Российская наука и мир (дайджест) - Июль 1998 г.
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Июль
1998 г.
Российская наука и мир
(по материалам зарубежной электронной прессы)

февральмартапрельмайиюньиюльавгустсентябрьоктябрьноябрьдекабрь[1999]

      Nature / 30 July 1998
      Russia cuts red tape from research grants

    Российское министерство финансов согласилось отменить инструкцию, согласно которой Российский фонд фундаментальных исследований должен был планировать расходы по грантам на год вперед. Это было очень неудобно как для фонда, так и для получателей грантов.

Russia's Ministry of Finance has agreed to rescind an instruction under which the Russian Foundation for Fundamental Research had been obliged to plan all spending on grants a year ahead. This has been highly inconvenient for the foundation and for grant recipients, who were only able to use their money if they had been able to foresee the need for it many months before.
The foundation was set up by presidential decree in April 1992. It receives 6 per cent of all federal money allotted to science, with about 16,500 Russian scientists receiving its grants. But its present financial situation is bad. In the first six months of this year, it only received 161.7 million roubles (US$27 million) out of the 854 million roubles it had been promised by the government.

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      Nature / 9 July 1998
      No plan to privatize Russia's universities, says prime minister

    Премьер-министр говорит, что правительство не планирует приватизировать университеты.

Sergei Kirienko, the Russian prime minister, has told the heads of Russian universities that, contrary to earlier rumours, the government has no plans to privatize the country's universities. But he has emphasized that his top priority for higher education is the quality - and not the quantity - of the graduates they produce.
Addressing the congress of the Russian university rectors union, Kirienko also said that, if a university wished to produce more graduates than were needed by the state, it would have to find its own resources to do so. He promised that the government planned to pay all the money it owed to universities, and that for the next two months it will cover all their service costs.

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      Science / 17 Jul 1998
      RUSSIA: Relief From Finance Farce?
      • Andrey Allakhverdov & Vladimir Pokrovsky

MOSCOW - When the Russian government earlier this year installed a new system for distributing grants awarded by the Russian Foundation for Basic Research and its offspring, the Russian Humanitarian Scientific Foundation - the country's fledgling competitive grants agencies - many scientists' grants failed to appear, others got only a fraction of their awards, and nobody at the foundations could track what had happened to the money. Now, the government is trying again, with a new distribution system that was installed this month.

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      Fox News Online / July 7, 1998
      Chess Whiz Launching Real-Time Game Site on the Net

    Чемпион мира Гарри Каспаров намеревается создать сайт для шахматистов. "Шахматы принадлежат компьютеру, они принадлежат интернету. Не существует другой игры, в которую можно поиграть в Интернете в реальном времени."

ATHENS - World chess champion Garry Kasparov said Monday he will launch an Internet site for chess-lovers eager to watch real-time matches and a chance to take on grandmasters.
Kasparov's willingness to go online comes despite his well-publicized run-in with the forces of technology last year.
He took on IBM's Deep Blue computer and lost in 1997 in a much publicized machine-beats-man chess game. He has asked for a rematch. The Club Kasparov site, at www.clubkasparov.org, will go live by October with chess news, coverage of events, answers to questions by chess champions and instructions for newcomers to the game, Kasparov told a news conference in Athens.
"Chess belongs to computers, it belongs to the internet," the Russian champion said. "There is no other game that can be played real-time on the internet."
The site, designed by the Greek HellasNet company, will aim to open chess to the public at large and will be completed in time for Kasparov's match with Alexei Shirov in early October, he added. "The club will be open to all and aim to satisfy the curiosity of all people in chess," he said.
Kasparov, considered the best player in the world since 1985, broke away from the Athens-based International Chess Federation (FIDE) in 1993 to found the Professional Chess Association (PCA).

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      Science / 10 Jul 1998
      Baikal Jam Session

    Американские и российские ученые и политические эксперты планируют встретиться в следующем месяце в Иркутске для проведения совместных исследований и подготовки законопроектов, направленных на сохранение озера Байкал.

