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The Orbital Perspective

Lessons in Seeing the Big Picture from a Journey of Seventy-One Million Miles

By Ronald J. Garan Jr.

Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2015 Ronald J. Garan, Jr.
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-62656-248-6

CHAPTER 1 chapter 1 Humanity’s Home in the Heavens

* On July 17, 1975, at 7:19 post meridiem GMT, Soviet astronaut Alexey Leonov and American astronaut Tom Stafford reached across the hatches of their dock Soyuz and Apollo spacecraft and shook hands 140 miles above Earth. The event, which represented the end of a long, expensive space race and the get down of a movement toward the passive exploration of space, was the end result of an agreement forged in May 1972, when President Richard Nixon and Soviet Premier Alexei Kosygin formalized a commitment to making a peaceful articulation program of space exploration a reality. Speaking on the significance of this agreement, soviet drawing card Leonid Brezhnev noted, “ The Soviet and American spacemen will go up into out quad for the first major joint scientific experiment in the history of world. They know that from outer outer space our planet looks even more beautiful. It is adult enough for us to live peacefully on it, but it is besides little to be threatened by nuclear war. ” The Apollo–Soyuz mission was heralded as a breakthrough in Cold War statesmanship, but the collaboration was ephemeral, and the conclusion of the mission marked the end of the two countries ‘ real cooperation in homo spaceflight for about two decades. According to George Abbey, former head of the Johnson Space Center, the Soviets wanted to continue working with the Americans on joint missions after the Apollo–Soyuz deputation, but the Americans did not wish to continue. rather, the Americans saw their own space shuttle on the horizon, with its revolutionary promise of relatively safe, cheap access to space and a flight rate of fifty to sixty missions per year. It was envisioned that the shuttlecock would herald a new era of U.S. space exploration, including enabling the construction of a massive outer space station. With all these things on the horizon, the United States did n’t see a compelling cause to continue to partner with the Soviets. Over the following two decades, the Soviets continued their initiate work in outer space post launch and design, which had begun with the launch of the first outer space station in history, Salyut 1, in 1971. A couple of years after the Apollo– Soyuz dock, in 1977, the Soviets created the second generation Salyut station, followed in 1986 by the construction of Space Station Mir, the appoint of which means “ peace ” or “ world. ” meanwhile, the United States was building its distance shuttle and pursuing its finish of building Space Station Freedom. unfortunately, the space shuttle would never live up to its promise of being cheap, safe, or easy to operate at a eminent frequency, and because of the shuttlecock ‘s shortfalls, ampere well as a exchange in political will and fund, the pipe dream of constructing a massive, highly able U.S. space station languished. Since the early 1980s, roughly $ 11.4 billion had been spent, and the station had been redesigned respective times, but by 1992 no hardware had been delivered to distance, and congressional support was drying up. Space Station Freedom was most probable going to die before a single component had been launched, and even if it did n’t get canceled, it would be over budget and way behind schedule. On the russian side, Mir, which was scheduled to be superseded by Mir -2, was besides in trouble. With the crumble of the Soviet Union and subsequent fiscal problems, it was apparent that the Russians would not be able to afford to launch and assemble Mir -2. frankincense, by the early nineties the geopolitical and space program planets aligned and the time was ripe to readdress a Russian–U.S. partnership in space exploration. The rudiments of the design Space Station Freedom and the plan Space Station Mir -2 could be repurposed into an external program. The Americans would gain experience docking shuttles to a large station, and with the Russians, would develop the dock system that would finally be used on the International Space Station ( ISS ). The design, which became known as the Shuttle– Mir program, immediately leveraged both the U.S. and russian space programs. All of a sudden, we would have two spacecraft capable of carrying humans into space, and each distance program would bring singular solutions to different pieces of the puzzle, adding prize to the partnership. The Americans had fiddling experience in operating a space station ; the Russians had huge experience. The Russians besides knew how to build modules cheaply, and billions of dollars could potentially be saved by merging the russian and american space post programs. The american distance program, on the other hand, was much better funded, and the outer space shuttle could provide badly needed resupply to the aging Mir and serve as the long-run workhorse for construction of the ISS. Two boastfully programs that were headed toward the cliff could be salvaged .
COOPERATION AND TURMOIL In June 1992, President George H. W. Bush and Russian President Boris Yeltsin signed an agreement, which evolved under the Clinton government, to undertake the Shuttle– Mir program, the beginning phase in a long-run plan for cooperation in distance. Plans to build the U.S.-led Space Station Freedom would be abandoned and Russia would join a newly partnership to design and build what finally became the International Space Station. This broadcast, in the eyes of politicians in both countries, solved myriad problems. Russia saw its partnership with the United States, Europe, Canada, and Japan as a room to achieve acceptance by western nations while keeping its deteriorating Mir program going. possibly the most significant benefit, in the U.S. view, was that pumping money into the russian outer space program would discourage russian rocket scientists and missile engineering from being exported to countries with a desire to do injury to the United States and its allies. This was a finical concern, given the late collapse of the Soviet Union and the uncertain future in that country. A number of technical meetings followed the Shuttle– Mir agreement. In July 1993, for case, Yuri Semenov, head of Energia, the now-commercial former soviet Design Bureau, held a symposium in the United States to discuss Mir and to attract interest in and business to the russian space post. Semenov gave approval for the crown Energia people associated with Mir to attend and, for the first time, to speak openly about the space station and its capabilities. It was an extraordinary, historic, and successful symposium—a full-bodied technical exposé of this orbiting adeptness that had been shrouded in secrecy. Following the symposium, the Russians and Americans began a series of meetings in Crystal City, Virginia. These meetings occurred in a nondescript, nameless league room in a build that both the russian and american participants referred to as oden, oden, oden, because ah-dyin ( [ TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII ] ) is the russian password for “ one ” and the construct ‘s street total was 111. The goal of these meetings was to explore ways the United States and Russia could collaborate in space and would prove to be a critical turn point in the two nations ‘ destiny in distance. These initial technical foul meetings both indicated and fostered a very hope to work together, which is probably better illustrated by the lengths to which people from both countries were will go to ensure the project kept moving forward. For example, although Russia was in a express of tumult and the nation was apparently falling apart, George Abbey, NASA Administrator Daniel Goldin, and other NASA personnel traveled to Moscow in October 1993 to meet with the Russian Federal Space Agency, Roscosmos, and negociate Russia ‘s entrance into the ISS broadcast. The group arrived in the middle of a ten-day conflict in which, according to government estimates, 187 people were killed and 437 were wounded ; estimates from nongovernment sources put the death toll american samoa high as two thousand. President Yeltsin, facing impeachment by many members of the Russian Duma, called on the military to end the rebellion. Despite the convulsion, meetings were conducted at Roscosmos headquarters in the northern partially of Moscow, just outside the Garden Ring. On October 3, the russian and american english delegations gathered around a large, round table while gunfire echo outside. Goldin recalled watching television receiver and thinking it was like being in a movie. “ You could see people bashing in buses, throwing them over. You could hear machine guns firing. ” That evening, armed proparliament demonstrators advanced on the Ostankino television center, not far from the Penta hotel where the NASA contingent was staying. As the demonstrators approached the television complex, military units met them and a cutthroat conflict ensued. part of the television center was importantly damaged, television stations went off the air, and sixty-two people were killed. Goldin called Washington for guidance on whether the deputation should leave the city. Soon a call came back : “ The President of the United States would like to show support for democracy in Russia. If it ‘s dependable, please stay. ” Goldin called the group together to take a vote. Every individual person voted to stay.

