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

февральмартапрельмайиюньиюльавгустсентябрьоктябрьноябрьдекабрь[1999]


    Nature / V.392, N 6672, 12 March 1998
    Budget blow to Russia's science and schools
    Бюджет ударит по российской науке и высшей школе.

Russian State Duma, the lower chamber of parliament, has at last approved the budget for 1998. Science will receive 11.2 billion roubles (US$1.9 billion), but this is only 2.65 per cent of all budget expenditures, compared to the 4 per cent that is required by law. Similarly, the total funding for high schools will be 2 per cent of budget expenditures - even though the law demands that this should be at least 3 per cent. And, in practice, funding for science and education are likely to be even lower, as the Duma adopted an amendment to the budget law allowing the cabinet to reduce any approved figure by up to 8 per cent to cover the state's debts. One per cent has already been deducted for this purpose.

* * *

    Ведущие российские ученые и руководители церкви встретились в первый раз после революции 1917 года, чтобы обсудить общие интересы. В противоположность 1917 году, когда религия была объявлена "опиумом для народа", сейчас ученые говорили о небольших разногласиях с религиозным учением, а церковные деятели выражали сожаление о недостаточном финансировании науки.

Prominent Russian scientists and religious leaders have met to proclaim their common interests for the first time since before the 1917 Revolution. Unlike 1917, when religion was branded the "opium of the people", the scientists declared little conflict with religious thought, while their religious counterparts expressed concern about the lack of funding for science.
Both were attending a meeting called "Faith and Knowledge: Science and Technology at the Frontier of Two Centuries", in Moscow last week. The Worldwide Russian National Council meeting was organized under the auspices of the Russian Orthodox Church and the Russian Academy of Sciences - a combination that would have been unthinkable only ten years ago.
The Russian Orthodox Church's patriarch for Moscow and the whole of Russia, Alexsiy the Second, said: "Russia is thegreat scientific state, but the present economic crisis has damaged its scientific and technological potential, which means that in the coming century the country will face difficult obstacles."
He added: "Russia's fate is now in the hands of scientific intelligentsia, and whether or not these people are ready to mobilize their abilities and strengths to serve Russia could not but be our church's concern."
The meeting represented the first time for at least 80 years that scientists and clergymen have met in Russia. During the Soviet era, religion was officially discouraged, and one of the major tasks of the Academy of Sciences was to promote anti-religious propaganda.
The situation today is very different. "Science is not in conflict with religion, and religion is also based on rationality, it's a kind of rationality," said Yuri Osipov, the president of the Russian Academy of Sciences. "A process of convergence is now taking place between science and religion; they interact in building the human-oriented values of our culture."
Other speakers supported Osipov by pointing out that more than 40 per cent of scientists now openly call themselves believers - formerly all were considered to be atheists - whereas many clergymen hold scientific degrees from universities, another unprecedented step. Some scientists even compared the act of scientific discovery to a religious experience.
Vladimir Fortov, vice-president of the Academy of Sciences and until this week minister of science and technologies, said that science and religion have much in common; only their methods of understanding the natural world are different. The Big Bang theory, for example, is close to the theological view on the origin of the Universe, he said.
But the Russian Orthodox Church is not entirely enthusiastic about modern science. It strongly opposes any research on cloning not only humans but animals in general, and is suspicious about many other fields of science. "Nuclear weapons, artificial intelligence, information systems and genetic engineering, all contain a "phantom" of enormous danger," said the Metropolitan Bishop Kirill.

* * *

    Тяжелое положение в экономике в первую очередь отражается на российских ученых.
    Автор беседует с выпускником университета, который сейчас работает в Институте физики им. П.Н.Лебедева. Почти половина его сокурсников уехала на Запад и работает сейчас в научных лабораториях. Только около трети его товарищей остались работать в науке здесь, в России. Остальные ушли в коммерческие структуры или занимаются челночным бизнесом. По данным Центра научных исследований и статистики, за период с 1990 по 1997 г. численность научных работников сократилась наполовину. Ежегодно страну покидает от 4 до 5-ти тысяч ученых.

Yevgeny Onishchenko is a rare breed in Moscow these days: a Russian scientist.
Since Onishchenko earned a degree in physics five years ago, nearly half of his university classmates have left the country to pursue scientific opportunities in the West, leaving behind miserly wages and massive research institutions teetering on bankruptcy.
"Only about a third of my classmates are still working here in the sciences," says the bespectacled Onishchenko, 28, a researcher specializing in solid state physics at the P.N.Lebedev Institute of Physics.
Onishchenko's friends are just a small part of a greater brain drain that has depleted the Russian sciences of some of their greatest minds. An estimated 4,000 to 5,000 scientists go abroad annually, says the Russian Science Ministry. Most head for the USA. In fact, Vladimir Fortov, Russia's minister of science and technology, said this year that Russian physicists and mathematicians cover 40 percent of the U.S. need for researchers in those fields.
Since the breakup of the Soviet Union - which generously provided federal funds to scientific research institutes - the number of science sector employees has been halved, from 2.8 million in 1990 to 1.4 million in 1997, says the Center for Science Research and Statistics, affiliated with the Russian Ministry of Science.
This attrition can't all be attributed to scientists fleeing the country. Many - particularly from the younger generation - have turned their backs on the meager salaries and opted for more lucrative careers.
Take Onishchenko's friends, for example. If half of them left to work in the sciences abroad, another quarter stayed in Russia. Some work as shuttle traders, importing as many goods as they can carry from Poland, Turkey or China to resell in Russian bazaars. Others have sought employment as programmers or in private businesses or banking.
"They start out making $600 a month, with the potential to earn as much as $1,500," says Onishchenko. "Among my circle of friends (who left the sciences), one is earning as much as $4,000 a month."
These figures may not seem astronomical by Western standards, but to the average laboratory scientist in Russia, whose monthly salary hovers between $50 and $150, it could mean the difference between a family diet of bread and potatoes and not having to worry about putting food on the table.
Low wages are not the only problem facing scientists. As their institutes struggle to find the money to pay employees, there is often nothing left to purchase state-of-the-art equipment, without which it is difficult to compete.
"We live by the Russian saying "There is nothing like poverty to make a man clever," Onishchenko says. An integral part of his job, he adds, involves repairing outdated equipment. Scientists are managing on enthusiasm and ingenuity, Onischchenko says, "but this can't go on forever."
The plight of the Russian scientist has finally caught the attention of the upper reaches of government. This year, Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin sounded a warning, calling for expanded funding for Russia's scientific institutes.
He warned against trying to economize on the sciences and said research and development will play an integral part as Russia continues on the road to economic stability.
The prime minister says he wants to raise funding levels to more than 4 percent of federal expenditures - up 3 percentage points from recent years.
But for some working in the field, the government's attention is too little, too late.
"People say that the Russian sciences are dying, but that is not true. They are already dead," says Inna Melnikova, a 40-year-old chemist who has been working at the same Moscow research institution for past 15 years. Melnikova brings home less than $100 a month, while her husband, a businessman, makes more than 10 times that amount.
Many of her co-workers do not have the luxury of a wealthy spouse. Workers in their 40s and 50s are finding the going especially rough. Many middle-age workers can't find jobs in private businesses, which often openly specify a maximum age of 35.
Many chemists with doctorates have left the lab to earn more as nannies or maids for foreigners or the growing number of rich Russians.
As a result of the exodus, the halls of Melnikova's cavernous institute, once bustling with activity and ongoing experiments, are empty and silent.
"All the talented people have left already," Melnikova says. She says only half of the workforce at her institute has remained, dropping from more than 2,000 to fewer than 1,000 employees.
Onishchenko's institute has also lost about half its staff, but the physicist says the drop in personnel has leveled off. He, for one, has no plans to leave.
"I would rather work among decent, interesting people and under a director who respects me than receive more money but have to endure a rude boss and be bored by my work," Onishchenko says. "Intellectual work offers more moral rewards than the alternatives that may pay 10 times more."
Besides, Onishchenko believes he has seen the worst. His institute may still be struggling, but last year it was able to raise the average monthly wage to $200. It also was able to make its first equipment purchase in five years - two lasers for $20,000.
Onishchenko does not plan to trade his home for better working conditions abroad. To be a stranger in another country, he says, is not for everyone.

