Russian Design for a Reusable Rocket Sure Looks Familiar

Conceptual images of Russia’s upcoming Amur reusable rocket.

Conceptual images of Russia’s upcoming Amur reusable rocket.
Image: Roscosmos

Roscosmos is moving ahead with plans to build Russia’s first reusable rocket. Glancing at the design, it appears the Russian space agency doesn’t feel the need to reinvent the wheel, given the vehicle’s uncanny resemblance to the SpaceX Falcon 9.

Roscosmos signed a contract with the Progress Rocket Space Centre to sketch out a preliminary design for the Amur-SPG reusable rocket, reports Russian news agency TASS. The inaugural launch is planned for 2026, when the methane-powered rocket will take off from the Vostochny spaceport in eastern Russia. Roscomos is hoping for individual launch costs no greater than $22 million, with the total cost of developing the system at around $880 million.

As Ars Technica space reporter Eric Berger rightly pointed out in a recent tweet, the new design seems uncomfortably recognizable.

“Russia has clearly decided that if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em with its new design for a reusable booster,” he wrote. “Alas, no flights until at least 2026 means it will be at least 15 years behind the Falcon 9. Russia is lucky SpaceX doesn’t innovate, hah.”

This design, even if preliminary, is clearly inspired by the first and only reusable rocket currently in existence, the SpaceX Falcon 9. In addition to borrowing SpaceX’s overarching design strategy, the reusable rocket will feature landing legs, a faring, and grid fins similar to those seen on the Falcon 9. The reusable second stage will land at predetermined landing pads in eastern Russia and be carried back to the cosmodrome, either by a heavy Mi26 transport helicopter or by rail, according to Roscosmos.

Alerted by Berger’s tweet, Elon Musk responded with words of support, but he also offered some unsolicited advice.

“It’s

Russian state hackers appear to have breached a federal agency



a laptop computer sitting on top of a table: BERLIN, GERMANY - MARCH 01: In this photo illustration artwork found on the Internet showing Fancy Bear is seen on the computer of the photographer during a session in the plenary hall of the Bundestag, the German parliament, on March 1, 2018 in Berlin, Germany. German authorities announced yesterday that administrative computers of the German government, including those of government ministries and parliament, had been infiltrated with malware. Authorities said they suspect the Russian hacker group APT28, also known as Fancy Bear. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)


BERLIN, GERMANY – MARCH 01: In this photo illustration artwork found on the Internet showing Fancy Bear is seen on the computer of the photographer during a session in the plenary hall of the Bundestag, the German parliament, on March 1, 2018 in Berlin, Germany. German authorities announced yesterday that administrative computers of the German government, including those of government ministries and parliament, had been infiltrated with malware. Authorities said they suspect the Russian hacker group APT28, also known as Fancy Bear. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Russia’s 2020 hacking campaigns might have included a successful data breach at the US government. In the wake of a CISA notice warning of a cyberattack on an unnamed federal agency’s network, Wired and security company Dragos have obtained evidence suggesting Russia’s state-backed APT28 group, better known as Fancy Bear, was behind the hack.

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The FBI reportedly sent alerts to some hacking victims in May warning that Fancy Bear was widely targeting US networks, including an IP address mentioned in the recent cyberattack notice. There was also “infrastructure overlap” and behavior patterns pointing to the Russian group, Dragos’ Joe Slowik said. Some of the IP addresses match criminal operations, but Slowik believed Fancy Bear might be reusing criminal tech to help cover its trail.

Security expert Costin Raiu added that an apparent copy of the malware uploaded to a research reposityory also appeared to be a unique combination of existing hacking tools that had no obvious connections to known hacking teams. While that doesn’t definitively link the malware to Fancy Bear, it suggests the attack was relatively sophisticated.

The intruders used compromised logins to plant malware and get “persistent” access to systems on the agency’s network, using that to steal files.

US officials haven’t responded to requests for comment.

While it

Maps From Free-To-Play Russian Game Halo Online Could Come To The Master Chief Collection

In 2015, Microsoft worked with Saber Interactive on a free-to-play Halo game for Russia called Halo Online. It was short-lived, however, as Microsoft canceled it before it even left beta.

The game may get a new lease on life, as Microsoft has teased that maps from Halo Online could be incorporated into Halo: The Master Chief Collection in the future.

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Design director Max Szlagor said in a blog post that included among the many, many other new features that are being discussed for MCC are Halo Online maps. “Is there an opportunity to bring over some of the Halo Online maps? There’s a lot of options out there and it’s all dependent on what’s feasible and everything takes time and has to be measured against the bug list, backlog, and feature priorities,” Szlagor said. “All in all, we are definitely looking towards more goodness and continuing with more seasons.”

The original Halo Online ran on a “highly modified” version of the Halo 3 engine, and Microsoft says it was “optimized for smooth performance” on lower-end computers. Its announcement in 2015 was a big deal given that Microsoft hadn’t released a Halo game on PC in years before then. The game was only ever officially released in Russia, where it was published by Innova Systems, but now it appears people around the world may have a chance at experiencing it.

Given that Halo Online ran on a modified version of the Halo 3 engine, it’s not immediately clear how it might be incorporated into MCC. It’s still early days, of course, and Microsoft is only talking about Halo Online maps in an exploratory means for now.

Microsoft might have canceled Halo Online, but the company believes in the free-to-play model, as it’s been announced that Halo Infinite’s multiplayer will be free.