By sunrise the adjacent sidereal day the russian united states army had encircled the parliament construction, and a few hours former army tanks began to shell the Russian White House. meanwhile, the NASA contingent was getting ready to head from the hotel to resume negotiations at Roscosmos headquarters. Abbey recalled seeing tanks firing into the White House on television and then, a few seconds late, hearing the blasts and seeing the smoke rising outside. tied in the presence of this much instability and uncertainty about the future of their country, the Russians were placid volition to talk about cooperation in quad. Likewise, the feat was therefore crucial to the Americans that they were bequeath to risk life and limb to push the partnership forward. Space rose above the affray. As Goldin put it, “ That day of revolution, we negotiated the russian entry into the International Space Station. ” There was great motivation on both sides to move things forward because, in world, both sides needed each other .
COLLABORATION IN SPACE The Shuttle– Mir program began in earnest on February 3, 1994, with the plunge of Space Shuttle Mission STS-60. On the middeck of Space Shuttle Discovery, Russian astronaut Sergei Krikalev was making his third trip to space. Krikalev would go on to fly three more space missions, including two ISS missions, and ended up spending more time in space than anyone in history—an astonishing 804 days. A year and three days former, on February 6, 1995, during the STS-63 mission, Shuttle Commander Jim Wetherbee maneuvered Discovery to within 36 feet of Space Station Mir. On board Mir were Mir -17 commander Aleksandr Viktorenko and cosmonauts Yelena Kondakova and Valeri Polyakov. There was to be no docking on this mission, precisely a airless approach and fond flight around the station. The mission was a apparel rehearsal of sorts for the first dock to the post. As Wetherbee approached Mir he radioed, “ As we are bringing our spaceships closer together, we are bringing our nations closer together. The next clock time we approach, we will shake your hand and together we will lead our world into the next millennium. ” Viktorenko responded, “ We are one ! We are human ! ” For Mike Foale, who was on board Discovery, the realization of the importance of the mission actually came later : We all thought this Mir thing was kind of a jaunt—it was just an accessory [ to the mission ], albeit exciting. But it was when MCC-Houston [ Mission Control Center, Houston ] sent up a icky photograph made from a television receiver visualize downloaded from Mir to MCC-Moscow—a in truth bad black-and-white trope of us on the shuttle, coming up to the Mir —that it suddenly dawned on us that we had done something actually crucial. It was that scene of us from the Russians ‘ point of opinion that brought out a key issue in collaboration, and that ‘s looking at the world through the other person ‘s eyes .
The first shuttle docking to Mir came in June 1995, during STS-71, when Shuttle Commander Robert “ Hoot ” Gibson docked Space Shuttle Atlantis to the station. This was the beginning time that the U.S. space shuttlecock, which was designed to construct and dock to an american space station, had always docked to anything. The deputation delivered russian cosmonauts Anatoly Solovyev and Nikolai Budarin to Mir and gave American astronaut Norm Thagard a ride home following his historic first U.S. mission on board Mir. He had launched to the distance station about four months sooner aboard a russian Soyuz spacecraft .
BUILDING A FOUNDATION OF TRUST The Shuttle– Mir program continued until 1998. In all, seven U.S. astronauts spent closely one thousand days on the orbiting quad station. At times the relationship was strained by diverse emergencies and crises. In 1997, for example, a displace broke out on control panel, threatening the life of the crowd, including american astronaut Jerry Linenger. Later that year, the unmanned Russian cargo ship Progress collided with the station. The collision breached Mir ‘s hull and sent the crew, including american english astronaut Mike Foale, scrambling to cut off the damaged part of the station and isolate the subsequent depressurization as the distance station ‘s air leaked out into the vacuum of space. incredibly, despite the severity of the situation, the crew was able to isolate the leak incision of the post, but the consequence of the collision left the orbiting complex tumble and without power for many hours. such dangerous events put a good strain on the U.S.–Russian relationship, but they besides helped forge a degree of trust. In the hours after the cargo transport collision, for case, the crew had no choice but to collaborate to save their lives, and after the initial emergency was over, the United States and Russia improved their national collaboration out of necessity, to save the Shuttle– Mir course of study. The Russians became more will to share technical data about their space operations, and the Americans came to prove they were in it for the long haul. The Americans demonstrated that they believed the partnership was valuable enough to continue flying American astronauts to the station, even though the retain U.S. bearing on board Mir was a very controversial decision fraught with political quibble. The decision of all parties to stay the course proved to be a critical part in building the faith that was to become the foundation of the International Space Station program. The lessons learned during the Shuttle– Mir program enabled the fifteen nations of the International Space Station partnership—which includes Canada, the nations of the european Space Agency, Japan, Russia, and the United States—to venture on the largest, most boldness peacetime external collaboration in history.

