Libmonster ID: IN-438
Author(s) of the publication: V. Senkevich


by Vladimir SENKEVICH, Dr. Sc. (Technol.), Acting President of the Russian Academy of Cosmonautics, Vice-President and Chairman of the R&D Council of the RF Federation of Cosmonautics

For Russia - a country of vast territory and fabulous natural resources - cosmonautics is a sphere of geopolitical, economic and practical scientific interests. It is of vital significance for integrated communication networks, exploration of natural resources and global ecological monitoring. In many cases astronautics - or cosmonautics as we say-has no alternative so far.

Space exploration has opened up boundless opportunities for solution of essentially new tasks in communications and multichannel telecasting, in pinpointing various objects and controlling their movement, in meteorology and in many other areas. Aerospace technology is indispensable in keeping tabs on the observance of military treaties and agreements, in early warning systems in the event of a sudden missile attack, and in control of the armed forces.

The space era was ushered in on October 4, 1957, as the Soviet Union launched the world's first artificial satellite of the earth, the famous sputnik, from the Baikonur cosmodrome. In 1958 a similar program was started in the United States; next, from 1965 on, there followed Great Britain, Italy, Canada and France; and as of 1970 such countries as Australia, Germany, Japan and China also plumped for space exploration. Today more than 125 states are involved - directly or indirectly - in space programs (twenty lift their own satellites into orbit).

In our country this work is carried out within the framework of the State (since 1993, Federal) Space Program.

But it all began, as I have said, on the fourth of October 1957 as the carrier rocket R-7 designed by Academician Sergei Korolyov orbited the world's first artificial satellite of the earth (unmanned). The circular velocity of 7.9 km/s was used to put the sputnik into circumterrestrial orbit. The second Soviet sputnik carried aloft in November 1957 had the dog Laika on board; and the next year, in 1958, the first space research station, a geophysical laboratory, was commissioned in orbit.

Yuri Gagarin's pioneering flight aboard the Vostok spaceship (designed by Sergei Korolyov too) on the 12th of April 1961 inaugurated the era of piloted space flights.

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Next, manned space missions followed one after the other, all of them "the world's firsts" in a way. In 1962 - the first ever group flight of the spacecraft Vostok-3 and Vostok-4 piloted by Andrian Nikolayev and Pavel Popovich; the world's first space lady, Valentina Tereshkova, was aloft aboard Vostok- 6 in 1963, and in 1964 a space crew with Vladimir Komarov, Konstantin Feoktistov and Boris Yegorov went on board the Voskhod spaceship.

The year 1965 was another landmark - man's first ever walk in raw space accomplished by Alexei Leonov who, leaving the Voskhod-2 spaceship, made a first-hand acquaintance with the void to tell that to his commander, Pavel Belyaev, across the porthole.

Yet a permanent or longterm orbital station is a must for experiments in outer space, especially if they involve crews. Its prototype appeared in 1969 on the basis of two multipurpose piloted spacecraft Soyuz-4 and Soyuz-5 that enabled cosmonauts Vladimir Shatalov, Boris Volynov, Alexei Yeliseyev and Yevgeny Khrunov to cross from one craft to the other. That year Valery Kubasov left Soyuz-6 to try welding and soldering in raw space. True, the Soyuz spacecraft could stay but for a limited time in orbit. This constraint was overcome in 1971 with the orbiting of Salyut-1.

The significance of this type space laboratories, seven in all, in the twenty years they were in service is enormous. Here's the record of the last one in that series, Salyut-7. It stayed aloft from 1982 to 1991 - that is 8 years plus 9 months 18 days 8 hours and 2 minutes, including 810 days in the piloted mode. It played host to 22 spacemen (among them one from France and one from India), and

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experienced 25 dockings and 3 redockings. The longest space mission aboard (of the eleven in all) continued 237 days, with cosmonauts making thirteen walks in raw space.

Longterm ET laboratories were the mainstream trend crowned with the assembly of the new orbital station MIR whose basic module was carried into orbit on 20 February 1986. Subsequently a variety of specialized modules were docked in - the astrophysical, technological, medicobiological and meteorological plus one for exploration of natural reserves. All told the MIR station has hosted more than forty space crews, among them astronauts from the United States, Canada, Germany, France, Austria, Great Britain, Japan, Afghanistan, Bulgaria, Syria and other countries. Reliable transport vehicles were designed for lofting crews and cargoes: the piloted Soyuz-T and Soyuz-TM, and the unmanned automatic-mode Progress and Progress-M.

