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Soyuz Express Delivery Service!   Leave a comment

A Russian Soyuz rocket launched an unmanned resupply ship to the International Space Station on July 27 to make an express delivery to the orbiting outpost. The vehicle will be delivering food, supplies and the last-minute addition of a repair kit for a U.S. spacesuit that malfunctioned during a spacewalk last week.

The robotic Progress 52 spacecraft and its Soyuz rocket lifted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

The cargo ship is loaded with food, fuel, supplies and science experiment equipment for the six-person crew of the station’s Expedition 36 mission.Among its cargo is a set of tools intended to help the astronauts investigate and patch up the spacesuit that malfunctioned during a July 16 spacewalk outside the orbiting laboratory.

That spacewalk was terminated early after just 92 minutes when water began to leak into the helmet of spacewalker Luca Parmitano, an Italian astronaut with the European Space Agency. Parmitano and his fellow spacewalker Chris Cassidy of NASA aborted the excursion, which was intended to perform maintenance work to prepare the space station for the arrival of a new Russian module later this year.

Progress 52’s express trip will bring it to the space in station in just six hours, docking after only four orbits of the planet — a shorter journey that’s been adopted recently to save vehicles time on a trip that used to take multiple days.

The space station is about the size of a five bedroom house with the wingspan of a football field. The $100 billion facility, built by five space agencies representing 15 countries, has been staffed continuously with rotating crews of astronauts since 2000.

The astronauts currently there include NASA’s Karen Nyberg and Chris Cassidy; the European Space Agency’s Luca Parmitano; and Russian’s Fyodor Yurchikhin, Pavel Vinogradov and Alexander Misurkin.



Kim Jong Il Visits Russia   Leave a comment

North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Il paid a quick visit to one of Russia’s largest hydroelectric power plants on August 21, 2011, and then boarded his armored train bound for Siberia, where he is expected to meet later this week with Russia’s president to press for economic aid.

Mr. Kim, who is said to fear flying, has made armored train his preferred conveyance to Russia in the past. Mr. Kim’s last foray into Russia was a four-day jaunt in Russia’s Far East that was little publicized.

South Korea’s Yonhap news agency said Mr. Kim’s train Sunday left Amur in Russia’s Far East after he visited the power plant, and it is heading to Ulan-Ude for his summit with Mr. Medvedev, which will take place Tuesday at an army base.

Answering the Raptor: The Sukhoi T-50   Leave a comment

Russia’s new stealth fighter jet, the Sukhoi T-50 made its public debut at the MAKS 2011 air show in Zhukovsky, outside Moscow.

General Aleksander Zelin, head of the Russian air force, said he expects the T-50 prototype to be ready in 2013, with “mass-produced aircraft” arriving in 2014 or 2015.

The aircraft is expected to become a staple of airborne defense for both Russia and India, who collaborated on its design, explained Mikhail Pogosyan, head of Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation.

“The T-50 will be the newest main plane both for the Russian and the Indian air force,” Pogosyan said.

The Sukhoi T-50 cost the two governments about $6 billion to develop, with India shouldering about 35% of the cost. It is intended to match the U.S. F-22 raptor.

Russia Proposes Elimination of Visas   Leave a comment

March 10, 2011: Prime Minister Vladimir Putin proposed to visiting US Vice President Joe Biden that Russia and the United States take the “historic step” of abolishing visas between the two countries.

“If the United States and Russia agree to implement a visa-free regime before Russia and the European Union, then this would be a historic step in our relations,” Putin told Biden.

“This would break all the old stereotypes between Russia and the United States.”

Efforts by Russia and the European Union to agree visa-free travel between the two sides have continued for years without making substantial progress.

This appears to be the first time Putin has suggested cancelling visas with Moscow’s main Cold War foe.



2011: Happy New Year! С Новым Годом!   Leave a comment

2011: Happy New Year! С Новым Годом!

Report from Russo-Tajik Summit   Leave a comment

November 25, 2010  [Dushanbe] The Russian military base in Tajikistan is an important factor of stability in the region and proof of mutual confidence between the two countries, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin declared at Russo-Tajik talks on Thursday.

“Cooperation between the defence departments of the two countries and the presence of a full- format, fully-fledged Russian military base in Tajikistan on a long-term basis is a serious sign of mutual confidence between the two countries,” Putin stressed. “This is an important factor of stability in this region, taking into account difficult processes continuing in Afghanistan,” Putin said.

“All of us should do big work in Central Asia so that people could feel confident, be calm and reliably protected there,” the Russian prime minister said.

Putin also mentioned the increasing number of Russo-Tajik initiatives, including the construction of the Sangtuda-1 hydropower plant , which is the most important project underway at present.

Putin To Head “Save the Tiger” Summit   2 comments

November 20, 2010: Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, China’s premier Wen Jiabao and other world leaders will hold an unprecedented summit next week in a last ditch effort to save the tiger from extinction.

Just 3,200 tigers now roam free, down from 100,000 a century ago, and those that remain face a losing battle with poachers who supply traders in India and China with tiger parts for traditional medicines and purported aphrodisiacs.

The leaders are expected to endorse an initiative by the World Bank and wildlife charity WWF aimed at doubling the tiger population by 2022, the next Year of the Tiger under the Chinese calendar.

Putin, who is hosting the “tiger summit” with officials from 13 tiger range nations, will try to thrash out a deal aimed at turning the tables on poachers. China’s Wen and the prime ministers of Bangladesh and Laos are among those expected.

The bid to halt poaching, loss of habitat and tiger-parts trafficking will cost about $350 million over five years. Securing funding for the 12-year cross border plan will be one of the main aims of the conference, according to the WWF.

On the eve of the forum, a rare Siberian Amur Tiger was found dead from poachers’ bullets in Russia’s Far Eastern region of Primorsky, highlighting the greatest threat to the tigers.

Only 300 to 400 wild Amur Tigers remain, according to the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW).

Putin, Russia’s most powerful man, was feted by Russian media in 2008 for saving a television crew from a Siberian tiger by sedating the beast with a tranquillizer gun.