Hoping to save the world's largest freshwater lake from the depredations of industrial pollution, tourists, and exotic species, U.S. and Russian researchers and policy experts plan to meet next month in Irkutsk, Russia, to plot joint studies and to draft legislative initiatives geared toward protecting Lake Baikal.
Sponsored by the nonprofit Tahoe Baikal Institute, the forum aims to learn from alterations wrought by 40 years of development around California's Lake Tahoe, including a dimming of its stunning water clarity. "Baikal is now at the stage that Tahoe was in the 1950s, just before development really got under way," says UC Davis limnologist Charles Goldman, a forum participant.
Goldman and Valentin Brovchak, chair of the Baikal Commission, hope the forum will lead to the establishment of a government agency to defend Baikal's interests, along the lines of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency. Future forums will be hosted at UC Davis's planned Lake Tahoe Center for Environmental Research, slated to open by summer 2000.

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      Science News / July 4, 1998
      Biocontrols may not work for jellie

    В последние годы в Черном море отмечено появление большого количества медуз (в частности, лопастного гребневика Mnemiopsis leidyi), ранее обитающих в водах Америки. Полагают, что они были завезены с балластными водами из американских портов. По утверждению Тамары Шигановой из Океанографического института им. Шершова в 1988 г. было выловлено 80% имеющихся запасов хамсы, что позволило популяции медуз увеличиться до огромных размеров.

One of the more devastating alien invasions in the past 20 years has been the arrival of a gelatinous American import in the Black Sea and adjacent waterways. First identified in 1982, populations of these comb jellies (Mnemiopsis leidyi) soon swelled to dramatic proportions, contributing to the 1989 crash of the Black Sea's largest surviving fishery: anchovies. That year, the landed catch fell by more than two-thirds, to less than 100,000 metric tons.
Since then, anchovy stocks have begun rebounding-but only because most of the Russian fleet has been too poor to fish, according to Richard Harbison of the Woods Hole (Mass.) Oceanographic Institute. For years, the Russians and Turks had shared the anchovy stocks. "With Mnemiopsis coming in as a third, equal competitor," he said, "the fishery became unsustainable."
Lacking stinging tentacles, Mnemiopsis is not a true jellyfish. Instead, it belongs to the Ctenophora, a family of planktonic animals that depend on tiny cilia to paddle feebly about. Native to salty and brackish coastal areas from Massachusetts to Argentina, the animals glide through the water like graceful, palm-size, luminescent vacuums. Anything smaller that is unfortunate enough to bump into the sticky, mucus-lined lobes near their mouths is devoured.
Though Mnemiopsis can eat fish eggs and larvae, it's unlikely that such direct predation accounted for the anchovy crash, argues Jennifer E. Purcell of the University of Maryland in Cambridge. An expert on Mnemiopsis feeding and reproduction in the Chesapeake Bay, she suspects the jellies instead cut the anchovy stock by eating most of its food.
Moreover, points out Tamara Shiganova of the Russian Academy of Sciences Shirshov Institute of Oceanology in Moscow, the 1988 commercial anchovy catch was excessive, pulling out some 80 percent of the available fish. With such a depleted fishery, the burgeoning jellies had little competition while feasting on the base of the area's food chain.
Though no one knows how these voracious jellies entered the Black Sea, ecologists suspect they were spilled along with ballast water dumped by ships returning from American ports.
The Black Sea contains none of Mnemiopsis' natural predators, so when the waters warm and food becomes plentiful, the invasive colonizers exhibit blooms. In late summer, Shiganova says, fishermen raise nets clogged by the mucuslike remains of Mnemiopsis' net-damaged bodies.
At a recent meeting in Leavenworth, Wash., on controlling established populations of alien marine species, dozens of ecologists debated the relative merits of trying to collect the jellies' natural predators and reunite them with Mnemiopsis in the Black Sea. The most likely candidates for biocontrol include Baroл, another ctenophore that eats only comb jellies, and the butterfish, a fish of low commercial appeal with a fairly catholic diet that includes Mnemiopsis.
Despite near unanimity that the Black Sea is already heavily polluted, greatly overfished, and outrageously perturbed by the recent introduction of Mnemiopsis, most scientists were reluctant to push for bringing in more aliens. They fear that species introduced as biocontrols might move through the Bosporus, a strait in Turkey, and into the Mediterranean-competing with its native species.