For years the international observatories Roentgen and Quantum were operating with much success aboard the orbital station. The telescopes installed there enabled a series of observations of powerful roentgen radiation in the Hercules and Scorpio constellations, and in the Crab Nebula, too. In addition, the central part of our Galaxy and some other areas of it were surveyed. All that gave new data on the most intensive source of roentgen radiation - the star Cygnus X-1 and other sources. *

Using the Maria magnetic spectrometer, a number of experiments were conducted aboard MIR to study the mechanism of high-energy particles generation in near space and in the radiation belts of the earth. **

A series of experiments was carried out on the space materials science. One of the units employed for the purpose. Gallar, was used for smelting under microgravitation and obtaining a high- grade material, gallium arsenide single crystal *** ; and using the Kristallizator(Crystallizer) unit, the thermophysical characteristics of supercooled crystals could be studied.

It is important to know how the space medium acts on structural materials and radioelectronics hardware employed for a long time beyond the terrestrial atmosphere. So a whole range of experiments was devoted to this particular problem.

Space crews aboard MIR were also engaged in visual observations and aerospace surveying and spectrometry of dry land and the water surface of the World Ocean in line with the program for studying the natural resources of our planet and its environment.

Medical problems were not brushed aside either. A battery of devices was used to study psycho-physiological responses of spacemen and their performance, the effect of zero gravity on locomotion, and the interdependence of vision and the vestibular apparatus. The aim of the biological experiments onboard was to look into the possibility of growing hybrid cells of plants in weightlessness. The experiments code-named Akustika

* See: Ye. Gorchakov, B. Tverskoi, "Space Physics", Science in Russia, No. 6, 1995.- Ed.

** See: A. Panasyuk, "Breakthrough Into Outer Space", Science in Russia, No. 4, 2000.- Ed.

*** See: M. Milvidsky et al., "Monocrystals of 'Space Quality'", Science in Russia, No. 1, 1999. - Ed.

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(Acoustics) and Shumomer (Noise Meter) allowed to determine the parameters of acoustic and electromagnetic effects of space hardware on crews. *

It was a tall order, but the MIR orbital station coped fine. It amassed a wealth of experience in the operation of ET complexes to open up staggering vistas for assembling versatile orbital enterprises that will be catering to our and global needs-for instance, in semiconductors, innovative materials with preassigned properties, new medicinal and biological preparations and the like. All the expenses involved in such research are bound to pay off to produce palpable economic effect.

Well and good, but our space researchers look far beyond our planet and set their sights on the other bodies of the solar system as well. The moon was the first to attract their attention. They made their first acquaintance with it "in the flesh" way back in 1959 when three our lunar messenger went "for a visit" there (the escape velocity of 11.2 km/s was used for the purpose). The Luna-2 probe was the first to reach the surface of the natural satellite of the earth, while another probe, Luna-3, took pictures of the moon's back side. Then followed other automatic lunar probes, with the last one, Luna-24, off in 1976. In 1966 the first pictures of the moonscape were relayed to earth and, what is more, the first ever artificial satellite of the moon with a kit of research instruments was launched. The year 1970 proved particularly fortunate. That year a Soviet module launched from the moon's surface brought samples of lunar rock to the earth. Meanwhile the lunar rover Lunokhod-1 delivered to the moon by the space vehicle Luna-17 continued in operation on the lunar surface. The program for primary studies of the moon was thus fulfilled. The twenty-first century is to see a new stage in lunar studies that will be carried out on a new technical groundwork.

Venus probes were another chapter in our thrust into outer space. In 1961 to 1984 we sent 16 automatic stations in the Venera (Venus) series and two Vega probes. While the first eight Veneras entered the Venusian atmosphere whole, the next six probes split into orbital and descent modules; and Venera-15 and Venera-16 stayed in orbit to become artificial satellites of Venus and carry out radiosonde observations of that planet. Our Venus probes accomplished a remarkable lot in determining some of the parameters of the Venusian atmosphere and in obtaining pictures of the Venusian surface; with their aid samples of Venusian rock were taken and analyzed.

