This important bit of space news was shared by Mr. S.D., and I'll bet you didn't see it on the American media. Indeed, this story, coming from the U.K.'s Daily Mail, is yet another indicator that something strange is afoot in space matters, for it appears within the same time frame as announcements of Russo-American space cooperation. Yet, as this article also avers, Russia is also competing directly with the USA in a new space race to Mars. Here's the story:
Most likely the reader will be struck, as I was, by the sheer scale of Russia's new cosmodrome. Indeed, the references in the article to Stalin's vast infrastructure development projects recalls a typical Russian theme: the obsession with the gigantic, and the attempt to manage everything centrally through the mechanism of the surveillance state. At the minimum, it represents Russia's determination to remain a significant space power, for the Kremlin well knows that space will increasing be a major, if not the principal, measure of great power status in the coming decades.
But the gigantic new cosmodrome raises certain interesting questions and prompts a great deal of our trademark high octane speculation, not the least of which is that the sheer scale and cost of such an enterprise, merely to launch conventional rockets, would seem to be a strong contra-indicator to any idea of a secret space program utilizing hidden technologies and exotic propulsion systems. Why build such a vast complex, if indeed such technologies are anywhere close to practical deployment? I have no easy answer to this conundrum, other than to point out that some of the pictures in the article depicting launch gantries would seem to be capable of doing double duty, namely, launching big chemical bottle rockets... or possibly something else.
There are, however, other indicators that maybe something strange is going on at the new cosmodrome. There are the usual stories, somewhat typical for Russia, of corruption, profit skimming, late paychecks, and missing money. And here's where the high octane speculation comes in. Russia's space program has suffered in recent years from a number of catastrophic failures. Recall only the Phobos-Grunt mission, a mission to the Martian moon Phobos, which was to land, conduct radar tomography, retrieve samples from the moon's surface, and return them to the Earth for analysis. The reader may recall that the probe failed shortly after launch, and that the whole affair was blame on faulty computer hardware. But the reader may also recall that one Russian general opined that the probe was sabotage by the USA, using sophisticated phased array radar to do the trick, an allusion that many thought referred to HAARP. (See my article on this topic here: INDIA, MARS, AND A SABOTAGED SPACE PROGRAM?) So at one level, the cost overruns and endless delays in completing the huge complex might be due to sabotage within the project. This seems unlikely, however, as the Russian government has not yet issued any clear and unambiguous statement that it suspects such.
Then there is yet another feature of the cosmodrome that indicates something might be going on of a covert nature, and that is the fact that an entire small city is being built at the complex. It is this feature that suggests a strong covert possibility for the complex, as similar complexes with self-contained cities were built for Russia's nuclear weapons program and other secret research. And this raises yet another possibility, namely, that the cost overruns, the missing money, might represent the Russian equivalent of black budget money, being syphoned from the project for something else.
The bottom line here is, that howsoever one parses the meaning of this facility and story, we are probably only looking at 20% of the truth; the rest is carefully being hidden. Moreover, it cannot be mere coincidence that the facility is so close to China. This is one that bears watching.
See you on the flip side...