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Technology Russia Won't Tell NASA What It's Sending to the ISS

19:44  12 october  2017
19:44  12 october  2017 Source:   popularmechanics.com

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  NASA Fires Rocket High Above U.S. East Coast to Test Supersonic Parachute for Mars Early Wednesday morning, NASA launched an unmanned rocket on a course high above the U.S. East Coast, as it does with some frequency.  1/3 SLIDES © NASA-TV Wallops 2/3 SLIDES © Provided by TIME Inc. 3/3 SLIDES © Provided by TIME Inc. Early Wednesday morning, NASA launched an unmanned rocket on a course high above the U.S. East Coast, as it does with some frequency. Unlike other such launches, however, this rocket wasn't trying to loft supplies up to the International Space Station, nor paint the sky with colorful artificial clouds.

Really it ' s been the silence from Russian officials that's suspicious, a NASA source told Popular Mechanics. Send Your Science Experiment to the ISS . Russia Wants To Break Off From the ISS in 2024.

“We’re in a hostage situation,” former NASA administrator Michael Griffin once told ABC News. It seems Russia is now making good on subtle threats in the last few years to end their space The big question now is how will the United States continue to send astronauts to the ISS after 2018?

An unidentified instrument is visible on Progress MS-07 spacecraft.© Anatoly Zak An unidentified instrument is visible on Progress MS-07 spacecraft. Thursday's early morning launch at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan is a routine one, delivering fuel, water, and food for the six astronauts currently on board the International Space Station. But there's one thing that's definitely not routine. Russia's seven-ton Progress MS-07 tanker will be carrying a secret, a previously unseen instrument attached to the exterior front section of the spacecraft. NASA has no idea what it is.

NASA specialists spotted the unknown gizmo in official photographs of the Progress ship released during mission preparation. Since then, a number of pictures documenting the work on Progress MS-07 in Baikonur also showed the unidentified device, indicating that Russian authorities aren't really keeping it secret. But when NASA asked about the hardware, Russian officials said only that it would be a scientific payload intended for a one-time trip aboard the cargo ship. They provided no further details.

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After NASA imposed sanctions on cooperating with Russia , a Russian official joked that these sanctions would strand astronauts on the International Space Station . The taunts escalated to instructing NASA to teach its astronauts to use a trampoline to reach orbit. Could it work?

In the wake of Russia ' s moves in Ukraine, NASA told Mashable that it plans on decreasing its reliance on the country in order to send humans to A new crew, which includes two Russian cosmonauts and NASA astronaut Steve Swanson, launched to the ISS on a Russian Soyuz rocket on March 25.

The brush-off response puzzled U.S. officials because all five space agencies involved in the ISS have shared information about all the hardware flying to or near the outpost. This is probably the first time in the nearly 19-year history of joint operations on board the ISS that one of the partners is delivering unexplained cargo to the station. (It's not the first time a partner has ran afoul of usual standards and practices. In June, a classified U.S. satellite reportedly made unexplained passes in the proximity of the station and no one is sure why.)

The location of this mystery experiment is familiar at least. In 2014, on the Progress M-24M, a similar spacecraft to the one being sent skyward on Thursday, Russian engineers used the spot to strap on the Otrazhenie-5 (reflection) experiment. This was an optical sensor designed to monitor atmospheric phenomena and its reflective properties. The observations with the Otrazhenie were short-lived, gathering data after the undocking from the station and before burning up in the Earth's atmosphere.

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The additional seats are being worked into an existing contract with Boeing, which helps operate the ISS . The contract extension with Russia was actually announced a week ago, and it was first spotted by SpaceNews, which points out the curious nature of how NASA quietly published the news.

NASA is weighing the risks stemming from Russia ’ s potential reduction of its permanent The Head of Piloted Space Programs, Sergey Krikalev, told Izvestia daily that the standard crew of three “Plans to reduce the crew stem from the fact that fewer cargo ships are being sent to the ISS and from the

Such a study could have military benefits by perfecting reconnaissance and early warning sensors used to track missiles and other military targets. NASA engineers speculate that the unidentified instrument on the Progress MS-07 might be the latest incarnation of the Otrazhenie experiment, even though the hardware looks somewhat different. Really it's been the silence from Russian officials that's suspicious, a NASA source told Popular Mechanics.

According to the latest flight schedule, Progress MS-07 will dock at the ISS just three hours after launch at 5:32 a.m. EDT, cutting in half the fastest flight timeline. The spacecraft is expected to remain docked at the outpost until March 2018.

Anatoly Zak is the publisher of RussianSpaceWeb.com and the author of Russia in Space, the Past Explained, the Future Explored


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