* * *

    Академик А.Трофимук отказался принимать награду из рук президента Б.Ельцина.

Andrei Trofimuk, one of Russia's leading geologists and a co-founder of the Siberian branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, has rejected the offer of a government award for "services to the country". The award is accompanied by a lifetime income of more than 10 times Russia's minimum salary.
Trofimuk, an opponent of the policies of President Boris Yeltsin, said he could not accept an award from someone he blames for "destroying the Soviet Union and launching the present reforms, [which are] disastrous". But the 86-year-old academician is not short of honours. He received six Order of Lenin awards - the highest honour in the former Soviet Union - two Stalin prizes and the title "Hero of the Soviet Union".

* * *

    Запад приветствует уход из правительства России министра ядерной энергетики В.Михайлова, который помогал Ирану получить ядерное оружие и открыто призывал к ядерному соревнованию с Америкой. В Вашингтоне полагают, что, когда Михайлов был министром, русские ученые и оборонные заводы секретно продавали технологии странам, которые занесены в "черный список".

A QUIET cheer has been raised in western capitals over the departure of Russia's atomic energy minister, Viktor Mikhailov, a hated figure in Washington because he engineered the Kremlin's nuclear ties with Iran.
Mr Mikhailov, 63, was the last member of the Russian government who openly called for nuclear competition with America. A nuclear weapons expert with a confrontational style, he was proud to call himself a Cold War-era "hawk".
The Kremlin said that he had resigned his ministerial position after five years to pursue scientific interests. His spokesman said that he was tired of trying to keep the vast, cash-starved Russian nuclear industry afloat.
But he had long been known as a loose cannon, and his independence may have grated on the prime minister, Viktor Chernomyrdin. At the time of his departure he was fighting moves to close one of Russia's two main nuclear weapons centres. He may also have been the victim of a row over who would get the proceeds of the sale of Russian weapons-grade uranium to America, part of a US project to remove bomb-making material from circulation.
Mr Mikhailov is a passionate believer in nuclear power, and he negotiated contracts to sell atomic plants to Iran, China and India, while talks were also opened with Syria. He is said to have signed the contract with Iran without even informing President Yeltsin. Washington bitterly protested at the £500 million Iran contract, on the grounds that it could help Teheran become a nuclear weapon state, but the Russians have refused to give in.
While Mr Mikhailov was in charge of the nuclear industry there were strong suspicions that Russian scientists and defence plants were secretly selling technology to countries on Washington's blacklist.
While there is no suggestion that foreign pressure was the main reason for Mr Mikhailov's departure, it coincides with a Kremlin campaign to counter western claims that Iran is acquiring Russian nuclear weapons and rocket secrets. The Federal Security Service said yesterday that it had thwarted three attempts by Iran to acquire rocket and aviation technology.
The new atomic energy minister was named yesterday as Yevgeny Adamov, a 58-year-old scientist best known for his role in cleaning up the consequences of the 1986 explosion at the Chernobyl power station.
2 March 1998: Yeltsin sacks cabinet ministers 21 February 1998: Russia faces "out of date" arms threat 20 December 1997: Economy "the greater enemy for Russia" 3 December 1997: US confused by Yeltsin's offer to cut warheads 15 May 1997: Nuclear ban seals Nato pact with Moscow.

* * *

    Роль вице-президента А.Гора в комиссии по экономическому и техническому сотрудничеству между США и Россией может дать ему преимущество на выборах 2000 года.

When Vice President Gore took on the task of "reinventing government", he probably wasn't thinking of the Russian government as well as his own.
But today his files include entries on labeling Russian foods, developing the oil fields of the Russian far east, testing Russian children for lead in their blood, mapping the Russian Arctic, privatizing Russian farmland, securing nuclear material from dismantled Russian weapons, cutting the cost of treating Russian tuberculosis patients, writing a Russian tax code and modernizing Russia's air traffic control system.
Those tasks and more have become the domain of the Joint Commission on Economic and Technological Cooperation, chaired by Gore and Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin. In five years, the Gore-Chernomyrdin commission has grown into a bilateral government conglomerate, with officials at many levels working on problems of energy, health, agriculture, investment, space and the environment.
It has put Gore in a unique position for a vice president, as virtual day-to-day manager of one of this country's most important and difficult international relationships.
His role in the commission could benefit Gore politically if, as expected, he runs for president in 2000. He drew extensive television coverage in California Thursday as he toured aerospace plants with Chernomyrdin lauding the "thousands of jobs" created by U.S.-Russia satellite joint ventures that the commission promoted.
Gore could potentially also share the blame if relations between the two countries deteriorate in important areas. So intricately has he become involved in the details of Russian government, administration officials said, that Russian cabinet ministers often ask his help in persuading Chernomyrdin to increase their budgets.
To hear Gore tell it, the stakes of the commission's work are enormous for both countries.
"Let your mind wander out 50 years," he said. "Think about a Russia committed to democracy and a free market, and a source of stability on the Eurasian land mass. That's better for the United States than a Russia seething in anger and despair and maybe experimenting with wrongheaded demagoguery."
Senior officials said the commission operates within the outlines of Russian policy developed by President Clinton and his senior advisers, in particular Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott. But they also said that the commission, with its focus on details, has taken on a life of its own as an anchor of stability in a relationship troubled by disagreements over issues such as policies toward Iraq and Iran.
The commission "is like ballast in the hold of a ship," Talbott said. "It helps keep the ship from capsizing when you have a lot of heavy waves." According to Talbott and other officials, the value of the commission exceeds its specific accomplishments because it has forged working bilateral relationships at many levels that continue regardless of differences on security issues.
That assessment is shared by some critics of the administration's handling of relations with Russia, including Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) and Susan Eisenhower, chairman of the Center for Political and Strategic Studies.
"Relations right now are more strained than they have been in some time," said Eisenhower, who visited Russia last month. "For just that reason, it would be a disaster if anybody called off Gore-Chernomyrdin. A dialogue wouldn't take place without that mechanism."
In addition to the commission's nuts-and-bolts work on technical matters such as defense conversion, senior officials said, Gore and Chernomyrdin - with the approval of their bosses - have developed a separate one-on-one channel in which they address some key security issues.
"He and I have developed a vocabulary of trust," Gore said in an interview during the flight to California. "There is nothing we can't talk about."
U.S. unhappiness over a new Russian law that appears to favor the Orthodox Church over other religions, Washington's distress over war in the breakaway Chechnya region and U.S. objections to Russian exports of missile technology to Iran have been conveyed through Gore-Chernomyrdin as well as through normal diplomatic channels, senior officials said. Chernomyrdin is sometimes difficult to persuade, officials said, but when he is persuaded he can be effective in conveying a U.S. position to President Boris Yeltsin.
Within the Clinton administration, the role of the commission - and of a similar structure Gore has developed with South Africa - has propelled the vice president and his national security adviser, Leon Fuerth, into a position of foreign policy influence rarely achieved at the vice presidential level.
Fuerth, the de facto executive secretary of Gore-Chernomyrdin, is a member of the "principals committee" of senior foreign policy advisers to President Clinton. That designation means he often joins Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Defense Secretary William S. Cohen and White House National Security Adviser Samuel "Sandy" Berger when major decisions are being made.
Fuerth, who has been an adviser to Gore since Gore was in the House of Representatives, is also a member of the administration's Policy Steering Group on the Former Soviet Union, which Talbott has chaired since 1993.
Because Talbott and other officials responsible for Russia policy are briefed before each Gore-Chernomyrdin meeting, administration officials said, Gore has avoided stepping on toes as he ventures into areas normally reserved for the secretaries of state, defense and energy. Gore and Fuerth hear from representatives of state, defense, treasury and other departments whose issues are on the Gore-Chernomyrdin agenda before making commitments to the Russians, officials said.
Clinton and Russian President Boris Yeltsin agreed to the concept of a bilateral commission at a 1993 summit meeting in Vancouver.
On the U.S. side, officials said, the original idea was to seek cooperation in energy, space and high technology issues. Later the agenda expanded and the United States used the format to provide money, technology and expertise to help Russia overcome the legacy of communism and build a modern state.
The Russians welcomed the assistance, but according to Gore they also had a good deal to offer, especially in space technology. "We learn from them, too," Gore said. "There are a lot of things that they do better than we do."
U.S. officials would deal with their Russian counterparts on many bilateral issues even if the commission did not exist, several officials said, but the discipline of the semiannual meetings forces participants to seek concrete results.
Some critics, however, have questioned the importance of the results. Ariel Cohen, a Russia specialist at the Heritage Foundation, said, "These gentlemen, Gore and Chernomyrdin, need to show positive results, so they paper things over."
At a news conference after the commission's 10th meeting Wednesday, Gore expressed some frustration that most people know little about the "200 agreements" he said the commission has reached. Senior officials acknowledge that many are mundane arrangements involving topics of little glamour: agricultural credit, public health statistics, business accounting standards, nuclear power plant management.
There have been larger achievements as well, Gore and other officials said. In one agreement reached through the commission, the United States will help Russia modify the fuel cycle at two nuclear plants so Russia can end the production of weapons-grade plutonium. Another cleared the way for Conoco Inc., the oil exploration and production subsidiary of DuPont Co., to invest millions in developing an oil field in Russia's far north, officials said.
Energy Secretary Federico Peña said the commission helped him reduce opposition in the Russian parliament to U.S. participation in Russian oil and gas projects.
"When I explained to them that our market is wide open and [the Russian company] Lukoil is doing business in the United States, their eyes widened," Peña said. "That's the kind of exposure I would not have had" without the commission.
According to Health and Human Services Secretary Donna E. Shalala, the commission has helped the Russians undertake such public health tasks as fluoridating drinking water and iodizing their salt. In addition, she said, as a result of bilateral cooperation, "open and honest reporting of disease outbreaks has become the norm in Russia."