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      Fox News Online / July 5, 1998
      Scientists Hope Frozen Sperm Will Revive Mammoths

    Российские, британские и японские ученые участвуют в проекте, цель которого отыскать в Восточной Сибири в зоне вечной мерзлоты замороженную сперму мамонта с тем, чтобы оплодотворить яйцеклетку слона и возродить мамонтов.

LONDON - Scientists are mounting an expedition to Siberia seek out frozen mammoth sperm and bring the extinct species back to life, the Sunday Times reported.
The newspaper said the plan was to use the frozen sperm to fertilize elephants' eggs and breed hybrids.
"Cross-breeding with successive generations would allow the hybrids gradually to become pure genetic copies of their mammoth ancestors," the report said.
The Sunday Times said British, Russian and Japanese researchers were involved in the project, which will hunt for frozen mammoths in the permafrost of eastern Siberia.
Mammoths - large hairy elephant-like creatures - died out some 30,000 years ago but their remains have been found in several places in Siberia.

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      Nando.net / July 10, 1998
      Reader's Digest highlights institute's work to save tiger
      • By JOHN RYAN

    Автор статьи Говард Квигли, который уже давно занимается проблемой сохранения сибирских тигров в российско-американской научной команде, надеется своей публикацией в самом популярном издании Reader's Digest привлечь внимание к этой проблеме во всем мире.

At the end of the Cold War, Howard Quigley found himself where most Americans never dreamed of going: in Siberia staring straight at the carnivorous Siberian tiger. And he loved every minute of it.
"Working in Siberia was, without a doubt, the most dramatic and professionally fulfilling experience in my life," said Quigley.
"The only thing I could compare it to would be the massive hardwood forests of New England, with the ominous presence of the largest cat in the world."
Quigley, president of the Hornocker Wildlife Institute at the University of Idaho, has a special place in his heart for the Siberian tiger and is celebrating due to a July 1998 article in Reader's Digest titled "Saving the Snow Tiger" that profiles HWI's work preserving the Siberian tiger.
Founded in 1985 by Morris Hornocker, the HWI was best known for its work studying and preserving mountain lions in Idaho and other western states. By 1989, Hornocker and Quigley found themselves meeting a delegation of members from the Soviet Academy of Sciences who came to learn conservation techniques for the Siberian tiger, whose numbers were estimated then between 400 and 500.
By 1992, Quigley was part of the first joint U.S.-Russian research team to study and attempt to preserve the Siberian tiger.
He was there when the team captured and placed the first radio collar on a Siberian tiger. Quigley refers to the tiger, a female, as Tiger No. 1, while his Russian colleges named her Olga. The team still tracks Olga today, one of an estimated 300 Siberian tigers in the wild.
Quigley cites two reasons for the endangerment of the Siberian tiger. First, the habitat has been reduced. According to Quigley, 100 years ago, the Siberian tiger roamed a distance equivalent of the western United States. That range has shrunk to the coastline distance between San Francisco and Seattle.
Second, the Siberian tiger has been made the target of Russian and Chinese hunters who were either looking to make a quick $20,000 a head or wanted the body parts to brew folk medicine to cure ailments from impotence to arthritis.
"Ironically, when Russia was a communist state, they took great care of the tigers. When Russia opened up, it was considered to be a good thing, but the hard economic times led to people killing the tigers," said Quigley. Quigley heads to Siberia two to three times a year with his next trip scheduled in the fall. Even today, Siberia presents the stark adversity he first encountered six years ago.
"It's a very difficult place to work in," said Quigley. "I tried to apply the experiences I got from all the other countries I worked in, but it is still a very difficult time. All the things that are needed to run a research lab, like communication and logistics and mobility, fall apart." Now, three Americans and at least eight Russian scientists are on the ground in Siberia, preserving the tiger.
Although Reader's Digest is not the first time HWI has received exposure for its work on the Siberian tiger, it is, by Quigley's standards, the most far-reaching.
"There's no bigger exposure than Reader's Digest with its millions of readers and all the languages it's printed in," he said.
Quigley hopes the article will give global attention to the plight of the Siberian tiger and lead people to help the project by writing to Congress or Russian President Boris Yeltsin. According to Quigley, time is running out on applying a conservation system for the Siberian tiger, due to the struggling social and economic system in Russia.
However, Quigley is hopeful the Siberian tiger can be spared if a conservation plan emphasizing proper natural resources management and extraction without impact on the Siberian tiger or its prey is implemented. Quigley points to a local example.
"After harvesting the forest in the northern Rocky Mountains, we have the highest population of elk ever. Same with the mountain lions. We feel we can apply the knowledge and skills from the northern Rockies and bring it to eastern Russia, where they have no system for conservation," Quigley said.

