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By David A. Clarke Jr.
Planning for the last attack doesn't make Americans safer
Topic - James Oberg
Some recent Russian satellite failures may have been the result of sabotage by foreign forces, Russia's space chief said Tuesday, in comments apparently aimed at the United States.
Russian scientists were racing against the clock Wednesday to find a way to fire the engines of an unmanned probe destined to collect surface samples from a moon of Mars, after a post-launch equipment failure left it stuck in Earth orbit.
A Russian space probe became stuck in orbit Wednesday after an equipment failure, raising fears it could come crashing down and spill tons of highly toxic fuel on Earth unless engineers can steer it back to its flight path.
Russian space probe became stuck in orbit Wednesday after an equipment failure, raising fears it could come crashing down and spill tons of highly toxic fuel on Earth unless engineers can steer it back to its flight path.
A Russian spacecraft on its way to Mars with 12 tons of toxic fuel is stuck circling the wrong planet: ours. And it could come crashing back to Earth in a couple of weeks if engineers can't coax it back on track.
It seemed more like a bizarre reality TV show than high-tech international space travel experiment: Six men lived in cramped, windowless compartments for more than 17 months to simulate a mission to Mars.
It was the Soviet Union's own giant leap for mankind, one that would spur a humiliated America to race for the moon. It happened 50 years ago this Tuesday, when an air force pilot named Yuri Gagarin became the first human in space.
As a Soyuz spacecraft slowly rolls to its launchpad on the icy cold steppes of Kazakhstan, even the most seasoned space fan cannot help but be spellbound by the sight.
China recently conducted a space test involving two satellites that rendezvoused several hundred miles above Earth in a maneuver analysts say will likely boost Beijing's anti-satellite weapons program.
"It's a feature of space launch trajectories that orbital adjustments must be made halfway around the first orbit to circularize and stabilize subsequent orbits," Oberg said in e-mailed comments.
James Oberg, a NASA veteran who has written books on the Russian space program and now works as a space consultant, said Popovkin's comments were a sad example of the Russian cultural instinct to 'blame foreigners.'