* * *

    Переговоры США и России по поводу строительства космической станции, похоже, будут напряженными. Из-за недостатка денег запуск 20-тонного основного модуля отодвинется по крайней мере до следующей весны. По этой причине отодвигается и запуск 1-го американского модуля. Заставить Россию поторопиться с запуском не удастся.

When Vice President Al Gore has his biannual meeting with Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin next week in Washington, it won't be all smiles: Expect a tense discussion over more delays in building the international space station.
The station is already years behind schedule, but for the past year one deadline has been sacred: 16 June 1998, the day Russia was to launch the first 20-ton core module. That schedule, it now appears, will slip. The reason is the Russian government's failure to provide funding earlier this month to the Russian Space Agency (RSA) for work on the service module, a key component slated for launch in December. NASA space flight chief Joe Rothenberg said last week that the resulting construction delays would push back that launch until at least next spring. Russian officials claim they can make up lost time, but "we're skeptical," Rothenberg says, as Russia has failed to meet several previous deadlines.
NASA and the RSA are reluctant to orbit the first pieces of the station too far in advance of the service module, which contains important control systems. As a result, Russia likely will have to postpone the June launch until at least August and perhaps as late as October, say NASA officials. That would also put off the scheduled August launch of the first U.S. module. Russia's troubles and the resulting cascade of delays are sure to be a contentious issue at the Gore-Chernomyrdin talks, Administration officials say. But they admit they have little power to press Russia to speed up the work, given the financial troubles dogging the country.

* * *

    Сотрудничество США-Россия: Россия устраняет препятствия к осуществлению международных проектов в области астрофизики и сейсмологии.

Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin appears to have ended a pair of long-running battles that had imperiled major international projects in astrophysics and seismology. Last week, Chernomyrdin pledged that the Russian government would withdraw an earlier threat to sell 60 tons of gallium at the heart of a neutrino detector in southern Russia and signed a decree that will end customs snafus that have dogged a global seismic monitoring network.

* * *

    Грузовой корабль доставил на станцию "Мир" воду, пищу и новый комплект инструментов.

MOSCOW (AP) - A Russian supply rocket blasted off Sunday with fresh food, water and a new set of wrenches so cosmonauts on the Mir space station can open a hatch and take a spacewalk.
The Progress M-38 cargo ship, propelled by a Soyuz-U rocket, lifted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakstan and will dock with Mir on Tuesday, the ITAR-Tass news agency reported. The cargo ship was carrying tools to replace three wrenches broken by cosmonauts Nikolai Budarin and Talgat Musabayev, who had to cancel a spacewalk earlier this month because they couldn't open a stubborn lock on a hatch leading outside. Officials have rescheduled the spacewalk for April 1.
American astronaut Andrew Thomas is to remain aboard Mir during the walk. The Progress also was taking a new hatch lock, a new propulsion system, and the usual cargo of water, food, clothes, fuel, scientific equipment and parcels from crew members' relatives. The two Russians are scheduled to make at least at least five spacewalks by August. They must repair a solar panel on the Spektr module, which was damaged in a collision with a Progress supply ship last June, and replace the propulsion system.
The space station was launched in 1986, and was expected to remain in operation for only five years. But Russian space officials want to keep Mir manned at least until next year, when a new international space station is put aloft.

* * *

    Командир станции "Мир" предотвращает катастрофу.

MOSCOW (AP) - Mir's Russian commander took over the controls today to manually bring a cargo ship into a smooth embrace with the space station after the autopilot system failed just one minute before the docking.
The Progress M-38 cargo ship was 40 yards from the Mir when the automatic docking system failed and the incoming spacecraft strayed from its designated flight path. Ground controllers hoped the autopilot system would readjust the cargo ship. But when it came within 20 yards of the Mir and was still out of alignment, Mir commander Talgat Musabayev was told to use the manual controls. He brought the two space ships together successfully, and on time.
Mission Control chief Vladimir Solovyov said the reason for the autopilot's failure wasn't immediately clear. The automatic docking system has failed repeatedly, and as a result Mir's crews have had to train for manual dockings. During one such practice run last June, a cargo ship slammed into the station and depressurized one of its modules in a near-fatal collision. It was the worst of a string of accidents that plagued the space station last year. The latest cargo delivery included foo, fresh water, fuel and other supplies, along with a new set of wrenches to open a stubborn lock that thwarted a spacewalk this month.
On March 3, Musabayev and his Russian crewmate Nikolai Budarin were prepared for a spacewalk to strengthen a solar panel damaged in the June collision. U.S. astronaut Andrew Thomas, also on Mir, was to stay inside the station during the spacewalk. But they broke all three of their wrenches and still failed to open Mir's exit hatch. The spacewalk is now tentatively set for April 1. The Russian duo is expected to make at least five spacewalks before their return to Earth in August.
Mir, which was designed to last only five years, marked its 12-year anniversary in orbit last month. After several accidents and breakdowns last year, it has been running smoothly in recent months and the crew has fixed most of its problems. Russian space officials want to keep Mir manned at least until next year, when a new international space station is to become operational.

* * *

    Расписание запуска космических кораблей на ближайшие годы.

NOTE: All launch dates presented here are more or less unofficial target dates and are very subject to frequent changes. In other words, don't plan your vacation around a launch date seen here. If you know of any updates or additions to this schedule, please let us know. Recent changes are in bold.