The Soviet Mars probes caused a dramatic change in our ideas of the Red Planet. As many as ten automatic interplanetary stations in the Mars, Sonde and Phobos series were sent to the planet Mars in 1962 to 1988. Here's a record of Martian studies: soft landing; an artificial satellite; initial data on the Red Planet's atmosphere; photographs, and other bits of hard evidence. **

Side by side with that, studies of smaller bodies of the solar system proceeded apace. First came Vega-1 and Vega-2 automatic probes (1984) hurtling toward Halley's comet; these vehicles provided a wealth of new astrophysical data. ***

Solar studies were also an important part of our research, specifically, what concerned the sun's impact

* See. O. Gazenko, "The Habitat of Space"; A. Grigoriev, "Long-Time Space Flights"; V. Polyakov, "Can Space Be a Home for a Human Being?", Science in Russia, No. 4, 1996.- Ed.

** See: L. Gorshkov, "Is the Stage Set for a Martian Odyssey?", Science in Russia, No. 4, 1995. - Ed.

*** See: V. Andreyanov, "Radio Telescope in the Sky", Science in Russia, No. 3-4, 1993.- Ed.

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on the earth and geophysical processes in circumterrestrial space. * And lifting astronomical instruments into outer space gave birth to ET astronomy that furnished a lot of novel information on the origin and structure of the universe.

Sure, all that would be inconceivable without adequate hardware. For one, without spacedromes and launching complexes like that at Baikonur, Kazakhstan, the world's famous cosmodrome. Two more space-launch complexes are taking some of the load off Baikonur - one at Plesetsk (Archangel Region in the Far North) ** , and the other at Svobodny (Amur Territory in the Far East).

Ground- and sea-based mission control centers *** are playing an important part in guiding spacecraft, and in information give-and-take and processing.

And, of course, mention should be made of booster rockets, such as Cosmos, Cyclone, Sputnik, Vostok, Soyuz, Proton and Energiya - an impressive array! Many of these boosters are standouts on the world level **** . Small wonder that of a total of fifty signal achievements by international astronautics that contributed to scientific, economic and applied problem solving in 1957 to 2000 Russia claims priority in 27, and the United States in 23 instances.

In fact, space research and related industries keep in close touch with other branches of science and engineering, say, electronics, computer technology, chemistry, machine building, instrument making and so on. But on the other hand, cosmonautics relies on its proper potential. In many areas it has to fend for itself, for instance, in obtaining grade metals, plastics, ceramics, reinforced glass, optics and lots of other things, both hard-and software. Add telemetric equipment, fuel, power supply, life support systems, the medical kit and engines, of course.

Adopted by cosmonautics, all these things have given mighty impetus to the development of human civilization. New technologies, devices and instruments designed for space hardware are performing quite well in commonplace consumer- oriented industries.

The list of such items is mind-boggling indeed. Take materials capable of resisting high pressure and variable loads and vibrations at superhigh and cryogenic temperatures. Rocketry equipment and attachments (in particular, die forging and profile stamping) have made their way into shipbuilding. Space technologies have found a range of applications in the utilities, particularly, in sanitary engineering, in the making of windows and doors, in the heat insulation of pipelines, in weatherizing, and so forth. Spinoffs from space research are in broad use virtually everywhere - in chemistry, in metallurgy, in the automotive industry, in medicine pressure chambers, radio-pulsed gadgets in drug-free anesthesia, etc.) ***** . For instance, the use of space ceramics has allowed to boost five- to

* See: A. Galper, Yu. Ozerov, "Manifold Solar Flares", Science in Russia, No. 4, 1997. - Ed.

** See: M. Chernyshev, "Swing Beam Up at Plesetsk", Science in the USSR, No. 3, 1990 . - Ed.

*** See: V. Lobachev, "Chief Mission Control" Science in Russia, No. 5, 2000 .- Ed.

**** See: B. Chertok et al., "Job for Energiya " Science in Russia, No. 2, 1993. - Ed.

***** See: Yu. Kolesnikov, "Low Pressure Complexes Oust Orbital Stations", Science in Russia, No. 5-6, 1993. - Ed.

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tenfold the service life of melting crucibles and other equipment in metallurgy.