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    Nando.net - The Associated Press / July 28 1998
    7 nuclear reactors to be removed from Russian research center

    Семь ядерных реакторов должны быть удалены из российского исследовательского центра.

Seven nuclear reactors and radioactive waste will be removed from a leaking nuclear research center in a residential area of the capital, a news agency reported Tuesday.
The Kurchatov Research Institute, which pioneered the Soviet Union's nuclear program, is one of the most radioactive sites in the Russian capital.
Seven reactors and a large amount of waste will be removed from the facility over the next few years, Interfax reported, quoting the institute's president, Yevgeny Velikhov.
The reactors will be replaced by a high technology center that will study telecommunications, biotechnology and medicine.
In the first, seven-year stage of the project, the three most dangerous reactors will be taken outside of Moscow and 4,200 to 4,800 cubic yards of radioactive waste will be recycled, Velikhov said.
The cleanup will cost an estimated $121 million, to be paid by the institute, the federal government and the city, he said.
The institute wants to keep one reactor as a museum exhibit, he said.

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      Reuters Limited / Thursday July 23 1998
      Russian nuke weapons workers strike
      • By Adam Tanner

    Тысячи сотрудников Института экспериментальной физики в закрытом ядерном городе Саров (Арзамас-16) начали трехчасовую забастовку. Ученые требуют выплаты зарплаты, которую они не получают более 4-х месяцев.
    В Арзамасе-16, самом засекреченном ядерном городе в советское время, где жил и работал создатель водородной бомбы Андрей Сахаров, и в настоящее время продолжаются исследования в области ядерного оружия.

MOSCOW, July 23 (Reuters) - Thousands of workers at Russia's top nuclear weapons research centre went on strike for three hours on Thursday, triggering concerns that safety standards may be at risk, officials said.
Ivan Nikitin, head of the strike committee at the Institute of Experimental Physics in the closed nuclear city of Sarov, estimated earlier that 3,500 of its 18,000 scientists and other workers would stop work and rally on the town's main square.
"Some people have not been paid since October 1997," he said by telephone from Sarov. "Most people have not been paid for four months on average."
Gennady Smirnov, the institute's assistant director of finance, said he was concerned about safety standards.
"There are elements of danger in any case," he said. "This is not simple production where workers just come in and sit down on a chair."
Sarov, until recently called Arzamas-16, was the most secret Soviet nuclear research centre and research home of Andrei Sakharov, father of the Soviet hydrogen bomb.
It continues research on nuclear weapons today, and is making plans to conduct subcritical nuclear tests, which do not trigger nuclear explosions, said Igor Kudrik, a researcher at the environmental Bellona Foundation in Oslo, Norway.
"The U.S. has conducted two such tests last year and Russia is working on doing the same things," he said. "This research is concentrated in Arzamas-16."
Scientists and engineers in the most sensitive areas of nuclear research will keep working during the protest, which is another sign of the growing discontent at all levels of Russia's workforce, from manual labourers to rocket scientists.
Many enterprises pay late rather than dismiss workers or face bankruptcy. Labour unrest has been widespread but sporadic.
Smirnov blamed the Russian government for Sarov's woes. "The government owes us money and thus we are unable to pay their (workers') salaries," he said. "The government has not paid more than half of what they promised us." In turn, the government blames wage delays on low budget revenues fuelled by tax dodging.
Most of Russia's 800,000 members of the Atomic Energy Union, which includes scientists and workers in support industries, are not paid on time, said spokeswoman Svetlana Sachkova. At Sarov, nuclear scientists earn the equivalent of about $175 a month.
Prime Minister Sergei Kiriyenko promised funding during a visit to Sarov, 400 km (250 miles) east of Moscow, in May.
Alexander Gutsalov, deputy director of the Federal Monitoring Agency for Nuclear and Radiation Safety, said Russia continued to maintain safety standards despite financing woes.
"It's a blow to morale when people at our sites are not paid on time," he said in an interview. "But if a person's morale is bad we can either keep them from working or can close down the facility - but we haven't taken such steps yet."
But others worry about lower safety standards from strikes.
"Of course they are dangerous," Kudrik said. "It shows that people instead of thinking about their work in laboratories on research nuclear facilities, they are thinking about their families to feed, so of course it contributes very much to the possibility of different kinds of incidents and accidents."
Other nuclear enterprises have held strikes in recent years because of financial problems. Many scientists go abroad to make money but Nikitin said this did no happen in Sarov.
"We are patriots," he said. "We'd go hungry, or be poor, but we won't go and work abroad. We do understand what we represent."