  • March 14: Russian Soyuz-U with the Progress-240 resupply ship to Mir from Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakstan, with a launch time of 5:40 p.m. EST (2240 GMT).
  • March 16: Lockheed Martin Atlas 2 on AC-132 with the UHF-F8 military comsat from pad 36A at Cape Canaveral Air Station, Fla., during a launch window of 4:22 to 5:42 p.m. EST (2122-2342 GMT).
  • March 18: China Great Wall Industry Corp. Long March 2C/SD on the second Iridium mission (2 comsats) from Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center, China. Launch Time TBD.
  • March 19: Orbital Sciences Pegasus XL with NASA's Transition Region and Coronal Explorer (TRACE) solar science satellite staged from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., with a launch time around 9:37 p.m. EST (0237 GMT).
  • March 20: Arianespace Ariane 40 on Flight 107 with the Spot-4 remoting sensing spacecraft from ELA-2 at Kourou, French Guiana. Launch Time TBD.
  • March 23: Boeing Delta 2 (7920) on flight 255 with Iridium Mission-8 (5 comsats) from Space Launch Complex-2 West at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., with a five-second launch window opening at 1:41:54 a.m. EST (0641:54-:59 GMT).
  • Early-April Krunichev Proton (Block DM) on the third Iridium mission (7 comsats) from Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakstan. Launch Time TBD.
  • April 16: Space Shuttle Columbia on STS-90 with the Neurolab Spacelab module from pad 39B at Kennedy Space Center, Fla., during a launch window of 2:19 p.m. to 4:49 p.m. EDT (1819-2049 GMT).
  • April 17: Arianespace Ariane 44L on Flight 108 with the Nilesat-1 and BSat-1b comsats from ELA-2 at Kourou, French Guiana. Launch Time TBD.
  • April 18: Boeing Delta 2 (7920) on flight 256 with Iridium Mission-9 (5 comsats) from Space Launch Complex-2 West at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. Launch Time TBD.
  • April: China Great Wall Industry Corp. Long March 2C/SD on third Iridium mission (2 comsats) from Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center, China. Launch Time TBD.
  • April: Chinese Long March 3B with the Chinastar-1 comsat from the Xichang Satellite Launching Center, China. Launch Time TBA.
  • April 24: Boeing Delta 2 (7420) on flight 257 with Globalstar Mission-2 (4 comsats) from pad 17A at Cape Canaveral Air Station, Fla., during a launch window of 7:21 to 8:21 a.m. EDT (1121-1221 GMT).
  • April: Orbital Sciences Pegasus XL with ORBCOMM-2 mission (8 comsats) staged from Wallops Flight Facility, Va. Launch Time TBD.
  • Late-April: International Launch Services Proton (Block DM) with the EchoStar 4 comsat from Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakstan. Launch Time TBD.
  • May 3: Space Shuttle Columbia landing of STS-90 at Kennedy Space Center, Fla., at 11:07 a.m. EDT (1507 GMT).
  • May 8: Air Force Titan 4B on mission B-25 with a classified military payload using a Centaur upper stage from Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Station, Fla. Launch Time TBD.
  • May 12: Lockheed Martin Atlas 2AS on AC-130 with the EUTELSAT W1 comsat from pad 36B at Cape Canaveral Air Station, Fla. Launch Time TBD.
  • May: International Launch Services Proton (Block DM) with the Astra-2A comsat from Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakstan. Launch Time TBD.
  • May 15: Russian Soyuz-U with the Progress-238 resupply ship to Mir from Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakstan.
  • Mid-May: Arianespace Ariane 44P on Flight 109 with the ST-1 comsat from ELA-2 at Kourou, French Guiana. Launch Time TBD.
  • May 18: Air Force Titan 2 (G-23) with the NOAA-K weather satellite from Space Launch Complex-4 West at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., during a launch window of 11:52 a.m. to 12:02 p.m. EDT (1552-1602 GMT).
  • May: Chinese Long March 3B with the Sinosat-1 comsat from the Xichang Satellite Launching Center, China. Launch Time TBD.
  • May: Orbital Sciences Pegasus XL with ORBCOMM-3 mission of (8 comsats) staged from Wallops Flight Facility, Va. Launch Time TBD.
  • May 21: Boeing Delta 2 (7925) on flight 258 with the Thor-3 comsat from pad 17A at Cape Canaveral Air Station, Fla. Launch Time TBD.
  • May 28: Space Shuttle Discovery on STS-91 for Shuttle-Mir Mission-9 with a Spacehab single module and Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer from pad 39A at Kennedy Space Center, Fla., during a launch window of 8:05 to 8:15 p.m. EDT (0005-0015 GMT).
  • May 29: Boeing Delta 2 (7920) on flight 259 with Iridium Mission-10 (5 comsats) from Space Launch Complex-2 West at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. Launch Time TBD.
  • Late-May: International Launch Services Proton (Block DM) with a Loral comsat from Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakstan. Launch Time TBD.
  • June 12: Lockheed Martin Atlas 2AS on AC-153 with the INTELSAT 805 comsat from pad 36A at Cape Canaveral Air Station, Fla., during a launch window of 7:03 a.m. to 12:04 p.m. EDT (1103-1604 GMT).
  • June 7: Space Shuttle Discovery landing of STS-91 at Kennedy Space Center, Fla., at 2:35 p.m. EDT (1835 GMT).
  • June 9: Boeing Delta 3 with the Galaxy-10 comsat from pad 17B at Cape Canaveral Air Station, Fla. Launch time approximately 7 p.m. EDT (2300 GMT).
  • June: International Launch Services Proton (Block DM) with the PanAmSat 8 comsat from Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakstan. Launch Time TBD.
  • June: Orbital Sciences Pegasus XL with Brazil's SCD-2 spacecraft staged from Skid Strip at Cape Canaveral Air Station, Fla. Launch Time TBD.
  • June: Boeing Delta 2 (7920) with Iridium Mission-11 (5 comsats) from Space Launch Complex-2 West at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. Launch Time TBD.
  • June 22: Air Force Titan 4A on mission A-20 with a classified military payload - likely a signal intelligence satellite - using a Centaur upper stage from Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Station, Fla. Launch Time TBD.
  • June: Lockheed Martin Athena 2 with the Ikonos-1 Commercial Remote Sensing System (CRSS) spacecraft from Space Launch Complex-6 at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. Launch Time TBD.
  • June 30: Russian Proton with first element of the International Space Station - the control module (formerly called FGB) - from Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakstan. Launch Time TBD. (Launch may slip to Aug. 25).
  • July 9: Space Shuttle Endeavour on STS-88 for the first space station assembly flight from shuttle (ISS-01-2A) with Node 1 and PMAs 1 and 2 from pad 39B at Kennedy Space Center, Fla., during a launch window of 12:44 to 12:54 p.m. EDT (1644-1654 GMT). (Launch may slip to Sept. 17).
  • July 15: Arianespace Ariane 503 with the Atmospheric Reentry Demonstator and Hot Bird-5 comsat on third qualification flight from ELA-3 at Kourou, French Guiana. Launch Time TBD.
  • July 15: NPO Yuzhnoya Zenit 2 on Globalstar Mission-3 (12 comsats) from Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakstan. Launch Time TBD.
  • July 16: Air Force Delta 2 (7925) with the NAVSTAR Global Positioning System 2R-3 spacecraft from pad 17B at Cape Canaveral Air Station, Fla. Launch Time TBD. (Launch likely to slip a few months due to cross-link problem with Block 2R spacecraft and health of GPS constellation).
  • July: International Launch Services Proton (Block DM) with a Lockheed Martin Telecommunications comsat from Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakstan. Launch Time TBD.
  • July 20: Space Shuttle Endeavour landing of STS-88 at Kennedy Space Center, Fla., at 8:02 a.m. EDT (1202 GMT).
  • July 20: Boeing Delta 2 (7326) with NASA's Deep Space 1 spacecraft from pad 17A at Cape Canaveral Air Station, Fla. Launch Time TBD.
  • July 29: Lockheed Martin Atlas 2AS on AC-154 with the JCSAT-6 comsat from pad 36A at Cape Canaveral Air Station, Fla., during an approximate launch window of 8:30 to 10 p.m. EDT (0030-0200 GMT).
  • Aug. 2: Russian Soyuz TM-28 with the Mir-26 crew from Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakstan. Launch Time TBD.
  • Aug. 5: Orbital Sciences Pegasus XL with the Tomographic Experiment using Radiative Recombinative Ionospheric EUV and Radio Sources (TERRIERS) and the Multiple Beam Beyond Line-of-sight Communications (MUBLCOM) satellites staged from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. Launch Time TBD.
  • Unknown: Space Shuttle Columbia on STS-93 with NASA's Advanced X-ray Astrophysics Facility (AXAF) and Inertial Upper Stage from pad 39A at Kennedy Space Center, Fla. Time TBD. (Mission delayed due to problems during pre-flight testing of AXAF. Launch could be re-scheduled for Dec. 3).
  • Aug. 22: Lockheed Martin Atlas with the Sky 1A comsat from pad 36B at Cape Canaveral Air Station, Fla. Launch Time TBD.
  • August: International Launch Services Proton (Block DM) with the Telesat DTH-1 comsat from Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakstan. Launch Time TBD.
  • Aug. 27: Air Force Delta 2 (7925) with the Air Force ARGOS, South African SUNSAT, and Danish ORSTED research satellites from Space Launch Complex-2 West at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. Launch Time TBD.
  • Aug. 30: Lockheed Martin Atlas 2AS on AC-141 with NASA's EOS AM-1 spacecraft from Space Launch Complex-3 East at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. Launch Time TBD.
  • Unknown: Space Shuttle Columbia landing of STS-93 at Kennedy Space Center, Fla. Time TBD.
  • Sept. 10: Lockheed Martin Atlas 2 on AC-134 with the UHF-F9 spacecraft from pad 36A at Cape Canaveral Air Station, Fla., with an approximate launch window of 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. EDT (1230-1330 GMT).
  • Sept. 14: Air Force Delta 2 (7925) with the NAVSTAR Global Positioning System 2R-4 spacecraft from pad 17A at Cape Canaveral Air Station, Fla. Launch Time TBD.
  • Sept. 15: NPO Yuzhnoya Zenit 2 on Globalstar Mission-4 (12 comsats) from Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakstan. Launch Time TBD.
  • Sept. 15: Orbital Sciences Pegasus XL with NASA's Wide-Field Infrared Explorer (WIRE) science satellite staged from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. Launch Time approximately 6:30 p.m. EST.
  • Sept. 24: Orbital Sciences Taurus with the Sensor Technology Experiment (STEX) spacecraft from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. Launch Time TBD.
  • Oct. 1: Boeing Delta 3 with the Orion F-3 comsat from pad 17B at Cape Canaveral Air Station, Fla. Launch Time TBD.
  • October: Lockheed Martin Athena 1 with the ROCSAT spacecraft for the National Space Program Office of Taiwan from Complex 46 at Cape Canaveral Air Station, Fla. Launch Time TBD.
  • October: International Launch Services Proton (Block DM) with an undesignated SES 2 comsat from Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakstan. Launch Time TBD.
  • October: Sea Launch Zenit with the Galaxy 11 comsat from Launch Platform positioned 1400 miles southeast of Hawaii in Pacific Ocean along Equator. Launch Time TBD.
  • Oct. 15: Boeing Delta 2 (7320) with NASA's Far Ultraviolet Spectroscopy Explorer (FUSE) spacecraft from pad 17A at Cape Canaveral Air Station, Fla. Launch Time TBD.
  • Oct. 19: Air Force Titan 4B on mission B-27 with a classified military payload - likely a Defense Support Program satellite - using an Inertial Upper Stage from Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Station, Fla. Launch Time TBD.
  • Oct. 29: Space Shuttle Discovery on STS-95 with a single Spacehab module, re-flight of Spartan 201, the Hubble Orbital System Test and the International Extreme Ultraviolet Hitchhiker-3 from pad 39B at Kennedy Space Center, Fla., with a launch time of 2 p.m. EST (1900 GMT).
  • Nov. 1: Orbital Sciences Pegasus XL with the Tri-Service Experiments Mission 5 (TSX-5) spacecraft for the U.S. Department of Defense staged from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. Time TBD.
  • Nov. 8: Space Shuttle Discovery landing of STS-95 at Kennedy Space Center, Fla., at 12:17 p.m. EDT (1617 GMT).
  • November: Air Force Titan 2 with NASA's QuikSCAT science satellite from Space Launch Complex-4 West at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. Launch Time TBD.
  • November: International Launch Services Proton (Block DM) with the Telstar 7 comsat from Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakstan. Launch Time TBD.
  • Nov. 19: Boeing Delta 2 (7925) with the Russian Bonum-1 comsat from Cape Canaveral Air Station, Fla. Launch Time TBD.
  • November: Lockheed Martin Athena 2 with the Ikonos-2 Commercial Remote Sensing System (CRSS) spacecraft from Space Launch Complex-6 at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. Launch Time TBD.
  • Nov. 24: Lockheed Martin Atlas 2AS on AC-155 with an ICO payload from pad 36A at Cape Canaveral Air Station, Fla. Launch Time TBD.
  • Dec. 1: Russian Proton with the Service Module for the international space station from Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakstan. Launch Time TBD. (Launch may slip to Feb. 2, 1999).
  • Early Dec.: NPO Yuzhnoya Zenit 2 on Globalstar Mission-5 (12 comsats) from Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakstan. Launch Time TBD.
  • December: Boeing Delta 2 (7920) with Landsat-7 from Space Launch Complex-2 West at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. Launch Time TBD.
  • Dec. 8: Space Shuttle Endeavour on STS-96 on space station assembly flight ISS-02-2A.1 for logistics and outfitting using a Spacehab double module from pad 39A at Kennedy Space Center, Fla., with a launch time of 10:09 p.m. EST (0309 GMT). (Must launch after the Service Module).
  • December: International Launch Services Proton (Block DM) with the LMI-1 comsat from Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakstan. Launch Time TBD.
  • Dec. 10: Boeing Delta 2 (7425) with NASA's Mars Climate Orbiter spacecraft from pad 17A at Cape Canaveral Air Station, Fla. Launch Time TBD.
  • Dec. 17: Lockheed Martin Atlas on AC-201 with a Loral payload from pad 36B at Cape Canaveral Air Station, Fla. Launch Time TBD.
  • Dec. 18: Space Shuttle Endeavour landing of STS-96 at Kennedy Space Center, Fla. Landing Time TBD.
  • Dec. 21: Air Force Titan 4B on mission B-32 with a classified military payload - likely a signal intelligence satellite - using a Centaur upper stage from Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Station, Fla., during a launch period of 7:25 to 11:25 p.m. EST (0025-0425 GMT).