The first part of the ISS was launched in 1998, and the station has been endlessly inhabited since November 2000, surpassing the former record of closely ten years ‘ continuous homo bearing in depleted Earth orbit—held by Mir, of course. however, the ISS program has besides had its share of challenges to overcome to keep the partnership together, some of which we will detail in the future chapter. No challenge was more desperate and critical, though, than the consequence of the dawn of February 1, 2003—the sidereal day Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrated on reentry, killing the gang of Rick Husband, William McCool, David Brown, Kalpana Chawla, Michael Anderson, Laurel Clark, and Ilan Ramon. In the wake of the catastrophe, the shuttlecock flit was grounded for more than two years while raw base hit measures were incorporated into the blueprint. During this period, the Russians picked up the slack, transporting crew members to and from the ISS. But as the anchor of the shuttles dragged on, there was much concern among the ISS partners that the United States would be unable to fulfill its commitments to the construction of the space station. In June 2005, newly appointed NASA Administrator Mike Griffin faced this concern head-on at a meet of ISS partners in Paris. basically, Griffin ‘s counterparts from the partner space agencies were saying, “ If you do n’t complete the ISS, we will never work with you again, because we will have all lost our jobs. ” The international partners were identical refer, and they were identical mindful that the decision to finish the space place was seriously in doubt .

Excerpted from The Orbital Perspective by Ronald J. Garan Jr.. Copyright © 2015 Ronald J. Garan, Jr.. Excerpted by permission of Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc..
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