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      Science / 17 Jul 1998
      Russian Academy to End AIP Journals Deal?
      • By Andrey Allakhverdov

    Российская академия наук намеревается разорвать соглашение с Американским физическим институтом, который в настоящее время занимается переводом и распространением англоязычной версии нескольких российских академических журналов, и издавать их самостоятельно.

Over the past few months, the Russian Academy of Sciences has threatened to end a publishing agreement with the American Institute of Physics (AIP), which currently translates and distributes English-language versions of several RAS physics journals, and instead produce the two most profitable journals in its own publishing company.
During negotiations in Moscow at the end of last month, the academy told the AIP it could continue publishing the journals for just one more year if it increases the royalties it pays to RAS by 50%. Russian journal staff claim that an agreement was reached on those terms; AIP officials, when contacted by Science, declined to comment.

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      Associated Press / July 31 1998
      IBM Unit Pleads Guilty

    IBM выплатит штраф в 8,5 миллионов долларов за продажу мощных компьютеров, предназначенных для российской лаборатории ядерного оружия.

WASHINGTON (AP) - An IBM Corp. subsidiary agreed Friday to pay $8.5 million in federal fines for selling powerful computers ultimately destined for a Russian nuclear weapons laboratory.
IBM East Europe/Asia Ltd., the Russian subsidiary of IBM, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Washington to 17 criminal charges. Judge Norma Holloway Johnson imposed the maximum fine allowed under the law, which is designed to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons technology.
Prosecutors said the IBM subsidiary sold $1.5 million worth of computers in late 1996 and early 1997 to a Russian affiliate of a company that had been acting as an agent for the Russian lab, Arzamas-16.
Federal investigators said the IBM subsidiary sold the computers "with knowledge that the computers were destined to Arzamas-16" and that they would be used "directly or indirectly" in research, design and testing of nuclear explosives.
As punishment, Commerce fined the subsidiary $171,000 and suspended its export privileges for two years but said it will lift the suspension during a probationary period after the company promised not to sell computers for nuclear or military use.
Prosecutors said IBM cooperated with federal investigators "and acted in a responsible manner" to resolve the case.

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      Motorola Inc. - News / Thursday July 16 1998
      Company Press Release

      Motorola Vice President Honored for Contributions to Russian University

    Вице-президент и директор Software Technology Center компании Motorola удостоен звания почетного доктора Санкт-Петербургского электротехнического университета за большой вклад в развитие образования и российско-американских научных связей.