Long range target dates for space shuttle missions:
1999
  • Jan. 14: STS-92 Atlantis, space station assembly flight, ISS-3. Z1 Truss, PMA-3. Three-person permanent habitation. Launch Time: 7:26 a.m. EST (1226 GMT).
  • April 8: STS-97 Discovery, space station assembly flight, ISS-4. P6, PV Module.
  • May 20: TS-98 Endeavour, space station assembly flight, ISS-5. U.S. Lab, Lab PDGF.
  • June 30: STS-99 Atlantis, space station assembly flight, ISS-6. MPLM, SLP, Crew Rotation.
  • Aug. 12: STS-100 Discovery, space station assembly flight, ISS-7. Airlock, SLDP-1. Phase 2 Complete.
  • Sept. 23: STS-101 Columbia, Shuttle Radar Topographic Mission.
  • Nov. 4: STS-102 Atlantis, space station assembly flight, ISS-8. Logistics & Outfitting. ICM would likely fly on this mission.
  • Dec. 2: STS-103 Endeavour, Hubble Space Telescope servicing mission No. 3.
2000
  • Jan. 13: STS-104 Discovery, space station assembly flight, ISS-9-UF-1. MPLM, PV Module Batteries.
  • Feb. 10: STS-105 Endeavour, space station assembly flight, ISS-10. ITS S0, MT, Airlock Spur.
  • March 16: STS-106 Atlantis, space station assembly flight, ISS-11-UF-2. MPLM, MBS, Lab System.
  • May 4: STS-107 Columbia, Spacehab science double reseach module.
  • June 15: STS-108 Endeavour, space station assembly flight, ISS-12. ITS-S1, CETA Cart A.
  • July 20: STS-109 Atlantis, space station assembly flight, ISS-13. SPP w/four solar arrays.
  • Sept. 14: STS-110 Columbia, reimbursable mission.
  • Oct. 26: STS-111 Endeavour, space station assembly flight, ISS-14. ITS P1, CETA Cart B.
  • Nov. 30: STS-112 Atlantis, space station assembly flight, ISS-15. ITS P3, PV Module P4.
2001
  • Feb. 8: STS-113 Columbia, ACRV (X-38) Demonstration.
  • March 15: STS-114 Endeavour, space station assembly flight, ISS-16. ITS S3, PV Module S4.
  • April 12: STS-115 Atlantis, space station assembly flight, ISS-17. Node 2, nitrogen tank.
  • May 10: STS-116 Discovery, space station assembly flight, ISS-18. JEM ELM PS, ITS P5.
  • June 21: STS-117 Columbia, science research module.
  • Aug. 23: STS-118 Atlantis, space station assembly flight, ISS-19. JEM PM; JEM RMS.
  • Sept. 27: STS-119 Discovery, space station assembly flight, ISS-20-UF-3. MPLM.
  • Nov. 8: STS-120 Columbia, reimbursable mission.
2002
  • Jan. 17: STS-121 Atlantis, space station assembly flight, ISS-21-UF-4. AMS, XPP, SLP.
  • Feb. 14: STS-122 Discovery, space station assembly flight, ISS-22. JEM EF, ELM ES, PV Mod. Batts.
  • April 4: STS-123 Columbia, Microgravity Science Payload-1.
  • May 23: STS-124 Atlantis, space station assembly flight, ISS-23. Cupola, Port Rails, 4 SPP Arrays.
  • June 20: STS-125 Discovery, space station assembly flight, ISS-24-UF-5. MPLM, XPP.
  • July 18: STS-126 Endeavour, space station assembly flight, ISS-25.
  • Aug. 15: STS-127 Columbia, Hubble Space Telescope servicing mission No. 4.
  • Oct. 24: STS-128 Discovery, space station assembly flight, ISS-26.
  • Nov. 21: STS-129 Endeavour, space station assembly flight, ISS-27.
2003
  • Jan. 16: STS-130 Columbia, reimbursable mission.
  • March 13: STS-131 Discovery, space station assembly flight, ISS-28.
  • April 24: STS-132 Endeavour, space station assembly flight, ISS-29.
  • June 12: STS-133 Columbia, research mission.
  • July 24: STS-134 Discovery, space station assembly flight, ISS-30.
  • Aug. 28: STS-135 Atlantis, space station assembly flight, ISS-31.
  • October: STS-136 Endeavour, space station assembly flight, ISS-32.
  • November: STS-137 Discovery, space station assembly flight, ISS-33.
* * *