Metallurgy as well as the chemical and petrochemical industries is now making use of argolon, a composite carbon-carbon material. It's quite a gift indeed, for argolon items can be employed in furnaces in an inert atmosphere at 3,500 0 C, and in aggressive media - at 500 0C. Another innovation, dubbed phenan, is a self-lubricating polymer/metal composite that can be used to combat friction in aggressive media in a wide range of temperatures (150-600 0 C). It finds application in motor and railway transport, in hoisting devices, in farm machinery and in mining equipment.

Our space-oriented enterprises cater to consumers too. The heat exchangers manufactured there have been customized for the production of condensed milk. We might as well add universal climatic (environmental test) chambers that have been found good for the thermal treatment of meat and dairy products. Our housewives are fond of pressure cookers, nonstick Teflon-coated dishes and a good many other useful things.

But all this inventory is far from exhaustive. Suffice if we say that in building our space-shuttle model Buran and the super booster rocket Energiya we have designed more than 600 new technological processes, 130 kinds of equipment and over 100 materials nonexistent before.

The present avalanche of data-flow in every sphere of human activity, be it economics, science, culture or day-to-day life, is a live issue now. Hence the all-out significance of communication. This is especially true of our country with its immense territory and most versatile landscapes.

All the way back in 1967 this country commissioned the Orbita satcom system with the use of the orbital station Molmya-1. * Thereupon other satellites were hooked in - Moskva and Ekran, to be followed by the international Intersputnik backed up by the Gorizontspace vehicles (the latter are still in service as synchronous satellites). The economic payoff was enormous: as good as every household in this country could access television. ** The space communication systems did quite a lot for large-scale information exchanges over telephone, telegraph and fax networks. Needless to say, it is all-important for the news media and business.

Space systems have yet another major application domain, and

* See: G. Lozino-Lozinsky, "A New Space Shuttle", Science in Russia, No. 5-6, 1992 . - Ed.

** See: Yu. Kolesov, "Space TV Without Intermediaries", Science in Russia, No. 6, 1994 . - Ed.

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this, is the exploration of natural resources, environmental monitoring and hydrometeorology. * Aerospace surveying complexes launched a long time ago are still flashing pictures to earth. In the early 1990s more than 900 enterprises and organizations in a wide range of areas (cartography, farming, water management, fishing, forestry, geology and town planning) were the beneficiaries of this information. The economic payoff topped 350 min rubles a year in the mid - 1980s.

A meteorological system with the satellite Meteor-1 and Meteor-2 was another important milestone in the advancement of Russian cosmonautics. The volume of data obtained during one sole swing of these apparatuses around the earth is hundredfold as much as the body of data supplied by all the ground weather stations.

Accurate weather forecasts for three to five days in the 1980s meant an annual saving of 700 million rubles. Orbiting the earth today is the synchronous satellite Electro to be joined by Meteor 3M.

It will be quite in place to mention the Cikada system which, assisted by Cosmos-1500 sputniks, enabled sea vessels equipped with the Schooner outfit to take their bearings with high accuracy. Thus seamen would be able to choose optimal navigation routes and cut the passage time by 8 percent. **

Likewise mention should be made of Russia's international activity in the peaceful exploration of outer space. In 1992 the Russian Federation and the United States signed an appropriate cooperation agreement providing for a joint MIR-SHUTTLE program that takes in three projects. They envisage joint missions of astronauts and cosmonauts on spaceships of both countries, a docking of the American Shuttle with our station MIR, and a series of research works. Since February 1994 Russian cosmonauts have been on missions aboard Space Shuttle craft, while US astronauts have visited the MIR station many times, and seven Americans have joined our regular crews.

Today an ambitious project-International Space Station (ISS) - is in the making. It involves 18 countries: Russia, the United States, fourteen countries affiliated with the European Space Agency, Canada and Japan. The ISS will keep up the work now being done by the MIRorbital station, but on a new qualitative level. It will be conducting basic research in many areas, including the atmosphere and surface of the earth. Production of high-tech materials and biopreparations will be an important sideline of its job. The new station will set the stage for assembly of major orbital structures and launching pads for future interplanetary missions.

This program was off to a good start in November 1998 as the first element of the ISS, the cargo module Zarya, was sent into orbit. In August 2000 the service module Zvezda launched from the Baikonur spacedrome docked in. And in September the ISS hosted the first crew, two Russian and three American spacemen ferried by the Atlantis spacecraft.