SCHAUMBURG, Ill. - (BUSINESS WIRE) - July 16, 1998 - Terry Heng, Motorola Vice President and Director, Software Technology Center, has been awarded the title of Honorable Doctor by the Saint-Petersburg State Electrotechnical University in St. Petersburg, Russia.
The award is based on Heng's countless years of service to the development of education and Russian-American scientific relations. He has been instrumental in launching new directions of research in other scientific and technological centers of Saint-Petersburg.
The Electrotechnical University and Motorola began working together four years ago. Their relationship started due to Motorola's support of educational programs and research in the technological universities in Russia. Not long afterward, an educational and scientific laboratory was established at the University outfitted with Motorola's products including microcontrollers, digital signal processors, software products and editions of engineering literature. Today they upgrade modern technologies aimed at designing and developing the microprocessor systems of assorted applications.
The Saint-Petersburg State Electrotechnical University was founded in 1886, and it has educated more than 70,000 graduate specialists. The University has a tradition of awarding honorable doctorships as far back as 1899, when Emperor Alexander III adopted a Decree on Electrotechnical University. In compliance with the Decree, the University Council of Scholars may award honorable titles to those who have made major contributions to the development of sciences and education. In nearly the last 100 years, the title of Honorable Doctor has been bestowed on only 20 occasions.
A Diploma and Medal of Honorable Doctor of the Electrotechnical University were presented to Heng by Mr. Dmitri Puzankov, University Rector and professor.
"I am very thrilled and honored to receive such a prestigious award from such a distinguished institution. I am positive that the co-operation between the Electrotechnical University and Motorola will continue for a long time, and there will be greater developments in research in the fields of science and technology," said Heng.
Motorola is one of the world's leading providers of wireless communications, semiconductors, and advanced electronic systems, components, and services. Major equipment businesses include cellular telephone, two-way radio, paging and data communications, personal communications, automotive, defense and space electronics and computers. Motorola semiconductors power communication devices, computers and millions of other products. Motorola's 1997 sales were $U.S. 29.8 billion.

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      Elsevier Science / July 6, 1998
      Ninety year anniversary of Deep impact
      • T. Garcia

    Девяностая годовщина падения Тунгусского метеорита.

June 30 marked the 90th anniversary of the largest object to impact the Earth in the last 2,000 years. The object hit ground in the remote region of Tunguska Siberia in 1908 and despite 38 expeditions and many scientific probes the exact nature of the lestial object remains a mystery.
In the first and subsequent expeditions to ground zero, scientists found a well defined crater, but did not encounter any meteor or asteroid fragments. The only people to see the massive explosion was the Tungus people, reindeer herders and a few Russian fur traders.
The object shattered north of the Stony Tuguska River at an altitude of 3-4 miles above the earth. When it shattered it unleased a series of cataclysmic explosions that were heard over a distance of 400 miles. The blast felled trees in a radial pattern in a 1,200 square mile area. It sent up a column of flame and debris visible for hundreds of miles. Fires in the region burned for weeks.
Scientists estimate the explosive force to be 40 megatons of TNT or about 2,000 times the force of the atomic bomb which destroyed Hiroshima. Scientists continue to study the site for its biological impact on the region to better understand the consequences when it happens again.

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      Fox News Online / July 7, 1998
      Russia makes first-ever satellite launch from a submarine

    Россия произвела первый в мире запуск спутника в космос с подводной лодки.

Russia launched the world's first satellite into space Tuesday using a missile fired from a submarine. The German Tubsat-N satellite was put into orbit by a RSM-54 intercontinental ballistic missile fired by a Novomoskovsk submarine in the Barents Sea, Russian news reports said, quoting navy officials.
Russian officials said it was the navy's first commercial space launch. But U.S. space analysts said it was the first time any nation had launched a satellite into orbit from a submarine.
The launch was made while the submarine was submerged, the ITAR-Tass news agency reported, and TV footage showed the rocket firing out of the ocean and into the sky.
The 22-pound satellite, developed by the Berlin Technical University, will provide communication services and also help count animals and relay other ecological information, the reports said.
The RSM-54 missile is a standard weapon of Russian nuclear-powered submarines.
The U.S. Navy has used submarines to test suborbital rocket weapons, but has not launched a satellite from a submarine.

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      Baltimore Sun / July 8, 1998
      Russian satellite launch from submarine is a first

Russia launched the world's first satellite into space yesterday using a missile fired from a submarine.
The German Tubsat-N satellite was put into orbit by a RSM-54 intercontinental ballistic missile fired by a Novomoskovsk submarine in the Barents Sea, Russian news reports said, quoting navy officials.
Russian officials said it was the navy's first commercial space launch. But U.S. space analysts said it was the first time any nation had launched a satellite into orbit from a submarine.