Control of space has become a prime concern of Pentagon planners and policymakers as intelligence collection and weapons delivery systems become more dependent on satellites, the commander-in-chief of the U.S. Space Command told a Senate Armed Services subcommittee last week.
"Protection of our vital space systems is critical if they are going to be there for the war fighter when and where needed," Gen. Howell M. Estes III told the panel.
There are about 550 satellites now in space, Estes said, half of them American and half of those government-owned. As hundreds of U.S. intelligence, communications and weapons-targeting satellites are launched over the next 10 years, "we must guard against turning our dependence into a vulnerability," Estes said.
Although both the White House and Congress agree with Estes that control of space has become critical to national security, they disagree over the right course to accomplish that mission. Two key congressmen, for example, object to the Clinton administration halting funding for three anti-satellite (ASAT) programs.
At last week's hearing, Robert C. Smith (R-N.H.), chairman of the Armed Services panel, and Sen. James M. Inhofe (R-Okla.) questioned why President Clinton used his line-item veto last October to kill technology research that could have led to two ASAT weapons systems. They asked whether the veto was part of secret negotiations with Russia on an ASAT ban. Estes said no such negotiations were going on or even contemplated.
Discussions have been underway with Russia on a possible reporting agreement among countries that operate ground lasers, according to Robert G. Bell, a National Security Council specialist on defense policy and arms control.
Bell said in an interview that the program, which would deal with ground-based lasers aimed above the horizon, would be much like the reporting system now used for intercontinental ballistic missile tests, where warnings are given by the launching country so that planes and ships stay away from areas where dummy warheads are aimed.
Under the proposed U.S. space laser agreement, laser operators in Russia and elsewhere could ask the U.S. Space Command, which maintains coverage of all items in space, whether the use of laser illumination in a particular area of space at a specific time might inadvertently hit an orbiting object such as a nation's satellite, space shuttle or space station. Space Command already runs such a clearinghouse for American laser operators.
"If such an agreement were reached with Russia," Bell wrote in a recent letter delivered to the subcommittee, "no details about the vulnerabilities of our satellites need or would be divulged."
Bell said the impetus for these discussions came from the recent test of the low-power U.S. ground-based Miracl laser. Although the beam did not destroy the target satellite, it did affect one or more of the target's sensors, Bell said. Estes told the subcommittee that after the Miracl test, Russian President Boris Yeltsin suggested future experiments should not be conducted against another country's space vehicles.
Treaties and laws are already in place to protect the satellites of the United States and other nations, Bell said. For example, under a 1971 agreement, neither the United States or Russia can interfere with each other's space-based missile early warning systems.
But such obligations are not binding in the event of war or self-defense, Bell said.
Smith and Inhofe also questioned the Pentagon's elimination of funding for concept work on an Air Force space plane, similar to the space shuttle, that could destroy enemy satellites.
Estes and the subcommittee's other witness, Keith Hall, director of the National Reconnaissance Office, told the senators they had not been consulted before the president's vetoes. Both said there could have been benefits gained from the three programs that were halted.
However, Estes and Hall testified that more advanced technical efforts were underway designed to protect the space system. "There is no single solution for space control," Hall said.
Bell said the canceled programs represented older technologies that, if developed, would have been used to destroy satellites. Today, Bell said, the United States is looking at new approaches that instead destroy the downlinked ground station of the enemy's satellites. The goal is to shut off access to that data without destroying transmissions to neutral third parties.
One project that provides such a challenge is the nation's $15 billion Global Positioning System (GPS), which provides signals from a worldwide array of satellites to help civilian and commercial users worldwide.
GPS puts out two different signals. One is a navigation tool available to the public; the other, more precise signal is encrypted and used by the U.S. military.
Two years ago, Clinton announced that in order to aide worldwide commercial navigation, allowing accurate landings in fog, the United States would make the more precise GPS signal publicly available by 2000, with accuracy down to less than a meter.
Since rogue states or U.S. enemies could benefit from this, the president ordered the Pentagon to develop a countermeasure that would enable the Air Force to jam the GPS signal locally in the event of hostilities. At the same time, the Pentagon has to make certain that GPS isn't vulnerable to an enemy's deception.
The task has proven so complex that Estes expects he may need until 2006 before the president's promise of a fully open GPS can be fulfilled.
Meanwhile, Estes and Hall outlined some of the new satellite systems that are being developed. Infrared satellites, operating in high and low orbits, are being prepared for deployment to give warning about missiles launched anywhere in the world, determine where they are going to land and aim defensive weapons to knock them down, Estes said.
Another new space-based system, the ground-moving target indicator, would spot enemy targets moving on the ground and immediately signal for U.S. weapons to be aimed in the area. That system may be tested within the next five years, according to Hall.
To "enforce the peace" in space, Estes said, the United States will need a surveillance system that can look at other satellites and be able to detect any change in their configurations to see if they have become threats to U.S. space vehicles.
To meet that threat, Estes said, defense systems will be needed to "identify the appropriate target, select the correct response, direct "negation" actions and assess the effect of those actions."
At the same time, he said, these weapons must avoid collateral effects on third-party satellites, not permanently damage the space environment and avoid destroying our own systems.

