Sunday Things - Soviet space edition

posted in Links by Cargo Cult on Sunday May 19 2013

Yet more space? Indeedy. This time with post-communist leanings.

Two-thirds the mass of Mir in a single launch.
The secret laser-toting Soviet satellite that almost was - in the late 1980s, the Soviets launched an immense testbed for a laser battle platform into space, a response to Reagan's Star Wars missile defence system. Perhaps fortunately for the world, while the Energia launcher operated flawlessly, Polyus-Skif itself just span right round before immediately re-entering the Earth's atmosphere. But despite the unfortunate ending, its long-lost descendant lives on at the heart of the International Space Station... The article's author, Ms. Teitel, operates the fascinating Vintage Space blog.
The fashion police have arrived and think this operation is awesome.
Orlan Space Suit Training - one of ESA's newest astronauts, Samantha Cristoforetti, being trained in the operation of an Orlan space suit. The suits haven't vastly changed since Soviet times. Rugged, reliable and far easier and quicker to don than the NASA equivalents. And I still haven't found out why they're always a certain off-white putty colour.
The diving bell and the butterfly, floating down through the Venusian murk.
Venera: The Soviet Exploration of Venus - the Soviets (and subsequently the Russians) never had much luck with exploring Mars, but excelled at Venus. Multiple landers making it down to a surface which would make Hell seem hospitable, Don P. Mitchell's website is a treasure trove of near-forgotten information. Definitely look at his reconstructions of surface imagery from original data!

Bonus 2001: A Children's Odyssey corner:

  • 2001: A Space Odyssey - Howard Johnsons Children's Menu - gloriously confused retelling of the film, from 1968. One of my first memories is of watching 2001 on telly. Given how much I remembered of it, from ape-men to EVA pods to space-baby, I must have seen all of it. Aged four. This probably explains a lot.

Article is now closed for commenting.