Axanar Axed, Roscosmos Reset, and Falcon 9 Ready to Fire (Again) | Vol. 3 / No. 10

Progress M-22M. Photo: NASA
Progress. Photo: NASA

This week’s a little thinner because I’m in a hotel in Chicago waiting to see two fantastic people tie the knot (hi guys!) but we’ve still got news on a lawsuit against the fan-funded Star Trek movie Axanar, the restructuring of Roscosmos, and the status of that returned Falcon 9 first stage (plus all the usual weekly linkspam), so read on!


Axanar Axed?

Photo: JD Hancock, CC BY 2.0
Photo: JD Hancock, CC BY 2.0

In an unfortunate but ultimately predictable turn of events, the fan-funded production Star Trek film Axanar looks like its days are numbered, thanks to a new CBS and Paramount lawsuit claiming copyright infringement. According to Engadget (who are getting their info from the Hollywood Reporter), they not only want the project scrapped immediately, they also want a jury trial and damages. Because nothing says “we love our fans” like suing the ever-loving hell out of a group of your fans so devoted they make their own fan movie while you’re too lazy to do anything for over a decade. The film’s backing Indiegogo campaign raised over a million dollars to pay professionals to do things like special effects and editing, and numerous actors who had been a part of various Trek franchises were a part of the effort. It’s a real shame that the company couldn’t have taken the high road and, you know, just talked it over with the Axanar folks, maybe arranged a little help and had proceeds go to charity or something. But when you’re part of the failing MPAA-driven movie industry, apparently everything looks like a good chance to drive away fans. Seems like a nice way to get Streisanded to me. You can read the full filing here.

Oh, and did I mention they only realized they were being sued when it hit the news this week? Nicely done, CBS and Paramount. Stay classy.


A Russian Proton-M rocket being readied for launch | Photo: Alex Lane, CC BY-SA 2.0
A Russian Proton-M rocket being readied for launch | Photo: Alex Lane, CC BY-SA 2.0

Roscosmos is dead; long live Roscosmos. December 31, 2015 marked the last day of existence for the Russian Federal Space Agency, commonly known as Roscosmos. In its place is… Roscosmos. Or The Roscosmos State Corporation for Space Activities. Back in 2013, as a result of the problems with reliability and economic feasibility of the Russian space program, the Russian United Rocket and Space Corporation was created as the first step in re-nationalizing the space sector of the Russian economy. As of this week, it has been folded into what remains of the “space agency” incarnation of Rosocosmos, and together they now form the “state corporation” incarnation. While there will certainly be internal restructuring, it’s not especially clear what the change will entail, if anything, to normal operations, including the launches of Soyuz capsules to the International Space Station. But with the price per seat skyrocketing to over seventy-five million dollars on the Soyuz, and SpaceX’s crewed Dragon capsule possibly as few as a year and a half from its first crewed flight, it’s pretty clear something was going to have to change. Some estimates place the price-per-seat on Dragon at twenty to twenty-five million dollars, and Musk has claimed it could come down to half that with volume. The Verge has more on the story.

Ready to Fire (Again)

The returned Falcon 9 first stage | Photo: Elon Musk
The returned Falcon 9 first stage | Photo: Elon Musk

Speaking of Elon Musk, the word on the street is that the recently-landed Falcon 9 first stage has had a once-over by SpaceX engineers and that it’s ready to be fired again. Now, this doesn’t mean that it’s going back up — now, or likely ever. The plan for the returned rocket engine is for a whole lot of ground-based testing, to determine just what wears out in real-world use. The data from these tests will be used to reach the company’s stated goal of first-stage reuse and dramatically lower costs to orbit. After that, it’ll probably join other SpaceX firsts at SpaceX HQ.


In other news here at This Week In Tomorrow:

Best of the Rest

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