The record of Russian cosmonautics is impressive indeed. Unfortunately, like all of our country, this industry is going through hard times. Its financial support has been cut to the bone, by nine- tenths, and in some areas even more, to a mere 5 percent of the former level. This weakens

* See: B. Vazhenin, "Space View on Earth", Science in Russia, No. 3-4, 1993 . - Ed.

** See: Yu. Atserov, B. Konovalov, "Space Beacons", Science in the USSR, No. 2, 1990. - Ed.

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the country's defense capability for lack of adequate global information systems. Many comprehensive programs for the development of science and technologies are in danger. We are unable to tackle many other problems of vital significance for all of humanity. We claim only 2 percent on the world market of space hard- and software.

To reverse this downtrend the Russian government has adopted a federal multipronged program up until the year 2010. It provides for a complex of steps toward expanding R&D in the aerospace industry. Here's an outline of problems for the next few years. To begin with, considering the soaring significance of information in various fields, it is essential to enhance the throughput capacity of communication facilities tenfold and more, and improve their quality.

More and more communication satellites will be put into orbit: Triada-MS and ME (mobile communication); Gonetsand Triada-II (personal communication); and Luch-M (relay and flight control). Multifunctional satellite systems will be catering to banks in their transactions, to fuel and power-industry complexes, computer networks and the like. Geared to that will be such projects as the Global Space Super System, Rostelesat, and GLONIS-3000.

Another important area touches basic science and practical aspects of human activity, specifically, better systems of remote sounding of the earth, meteorology as well as handling emergency situations. The Meteor-3M and Electro-2 satellites will be used for this purpose. Slated for operation in orbit is a new high-performance complex, Resource-DK, for optical-electronic monitoring as well as small space vehicles (that carry certain useful cargoes as a sideline) for a future system of remote probing of the earth. The Russian navigation system GLOPASS already has nine satellites in service, with the total number scheduled to be 24.

The third prong of the federal aerospace program is to further our experience in the production of innovative materials in outer space and in ET technologies; someday a string of such plants will be built in orbit.

Today humankind has to cope with the problem of space garbage disposal. That's the fourth plank of our program. Space garbage - the flotsam and jetsam that has built up in near space in the course of human activity over more than forty years - is quite a menace to man-made satellites and rockets, and so are asteroids by the way.

And fifth, we should step up the study of the sun, moon. Mars and other planets.

The federal program outlines new fields of work for our cosmonautics, particularly, what concerns the prediction of earthquakes that claim as much as 60 percent of the toll of all natural calamities. This work is in progress. Reliable short-term forecasting-a few days before the main shock anyway-is already possible with the aid of the newly designed equipment. Earthquake prediction experiments are conducted at automatic space vehicles too, and we have plans for using the Russian segment of the International Space Station for this purpose.

Here are two more problems where cosmonautics may be of good help. First, tropical cyclones and ways of tracking them. There is a project at the blueprinting stage, VOLNA-TZ, providing for the use of ballistic missiles converted from defense: launched from submarines, they will reach assigned targets and parachute modules with research instruments.

The shrinking ozone layer of the earth is another menace. Research and development work has been carried out for a space system of global monitoring; it will be supported by ground stations run in cooperation with CIS countries, the former Soviet republics. Besides Russia, the aerospace part of the project will also involve NASA of the United States.

In conclusion, a few words about the methods. Present-day cosmonautics is a very complex system whose further development can proceed only on the basis of comprehensive multifactorial analysis in all major areas simultaneously (scientific, military, socioeconomic, international); a systems approach is a necessary condition. We should strive for quantitative results and optimization in the chain "goal-oriented efficiency - cost-time". We have a record of experience in such work over many years {Dahl in the 1960s and 1970s, Rubezh and Integration in the 1980s, Integral-K and 4 Cosmos-2001 in the 1990s) and in balancing the results obtained.

Moving into the new millennium, the world community is ever more awake as to what should be done to improve the quality of human life. This ought to be the overriding concern of space programs both here in Russia and on the international scale. Such is the message of the UN Program "Agenda into the 21st Century" signed by 192 states in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 1992 and endorsed by an UN General Assembly session in 1997.


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