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      Elsevier Science / July 8, 1998
      Satellite launch from Russian Sub
      • T. Garcia

Turning swords to plowshares Itar-Tass reports that a Russian sub successfully launched an environmental research satellite using rocket technology intended for nuclear strikes. This is the first use of a submarine missile launch technology to put commercial satellites in orbit.
The two satellites launched TUBSAT-N and TUBSAT-N1 will gather information about the world's oceans for researchers at the University of Berlin.
The missile carrying the satellites was launched underwater in the Barent's sea. The Russian Navy's launch capabilities may herald the increasing use of military missile technology for commercial use.
Submarines can safely put satellites into orbit away from populated areas, but there is a limit to the weight of payloads they can launch because of missile size which rules out heavy communications satellite or interplanetary probes.

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      Fox News Online / July 7, 1998
      Mir to Be Abandoned Around Mid-1999, Space Official Says
      • By Vladimir Isachenkov

    Российская космическая станция Мир будет покинута космонавтами в середине 1999 года, из-за недостатка средств.

The last crew on the Mir will probably head to the space station in February and remain until mid-1999, Russian space officials said Tuesday.
Space officials had wanted to keep a crew on Mir until the end of 1999, but in recent days several senior officials have said the space station is likely to be abandoned around June, due largely to money shortages.
The final crew is expected to include one French and one Slovak astronaut along with a Russian cosmonaut, the Interfax new agency quoted Boris Ostroumov, a deputy director of the Russian Space Agency, as saying. After a series of near disasters last year, the 12-year-old Mir has been running relatively smoothly this year. However, the main problem now is a lack of cash.
The money problem was so severe that officials were talking about abandoning the Mir after the current crew returns in August.
But last week, the government promised to pay the $600 million it owed for Mir's operations last year, and agreed to extend the station's lifetime until June 1999.
Ostroumov said today that the next crew will blast off for Mir in August as scheduled, Interfax reported.
That crew will be replaced by one last team next February that will help bring the station down, Ostroumov said.
To control Mir's descent to Earth, the Russian space agency plans to launch several cargo ships to dock with the station and use their engines to guide it into lower orbits. Most of the Mir is expected to burn up during re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere, while large pieces will be directed to fall into the sea.

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      Elsevier Science / July 3, 1998
      End of MIR
      • P. Wouters

The Russian space station MIR will be destroyed in the year 2000. The cash-strapped Russian government decided yesterday to invest US$ 100 million over the next year in order to end MIR's life in an orderly way. Last week, space officials warned that the lack of funds could lead to a sudden, and possibly dangerous, abortion of MIR's operations.
From next June onwards, the station's orbit will be lowered. In 2000, the MIR will be orbiting at the lowest possible altitude in the lower atmosphere where it will explode, with the remains expected to fall into the Pacific Ocean possibly near New Zealand. The Russian government will concentrate its scarce space funding on the new international space station.

* * *
      Fox News Online / July 2, 1998
      Russia Sets Early End for Mir
      • By Adam Tanner

Russia decided on Thursday to retire the Mir space station over the summer of 1999, six months earlier than expected, in recognition of the government's acute financial woes, officials said.
Russia's principal partner in space exploration, the U.S. space agency NASA, welcomed the decision which will allow Moscow to focus its efforts on the new International Space Station.
The decision moving up Mir's retirement date from December 1999 came during a meeting between Russian Space Agency Director Yuri Koptev and Deputy Prime Minister Boris Nemtsov.
"At the meeting they decided to end the work on the Mir space station through a controlled, step-by-step schedule by the middle of 1999," Russian Space Agency spokesman Konstantin Kreidenko said. "It's apparently because there weren't funds to fly longer."
NASA has pressed Moscow to bring down the 12-year-old Mir so it can focus its limited resources on the new International Space Station, which is already a year behind schedule largely because of Russian delays.
"NASA's not surprised that Russia has decided to conclude Mir operations in an orderly manner," spokeswoman Kathleen Maliga said.
"During the recent meeting of heads of agencies Koptev told the international partners that Russia has made the International Space Station its number one priority."
The Energiya design firm that owns Mir has stepped up pressure on the Russian government in recent days to come up with more funding or face the possibility that the station could literally come crashing down on their heads.
Under the agreement reached on Thursday, the government will allocate 600 million roubles (about $100 million) for the final year of Mir's life. The sum includes money for a series of rockets to direct Mir to an unpopulated area of the Pacific Ocean.
Viktor Blagov, an Energiya official who is Mir's deputy flight director, said he would have liked the station to fly longer.
"Of course I'm sorry but you have to be philosophical about this," he told Reuters. "I'd like to extend my own life too but, excuse me, we only live as long as we are given."
He said flight planners needed nine months to chart the safe end of Mir, which meant they had been given enough time.
The first module of the new space station - a combined effort of the United States, Russia, Europe, Canada and Japan - is expected to be launched in November.
The first crew of two Russians and one American should go into space in the late spring of 1999, shortly before Mir's retirement.
Russian officials said French and Slovak crew members would be among the last cosmonauts to visit Mir on short missions.
Mir is the longest-serving space station in aviation history and has been a valuable laboratory to research the impact of long-duration missions on the human body and conduct other scientific experiments.
Mir had a near-fatal collision with a supply ship a year ago and then underwent an extensive series of repairs. In recent months, the ageing space station has been relatively trouble-free.