* * *
    Guardian / 4 March 1998
    Spanner fatigue makes Mir farce of a simple space walk
    • James Meek in Moscow

    Из-за поломки гаечных ключей прогулка в открытый космос сорвалась.

IT was three small spanners for man and one whopping great spanner in the works of mankind's space programme. All that the Mir space station crew needed for a space walk yesterday was a spanner. No Mir detail, however, is a mere detail.
Gripped confidently by cosmonaut Nikolai Budarin, described by Russian mission control as a "physically strong man", the first spanner broke. Then the reserve spanner broke. Then the emergency back-up spanner broke. Then they ran out of spanners.
The hapless denizens of Soviet science's most sophisticated technical creation are now trapped inside it for want of a cheap metal tool. Unfortunately, the cosmic hardware shop will not be blasting off from Kazakhstan for 11 days.
The normally cool chief mission controller, Vladimir Solovyov, lost it yesterday as Mr Budarin failed to loosen the last of 10 bolts on Mir's exit hatch.
At one point Mr Solovyov ordered the loudspeakers in mission control, which allow journalists to eavesdrop on exchanges, to be switched off. "Well, you're not supposed to listen to that. You'll get the news from me," he said.
The news sounded more like the despatch of a breakdown van than a space odyssey. "We are going to put a sufficient number of solid spanners into the next cargo ship and to open this hatch by brute force or by other means such as removing this lock altogether," he said.
The space walk had been to fix an earlier disaster - a solar panel damaged in last June's near-fatal collision. But the cosmonauts and the Nasa astronaut Andy Thomas can now leave Mir only by abandoning ship in the Soyuz escape pod.
Another mission control specialist, Yuri Skursky, said: "They didn't use the right tool this time. It's on the station somewhere, but unfortunately they couldn't find it in time."

* * *
    Физика: Исследования атомов с деформированными ядрами. В некоторых случаях протоны и нейтроны приобретают форму футбольного мяча. Физики начали изучать это явление после того, как оно было установлено для атомов с числом протонов от 51 до 67.

PHYSICS: Evidence of Atoms With Deformed Nuclei Pop quiz: What shape is the nucleus of an atom? If you said spherical, you're right - for almost every isotope of almost every element. But in some weird cases, it seems that the protons and neutrons arrange themselves into football-like shapes. Physicists have been studying these nuclear mutants since their existence was postulated for atoms with between 51 and 67 protons. In the late 1980s, Russian scientists used the idea to explain some baffling behavior of radioactive iodine and cesium.
Now physicists at Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois and colleagues elsewhere have determined that far heavier atoms - specifically isotopes of Europium (Eu) and Holmium (Ho), containing 63 and 67 protons respectively - also have "highly deformed" nuclei.
As reported in Physical Review Letters, the researchers measured the rate at which Eu and Ho engage in a rare form of radioactivity: proton emission. In most cases, radioactive stuff gives off alpha particles, electrons or gamma rays. But a few atoms kick out a proton, and the rate of that ejection depends on the shape of the nucleus. By measuring the atoms' radioactivity rate, the team found evidence of the football form.

* * *

    В результате Указа, изданного президентом Б.Ельциным прошлой осенью, несколько наиболее престижных физических центров должны быть преобразованы в совместные предприятия, которыми будет владеть правительство. Ученые опасаются, что нелегко будет найти коммерческое применение для разработок этих институтов.

As the result of a decree issued by President Boris Yeltsin last fall, some of the country's most prestigious physics centers are to be converted into joint-stock companies owned by the government, a change which some researchers fear will be to the detriment of institutes whose work does not easily lend itself to commercial applications. The new companies will receive no increase in government funds above the current subsistence level, and any additional funds must be won through commercial contracts.

* * *

    Россия вкладывает деньги в завод по производству 3х-мерных компакт дисков, которые способны хранить информацию на 50 отдельных уровнях.

A Russian-born physicist who emigrated from the Soviet Union in 1975 has persuaded the government to invest in a factory to make what he claims is a "revolutionary" three-dimensional compact disc, able to store information at up to 50 separate levels.
Eugene Levich has recruited Egor Stroev, speaker of the Federation Council - the upper chamber of the Russian parliament - as chairman of the company, 3-DOM, set up to produce the discs. When Levich left the Soviet Union in the 1970s he went with his father, Veniamin Levich, a corresponding member of the Academy of Sciences.
Sergey Shcheblygin, one of Stroev's advisers, confirms that the Russian government has deposited money in an account, confirming its intention to participate in the project. Shcheblygin says 3-DOM is not entitled to spend the money, but Levich insists the company can use it as it wishes, a view supported by fellow director Iosif Diskin, deputy director of the population institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
3-DOM will make multilayer fluorescent discs (MFDs), which it claims can store tens or hundreds of times more information than standard discs, but at the same price. According to Diskin, the design of the discs is based on so-called "stable photochrome", discovered by physicists and engineers who emigrated from the former Soviet Union.
This is a transparent organic substance which fluoresces when subject to a laser beam for sufficient time to be detected by a standard photo-receiver. This characteristic makes it possible to superimpose up to 50 transparent layers on top of one another, and to "write" information on each level, which can be read either in succession or in parallel.
The science has been known about for some time in the West, and is said to have been investigated by companies such as IBM and Philips, but the reading-devices needed are so complex that none has made any public commitment to invest in the technology.
"The scientific aspects are sound, but it is still untried as a technology," says Nicolaas Bloembergen of Harvard University, 1981 Nobel prize-winner in physics, who has been recruited to 3-DOM's scientific advisory board. "It appears to work in a laboratory demonstration. The big question is whether it is worth taking the technological risk."
Diskin says production of the discs is due to start in Russia by next summer. But Levich admits that so far all MFDs have been made by hand, and that a production line has still to be designed. Both have told Shcheblygin that specifications are being drawn up for equipment to be installed in the former Control electronic machines factory in Orel, but decline to provide further details.
Diskin says the initial plan is to use MFD for high-definition television, as current DVD discs cannot store sufficient information for a two-hour video. "Our technology is so simple that producing a disc holding a high-definition TV film worth $100 costs us practically nothing," he says. He predicts that in one year, when the factory starts production, it could pay taxes comparable to "the whole budget of Orel district".
The financial backing to the project is complex. The Austrian-registered company Constellation Group owns 20 per cent of the shares in 3-DOM, as well as the capital of two other companies, the US-based Constellation Memory Division Inc., (which owns 20 per cent of 3-DOM shares) and High Technology Projects (14 per cent). Levich heads the first two companies, and Diskin the third.
The remaining capital is held by the Russian district administration of Orel, of which Stroev is governor (33 per cent); the state property foundation (10 per cent); and Moscow State University (3 per cent).
The university's participation is through its Laser Centre, which signed a contract in 1995 with Memory Devices of Maryland, another company created by Levich and Diskin. Under this agreement, the laser centre has developed a two-photon, single beam "bit-by-bit" writing technique, and a fluorescent "page-by-page" reading optical data storage system for use with MFDs.
Levich says that the émigré physicists had a choice of offering the technology to the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory in the United States or the International Laser Centre at Moscow State University.
"The fact that two-thirds of Constellation Group are Russians, and that the Russian workforce is less expensive, were not the main reasons we chose Russia," says Levich. "In the United States, people would not listen to our "crazy" ideas, and kept asking how we had obtained these results while IBM or Sony had failed."
3-DOM's science advisory council is chaired by Viktor Sadovnichy, rector of Moscow State University, and includes prominent scientists such as John Armstrong, formerly chief scientist of IBM, and Mikhail Alfimov, chairman of the Russian foundation for fundamental research.
But Bloembergen says this committee has never met. Promises by Levich that the committee would meet in January, and that samples of the disc would be made available last month, have also failed to materialize. And neither Diskin nor Levich will reveal how to contact the Constellation Group, or any of the companies they have created.
"We are a small group and need to be very cautious surrounded by many powerful rivals," says Levich.

