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ASK OCE  June, 14, 2006 Vol. 1, Issue 9


For years, residents in landlocked Baikonur, Kazakhstan, have become accustomed to the fallout associated with living near a busy Russian launch facility. Flaming spacecrafts from the Baikonur Cosmodrome crash to Earth two or more times a month. That’s about to change.

The Russian Space Agency announced on April 16 that all military satellite launches–half of which originate at Baikonur–will be moved to the Pletsneck Cosmodrome in northern Russia. Commercial satellites will still be launched from Baikonur.

Besides the fear of “space junk” crashing through their roofs, residents in the area have complained for years of the ill effects of leftover toxic rocket fuel. A recent photo essay by EurasiaNet shows numerous booster stage and fuel tank wreckage sights, some with children playing atop them.

Though the residents will likely get some relief from the risks of living downrange, the region’s scrap metal dealers will be disappointed. Many of them have been getting rich dealing in salvaged metal from the rockets’ titanium alloy hulls.

Read more about the environmental impact of spacecraft in Kazakhstan.

In This Issue

Message from the Chief Engineer

A View from Outside: Kazakhstan’s Spacecraft Junkyard

This Week in NASA History: Sally Ride Becomes First American Woman in Space

Tim Brady to Lead APPEL Systems Engineering Effort

NASA Engineering Network Comes Online

Recent Launches: GOES-N and CALIPSO/Cloudsat

Getting Ready for the Moon, Mars and Beyond

GAO: DoD Acquisition Reforms Have Not Reduced Problems

Archimedes Archive: The Transatlantic Cable of 1866

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