To think in scale space

"New Era", 28.12.2003, Moscow, n52, p.40-42

Author: Valery Sharov

Valery Sharov was born in Moscow in 1953. Biologist by training and a journalist. A few years engaged in scientific research in the field of neuroscience. Then I worked in the "Literary Gazette": first, the Department of Science correspondent, then a staff reporter for the Far East. In 1990, during the project fly to the station "Mir" the first Soviet journalist was creative, medical selection and hit the cosmonaut training in Star City. Upon completion in 1992, it received a specialty "cosmonaut-researcher." Soviet journalist flight into space was not held due to the collapse of the Soviet Union. But the book was published.

The two "cosmic" events in 2003 defined the situation in this sphere of human activity: the American space shuttle disaster and the successful launch of China's first outside of the citizen of the planet
It so happened that tragic morning of February 1, 2003 I was flying from Russia to the United States, it is Florida. Cosmic events taking place before the eyes of all the world's people have become so commonplace that I never even knew about the planned for the same day return to earth space shuttle "Columbia", which was to come very close because the place where we were going. At the time of the disaster, "Colombia" our "747" was over the Atlantic, flew to the American continent, and in a sense the spacecraft with seven astronauts falling apart over our heads. Of course, on board this information is not passed on. Through served in the U.S. media information about the disaster occurred, comments professionals responsible NASA officials, politicians and ordinary Americans clearly emerges clearly a shocking lack of understanding of all the perplexity: how could this happen, what the true cause of the tragedy, what happens next?

Fee for space

Immediately identified. The death of the U.S. space shuttle "Columbia" and its seven-member crew — a universal tragedy. And not only because of someone else's misfortune, death always evoke sympathy and sorrow of every normal person. But also because the astronauts were killed — people doing a special, high mission of humanity beyond our Earth, on behalf of the entire planet. Because the intensity with which the incident took place the discussion in the community — not just the U.S. — far superior to that in cases where the land, in water or in the air, the other tragic events, which were accompanied by a large number of victims. For example, the death in 2000 of the Russian nuclear submarine "Kursk", which killed 118 people, or fall in 2003, the aircraft in Iran, which killed 302 people, and more.
For a chance to go into space humanity paid and continues to pay a high price. Since the beginning of the space age in the history of human civilization, the two space powers (Russia and the U.S.), which carried out manned missions beyond Earth, such expeditions have put this on the altar of more than two dozen lives. The figure, of course, not comparable even with the number of victims of car accidents in one day in Russia alone. But lost in the performance of their professional tasks astronauts or cosmonauts — this is a very special loss. Let us remember them all.
Perhaps, the first victim of the space age can be considered earthlings Valentine Bondarenko — a member of the first group of Soviet cosmonauts who died in March 1961 during a routine test in the chamber from the ensuing fire there. After nearly six years, in January 1967, a similar tragedy occurred at the Americans, too, on the ground, during the pre-flight test program "Apollo" because of a fire on the spacecraft did not become astronauts E. White, R Guffey and B. Grissom .
In April of 1967 because of the failure of the parachute system of the new Soviet "Soyuz-1" crashed on the descent Komarov. In June 1971, while returning to earth "Soyuz-11" because of the rapid depressurization lander were lost at a high altitude Soviet cosmonaut Dobrovolsky, Volkov and Vladimir kid.
It seems to be much much more! Enough to give life for the right of access to space.
But then, many years later, came the American shuttle. First, in January 1986, during the first minutes of the explosion at the start of the U.S. lost the "Challenger" with seven astronauts. And in February 2003 — a mysterious death while returning to earth, "Columbia", also with seven members of the crew.
One can not help think about the greater reliability of Russian equipment in the manned space program, as too striking difference in the losses incurred by the United States and Russia: 17:5. If we take into account that not all Bondarenko died in flight and not in the cabin, and Dobrovolsky, Volkov and Patsaev — just because they were not wearing personal protective suits (why — it's a different story about the era of the first Russian flights when space affairs intervened policy), it turns and does an amazing picture. Russia has only one accident with one dead cosmonaut Komarov associated with serious equipment failure during flight. United States — at least two such accidents and 14 victims!


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