* * *
      The Associated Press / Friday, July 10, 1998
      Russia Launches Satellites

    После нескольких задержек Россия все-таки осуществила запуск одного российского и пяти иностранных спутников, предназначенных для изучения поверхности и атмосферы Земли.

MOSCOW (AP) - After several postponements, a Russian booster rocket blasted off Friday carrying one Russian and five foreign satellites, including an Israeli one.
The Zenith-2 booster rocket lifted off from the Baikonur cosmodrome that Russia leases from the former Soviet republic of Kazakstan. Most of the satellites are intended for studies of the Earth's surface and atmosphere.
The rocket carried a Russian Resurs-O satellite weighing about 2 tons along with Israel's Gurwin II, Germany's Saafir-2, Chile's FASat-Bravo, Thailand's MYSat and an Australian research satellite.
It was the first time that Australia and Thailand had used a Russian booster to launch their satellites.
In 1995, Israel tried to put its Gurwin I satellite into orbit using a Russian booster converted from a military ballistic missile, but it was lost due to the failure in rocket's control system. A separate 1995 launch of the first Chilean satellite atop a Russian rocket also was a failure. The Israel's cube-shaped Gurwin II will help measure the ozone level in atmosphere and carry out laser tests.
Russian space officials have not said how much they charged for their launching services.
The launch had been postponed three times since the end of June due to technical problems.

* * *
      Electronic Telegraph / 22 July 1998
      Russians launch new moon to help them see the light
      • By Robert Uhlig

    Русские запускают новую луну.

RUSSIAN scientists are planning to put what will appear to be a second moon, 10 times as bright as a full Moon, into the night sky above London and other cities in November as part of a scheme to end night-time.
The orbiting space mirror will pass across the night sky quickly, up to 16 times in 24 hours, but will last only one night - Nov 9 - before burning up in the atmosphere. The reflecting spacecraft, Znamya 2.5, is part of a Russian-led consortium's plan which bears some similarities to the plot of the Bond film Diamonds are Forever.
The Space Regatta Consortium, a group of companies led by Energia of Korolev, near Moscow, wants to launch a constellation of several hundred mirrors, each up to 100 times brighter than the full Moon, to cast sunlight from the far side of the globe into the darkest corners of Siberia during the Arctic winter and make city street lights obsolete. But the proposal has alarmed environmentalists and astronomers. Daniel Green, of the Harvard-Smithsonian Centre for Astrophysics, said: "I cringe to think that we could lose the night sky because of all these companies with brain-dead ideas."
David Thomas, of Bangor University, told BBC Wildlife that almost any ecosystem "would get completely screwed up" and that the permanent daylight could cause more Arctic ice to melt. He said plants and animals depended on darkness. He said: "Everything - sex, movement, feeding - is triggered by day length."
Provided that there is little cloud on the night, London, Brussels, Frankfurt, Kiev, Seattle and Quebec are among the cities that will be lit up by what will appear to be a disc between five and 10 times as bright as a full Moon. Some estimates say it could appear to be up to half the size of the Moon. The previous experiment with Znamya 1, a 60 ft wide space mirror, was hampered by cloud. At best, it was only half as bright as the Moon since the reflector did not form a full disc.

* * *

февральмартапрельмайиюньиюльавгустсентябрьоктябрьноябрьдекабрь[1999]

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