* * *

    Анализ ДНК развеял сомнения по поводу останков последнего российского императора Николая II.

Munich - Following independent DNA analyses by Russian scientists, the government has officially declared that bones found at the site of the execution of the Russian royal family during the revolution do indeed belong to Tsar Nicholas II. Previous analyses comparing DNA from bone samples with DNA from blood samples of distant relatives, conducted in the United Kingdom and the United States, had strongly suggested that the bones were authentic, but had not been accepted as conclusive in Russia. Russian scientists have now completed analyses of mitochondrial DNA from the bones, and of mitochondrial DNA samples from stored blood of the tsar's nephew, now deceased.
But the Russian Orthodox Church is objecting to the government's decision to bury the bones on 17 July, 80 years after the execution of the tsar and his family by a Bolshevik firing squad. Given the importance of the bones as holy relics, it wants further genetic tests to be conducted to be more certain of their authenticity.
Evgeni Rogaev, director of the Laboratory of Molecular Brain Genetics of the Russian Academy of Sciences, and the scientist responsible for the Russian studies, agrees that further tests would be appropriate. Mitochondrial DNA is inherited through the maternal line, he points out, so new tests that can analyse Y-chromosome microsatellites inherited through the paternal line would "help narrow things down even further and put a stop to controversy".

* * *

    Представители медицинского факультета МГУ, Российского Международного центра заочного обучения и Российской школы открытого бизнеса находятся с трехдневным визитом в Ninewells Hospital в городе Данди (Великобритания). Визит организован в связи с началом Международного проекта по здравоохранению Project Hope.

Dundee healthcare managers at Ninewells Hospital are sharing their knowledge with counterparts from Russia who are on a three-day fact-finding visit with Dundee Teaching Hospitals. The visit has been arranged in conjunction with international health education foundation Project Hope and is part of its partnership with Moscow State University's department of medicine, Russia's International Distance Learning Centre and the Russian Open Business School.
The visitors, Anatolii Gubanov, who is a management course tutor at the Russian equivalent of Open University, and Serguei Boiarski, an executive director of the Association of Educational Programmes in Health Care Administration, today toured laboratories at the hospital.
During their visit they will meet chief executive Tim Brett and other management staff to learn about management arrangements in Ninewells and examine practice and arrangements within a wide range of clinical specialities. Project Hope (Health Opportunities for People Everywhere) is a charity foundation based in Virginia, USA, founded by Dr William Walsh in 1958.

* * *

    Продолжительность жизни в России.

Since the breakup of the Soviet Union, the life expectancy of Russians declined to 40-year lows because of rising rates of disease, accidents, alcoholism and other ailments, researchers said yesterday. But following an alarming shortening of Russians' life spans earlier this decade, life expectancy began lengthening again, based on the latest data available.
From 1990 to 1994, the life expectancy of Russian men declined to 57.7 years from 63.8 years, while Russian women's life spans fell to 71.2 years from 74.4 years, researcher Francis Notzon wrote in today's issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.
"In 1995 and 1996, life expectancy at birth increased 2.2 years for [Russian] men and 1.4 years for women, although these are still the lowest [ages] in more than 40 years," said David Leon of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and Vladimir Shkolnikov of the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow.
The two wrote an editorial accompanying a study by the National Center for Health Statistics in Hyattsville showing that even as Russian life spans were shrinking between 1990 and 1994, Americans were surviving longer.
Over the period 1990-94, American men's life expectancy rose nearly a year to 72.4 years, and women's a few months to 79 years.
In Russia, just over two-thirds of the decline in life spans was attributed to rising rates of cardiovascular disease and injuries that included work-related accidents, road crashes, suicides and homicides.
Alcohol-related deaths were blamed for 10 percent of the drop, followed by infectious diseases and liver diseases, as Russia's health care system deteriorated and poverty became more widespread.
"It has been widely recognized that key public health indicators have been worsening [in Russia] since the 1960s... However, until recently the extent to which conditions had been degrading was not well understood because of the lack of published data," Notzon wrote.
"All nations created from the break-up of the Soviet Union have reported a decline in life expectancy since 1990, although none has been as large as in Russia," he added.

* * *

    Американские ученые создали микрофон, с помощью которого можно будет услышать, что происходит на Марсе. Микрофон будет встроен в прибор, разрабатываемый Российским исследовательским институтом космоса. Прибор будет доставлен на Марс в январе 1999 г. на борту Mars Polar Lander.

WASHINGTON - Scientists know what Mars looks like: barren expanses of Oklahoma red dust, rocks arranged as if left by an ancient flood.
But what does the Red Planet sound like?
Scientists will get their first opportunity to eavesdrop on Mars when a NASA space probe lands a microphone there. The instrument will fly aboard the Mars Polar Lander, scheduled for launch in January 1999.
"Who knows what we'll hear," said Louis Friedman, executive director of the Planetary Society, a public interest organization that developed the microphone with scientists from the University of California at Berkeley. "The microphone will add a sense of drama and excitement to the arrival of the Mars Polar Lander."
The device will also prove extremely valuable to scientists studying Martian weather, as well as to aerospace engineers eager to evaluate their devices by the way they hum and squeak on the job in space.
By listening to the movement of Martian dust particles, scientists will be able to infer wind speeds and the prevalence and duration of gusts. Listening to the sky, scientists will hear the intensity of Martian storms and thunder. Coupling these sounds with visual images will produce a much clearer picture of the fiercely inhospitable Martian climate.
Scientists have evidence of massive dust storms on Mars lasting weeks and covering as much as 20 percent of the planet. The Martian microphone would be able to collect data for prolonged periods for intense analysis afterward.
"By hearing the sounds of the dust particles hitting things, you'll be able to infer the size of the particles, and from that the intensity of what's blowing them around," said Dave Curtis, an engineer at Berkeley, who helped design the microphone. "You'll be able to listen to the whistling of wind."
The Martian weather is fascinating to scientists because there is evidence life might once have existed there. And if it did, weather probably would have played a lead role in helping to create it, and eventually destroy it.
Knowing more about the weather there now will help scientists piece together a model of what it might have been like some 3 to 4 billion years ago, when Mars was believed to have been a much more nurturing environment.
Temperatures on Mars now hover 100 below zero much of the time, and the planet is barren. But the riven surface indicates rivers once flowed there, feeding lakes and ponds. It also is possible the planet had a denser atmosphere that would have warmed it.
With the probability of warmth and water comes the possibility of life.
Warmth is necessary because it would have kept water in liquid form. Liquid water, as opposed to ice, is essential in the equation of life because it allows compounds to dissolve, interact and eventually form complex organics.
The Mars microphone may also hear sonic booms from incoming meteorites. According to recent computer models, there is a much richer exchange of debris between the planets than previously thought.
And then there could be the most exciting of all possible sounds: something unexpected.
"If we knew everything we were going to hear, we wouldn't bother sending up a microphone," Curtis said.
The microphone differs from a camera in that it is much more passive.
"When you focus a camera, you're making a decision about what to include, and in doing that you inevitably exclude other things," Curtis said. "With a microphone listening in all directions, you include much more - things you might have missed by focusing in one direction."
The instrument is fairly simple, constructed largely from off-the-shelf parts, including a microphone similar to those in hearing aids and a microprocessor chip used in speech recognition devices.
The microphone will be incorporated into an instrument being built by the Russian Space Research Institute.
It is a milestone for the Planetary Society - the first planetary probe instrument funded by a public-interest organization.
The idea of placing a microphone on Mars was first suggested by the late astronomer and author Carl Sagan.
In a 1996 letter to NASA, Sagan wrote: "Even if only a few minutes of Martian sounds are recorded, the public interest will be high and the opportunity for scientific exploration real."
The Martian microphone sounds, along with a special Mars microphone curriculum for school teachers, will be available on the Internet.

* * *

февральмартапрельмайиюньиюльавгустсентябрьоктябрьноябрьдекабрь[1999]

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