On August 24 a supply vehicle headed to the International Space Station went down over Siberia due to a problem with the Soyuz rocket powering it. Which is a shame for all the goods lost, but more concerning is the fact that these rockets are the sole means to get astronauts up to the ISS now that the US space shuttles have been decommissioned. It will presumably be a while before humans are perched atop a Soyuz again due to safety fears, and some sources I’ve read have even suggested that it may be the beginning of the end of using them for manned space flight–which smacks to me of an excuse to start pulling out of the ISS altogether. Or will it be yet another push to get private industry to fill the vacuum left by the space shuttle and create vehicles capable of carrying humans into outer space?
If this topic interests you, come join us for the event on Sept 19th, “Human Spaceflight After the Shuttle“!