s, a flight-ready Buran orbiter, which made the historic trip in 1988, had been mounted on the back of a fully assembled Energia rocket at Baikonur's Building 112. This eye-popping display became a popular stop for journalists and foreign tourists, who periodically "invaded" Baikonur for high-profile launches. To the untrained eye, the gargantuan rocket and its orbiter looked all but ready for a rollout to the launch pad.

In 2001, this spectacle, combined with the optimistic and mis-translated comments of a Russian guide, had such a profound effect on one Western reporter that he filed a story claiming that the Energia-Buran programme was about to be re-started. The article proved that a decade after its demise, the Buran had already become a legend. However, if one looked closely in Building 112 it was possible to see water dripping from the high ceiling on a rainy day and accumulating on the floor, under the dead torsos of Energia rockets. The keeper of the facility, who showed reporters around the building, said that he could hardly find money to send repair men to patch up the giant roof. Eventually, a repair team, believed to include eight people, did make it to the roof, climbing on top of Building 112 on May 12, 2002. According to eyewitnesses, at about 9:20 local time, the entire structure shook violently, as if hit by an earthquake, and enormous pieces of debris plunged dozens of metres to the ground below. They obliterated this crowning achievement of the Soviet space programme.

But the Energia-Buran programme did leave a lasting legacy. The cavernous launch facilities at Baikonur and a state-of-the-art mission control centre in Korolev have continued serving the Russian space programme and its international partners. The rocket technology developed for Energia-Buran has been put to use in other launchers. A mighty RD-170 engine, originally developed for the first stage of Energia, today powers the Ukrainian Zenit rocket. This engine's scaled-down descendants - the RD-180 and RD-190 - have been adopted for the US Atlas booster and Russia's next-generation Angara rockets.

While the US space shuttle will soon share the fate of the Buran orbiter - as a museum exhibit - emerging plans for lunar exploration have revived concepts of super-heavy rockets, on both sides of the Atlantic. If they are ever built, their creators will have to re-trace the path once made by Valentin Glushko and his colleagues.

Buran exhibited in Technik Museum Speiyer, Germany ,
(Rusians sold the Buran in year 2011)

Buran exhibited in Gorki park, Moscow
The way how children can enjoy and breed their dreams

Mission to Mir

Put na Mars: Epilog i novi početak
In memoriam to International Space Station (1998 – 2020)

I tako dragi moji, dođosmo do kraja jedne od najfascinantnijih priča svih vremena, priče o čovjeku i njegovim snovima, priče o vraćanju korjenima odakle smo mi ljudi potekli. Jer koliko god se i znanost i religija i filozofija trudili da nas svrstaju na Majčicu Zemlju, čovjek iako rođen na Zemlji, svoju pravu domovinu ima u Svemiru. Stvar je to u koju ne treba vjerovati jer vjera ovdje i nije potrebna. Treba samo slušati intuiciju i gledati u zvijezde. Baš kao što su to činili svi akteri u ovoj priči.

I baš kao na svakom kraju, treba se najprije podsjetiti početka. Autor ovih redaka se je potrudio da na internetu nađe originalne filmove koji ne predstavljaju propagandu. Pa je tako našao jedan uradak koji je nekako najbliži istini. Film je to o Vostoku 1 a sastavljen je iz niza isječaka pokupljenih sa interneta, i ne samo od Vostoka 1 već i od ostalih. A sa filma je skinut zvuk. Na žalost, ostala je boja koju koju je sovjetska propaganda 60ih godin 20. stoljeća naknadno nakalemila na original odijela koje, barem što se Jurija Gagarina tiče, nije bilo crveno već bijelo. Prvi moderni sovjetski kombinezon nosio je pak German Stepanovič Titov koji je 6. kolovoza 1961. godine letio u orbiti oko Zemlje puna 23 sata i 18 minuta za koje vrijeme je Zemlju obišao 17 puta dok ju je Jurij Aleksejevič Gagarin obletio samo jednom. Bilo je to povijesnog 12. travnja 1961. godine. Par godina kasnije, 18. ožujka 1965. Aleksej Arkhišovič Leonov je kao prvi kozmonaut iz svemirskog broda izašao u otvoreni svemir. Njegova povjesna šetnja trajala je 12 minuta.

Nakon filma, pogledajmo podsjetnik na sve sovjetske i ruske kozmonaute koji su sudjelovali u svim misijama od 1961. Do 2001. Godine kada je orbitalna stanica Mir prizemljena.

Još jedan kratki podsjetnik na glavne zvijede programa zvanog orbitalna svemirska stanica..

I na kraju par slova o budućnosti koja je počela paralelno sa zadnjom fazom života orbitalne stanice Mir a u kojoj danas sudjeluju združene snage Rusije, SAD, Kanade, Europe i Japana. Budućnost je počela 1998. i trebala bi trajati do 2020. koliki je predviđeni vijek eksploatacije, istraživanja i treninga u Međunarodnoj Svemirskoj Stanici (Internationa Space Station). Nakog toga bi trebala započeti izgradnja letjelice koja bi ljudsku posadu trebala odvesti prvo na Mars (let je predviđen do 2033. godine) a zatim mnogo mnogo dalje i dublje u Svemir. Osobno sam uvjeren da će se to i ostvariti.

The end or to be continued

Post je objavljen 01.06.2013. u 20:13 sati.