It's kind of odd when we're getting less spin from the Russians than our own people.
Sure, the Russians are also kind of downplaying the downsides, but they are at least admitting that the recent Soyuz landing had such various problems as:
- --At the wrong angle of descent.
- --Begun upside down.
- --Without communications for 20 minutes because the top was burnt, damaging the antenna.
- --Filled with smoke.
- --Filled with high heat and pressure because the relief valve was burnt up.
- --Unable to be located by transponder, requiring US Defense tracking data to find.
- --280 miles off course.
- --Required local yokels to act as flight stewardesses to assist in two of the three astro/kosmonaut's disembarking.
- --They don't know what caused the problem.
- --Three space travelers are going to need some new pressure suits, because their old ones have probably been, uh, soiled.
And I like that we've got the the whole concept of "space travel is dangerous, and that's not going to stop us, by golly." But downplaying smoke in the cabin as "maybe not smoke, but actually the smell of burning materials" is pretty damned disingenuous of NASA. Look, if the Russian cosmonauts were so stupid that they were going to misidentify smoke, then maybe we don't need to be putting them behind the wheel of the bus we're sending our astronauts up and down in.