The development of the draft federal space program of Russia for 2016 – 2025 years (FKP-2025) is carried out on the instructions of the Russian government. Space exploration is a very expensive business, where the price of possible mistakes can be expressed in the amount of billions of rubles. That is why it is important to prevent major errors at an early stage of project implementation.
This is especially true today, when the country is experiencing serious financial difficulties.
In the newspaper "VPK" in the article "The narrow departmental thrust" defended the relevance of creating a super heavy rocket launcher with a starting solid-fuel accelerators (TTU). I would like to express my opinion on this.
We have everything
The article states that supposedly our potential adversary is betting on powerful carriers for launching the impact weapons, and the leadership of Russia does not notice the abandoned call.
Honestly, it all reminds of a fairly forgotten project of a strategic defense initiative (SDI), voiced by President Reagan in 1983. Our leading scientists already correctly understood the problem. Having thoroughly studied all the details, they unequivocally recognized the SDI program as utopian, having scientifically substantiated their conclusions and reported this to the top leadership of the country. With the technology of the time to achieve the desired result, the Americans would not have succeeded.
Of course, over the past thirty-odd years, science and technology have advanced significantly. But this does not mean at all that all technical problems have been solved, and it is time to deploy heavy combat platforms in space orbit. In addition, over the past years, the process of miniaturization has steadily proceeded in space technology. Satellites have become much lighter, and their capabilities have increased many times. Super heavy rocket now absolutely no demand on the line of the Ministry of Defense, and there is no point in undertaking their creation, especially in an emergency order, throwing money down the drain.
Yes, indeed, in 1987, the LV Energia was to put into orbit a prototype combat station weighing about 90 tons. But the station’s capabilities were limited only by the impact on the satellites of a potential enemy by blinding them. Surely today, the apparatus would have coped with this task, having at times a smaller mass. And for their removal, the existing Proton, Angara type and their modifications will be enough. In general, Russia now has a sufficient fleet of light, medium and heavy LVs for solving virtually all tasks in the interests of defense and security, namely: communications, navigation, reconnaissance, topography ...
It should be recalled that there are other combat systems that can fight in outer space. According to the information available, work continues on an aeronautical laser system, the objectives of which in the first place can be space objects. On the approach is the creation of the Prometheus C-500 air defense system, whose missiles are able to shoot down satellites in low orbits. Nothing prevents the reopening of the interrupted Soviet project of creating anti-satellite missiles launched from the MiG-31 fighter.
In general, there are a lot of developments on weapons systems that can fight in outer space. The conclusion from all that has been said suggests itself: “To be on the alert - yes! Panicking is no! ”
How much is Mars today?
As for civilian space, today there is no need for super-heavy rocket launchers. After all, the question is not in the presence or absence of such carriers, but in what goods to carry and where.
Actually, a load capacity of one hundred tons and above will be required only in case of mastering the Moon, Mars, and so on. For example, technically it is already possible now to create a Martian habitable base, having burrowed into the ground for several meters and having secured oneself from radiation and micrometeorites.
Well, okay with Mars. Stop on the moon. What should man do on this earth satellite? The Americans have already landed there, and it makes no sense just to repeat the visiting expeditions - the US was still the pioneers here. So you need to go further, creating a permanent lunar base. The question arises: for what purpose? According to experts, on the present day only tritium is profitable on the moon - nuclear fuel of the future. In reality, fusion reactors for this fuel can be created no earlier than in a quarter of a century. By this date, it is necessary to organize the extraction and delivery of tritium to Earth. However, it is very likely that in a couple of decades, robotics will go so far that a human presence in space will not be required at all.
The economic factor is also important: it is estimated that automatic spacecraft will cost 50 times less manned when studying and mastering the resources of other planets. For reference: economists estimate the development of extraterrestrial resources and their involvement in the global economic turnover of about one trillion dollars only on the moon. Mastering the resources of Mars will cost at least an order of magnitude more.
Everyone can count. Thus, in the civilian space, super heavy rocket will not be in demand for many more years.
Unfortunately, the domestic space program for its more than half a century has not escaped painful shyness, accompanied by empty multi-billion dollar costs. And these were not the current Russian billions, but billions more of those full-fledged Soviet rubles.
It is enough to recall the closure of the lunar program of the super-heavy PH H-1 interrupted at the finish line in the middle of the 70-s, already during flight tests. Then the launch vehicles ready for launch were cut into metal. Twenty years later, the same fate awaited the amazing program "Energy" - "Buran". And again, finished products went to junk.
Our sworn partners did no better. The triumphant completion of the Apollo manned program (six successful expeditions to the Moon) also in the middle of the 70-s put a bold cross on the super-heavy RV Saturn-5, which was worked out to the last detail and showed absolute reliability. They sacrificed it to the space shuttle, a reusable system that seemed cheaper and more promising. Time has shown that this was a strategic miscalculation in the planning of US space activities. Not only did two manned ships with crews explode in flights, but also the cost of the program just went off scale. As a result, the project had to be closed.
Yes, not everything was rosy in space exploration. And yet there is one country that confidently and purposefully develops its space industry - China. And let the Chinese not yet catch the stars from the sky, but they are making progress. And the most important thing is that China is the only country in the world that has been planning its activities on 50 years in the future. Accordingly, with the planned approach there is no rushing.
Having carried out the first manned flights, the Celestial Empire focused on the creation of an orbital station with a long-range view of the Moon. New tasks, as is known, require new PH. Therefore, it was decided to create a completely new Wenchang spaceport on Hainan Island, located close to the equator, from which new-generation rockets should be launched. So systematically, if not without difficulties, China conquers space.
I want to believe that our new Vostochny cosmodrome will be pleased with technical innovations. It is impossible to lag behind competitors. And the most important thing is to resolutely stop the practice of swaying in space activities.
The roar of many spaceports
The exact choice of the space industry development strategy is very important, because huge budget money is at stake, and mistakes cost too much. So what directions in space do not cause doubts and have the right to life?
It is absolutely clear that it is necessary to develop commercial space, including the provision of communication and navigation services (the GLONASS program), space tourism, to launch space vehicles for the benefit of foreign customers. It is imperative to correct the situation with Earth remote sensing satellites, both in quantitative and qualitative terms.
Of course, you should use the full range of available conversion PH, of which we have developed and accumulated a lot. Moreover, different payloads - from 100 kilograms to 4,5 tons. Launches are to be carried out not only in the interests of foreign customers, but also for putting small Russian satellites into orbit. The main thing is to organize the mass production of small devices for various purposes. They are simple and relatively cheap, so it takes much less time to make them. Conversion RNs are good because instead of the cost of their disposal, the state can earn money on commercial launches.
Focus on creating reusable pH. Further than others in this direction the Center named after him. Khrunichev. Even at the aerospace show in Le Bourget, in 2001, the Khrunychev team presented a full-size model of the reusable first-stage accelerator “Baikal”. The step after the start and separation spreads the wings, turns on the aircraft engine installed on it and lands like an airplane at an ordinary airfield. After examination and prophylaxis can be used again for its intended purpose. Such a system significantly reduces the launch cost.
Today, there is a growing interest in space exploration worldwide. The basis of this trend is not only the factors of prestige and state security, but also the understanding of the current situation that the dynamic development of any nation is no longer possible without the space component. In fact, we are witnessing a real boom in the construction of space centers in many countries of the world. The roar of the cosmodromes is getting louder, therefore it is not necessary to sit still and hope for old luggage.