NASA Cuts Majority of Contact with Russia Over Ukraine Troubles
April 3, 2014 7:42 AM
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They will continue maintaining the International Space Station together, though
The New York Times
, NASA announced yesterday that it is halting many forms of contact with Russian government representatives due to Russia's "ongoing violation of Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity."
Russian and American relations have become a bit strained after Russia annexed Crimea, a Ukrainian peninsula with past ties to Russia. In response, the U.S. has imposed sanctions.
Despite these issues, the two space agencies have managed to maintain a normal relationship. The retirement of the U.S. space shuttle program in 2011 means that the U.S. doesn't have a way to launch astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS), so it depends on Russian Soyuz capsules to get there instead. Russia also benefits because it receives $70 million for every astronaut it launches.
But it seems even the space agencies have problems now, as NASA has decided to sever many ties with the Russian government -- except when it comes to operating the ISS.
"Given Russia's ongoing violation of Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity, NASA is suspending the majority of its ongoing engagements with the Russian Federation," said NASA in a statement. "NASA and Roscosmos will, however, continue to work together to maintain safe and continuous operation of the International Space Station. NASA is laser focused on a plan to return human spaceflight launches to American soil, and end our reliance on Russia to get into space.
"This has been a top priority of the Obama Administration’s for the past five years, and had our plan been fully funded, we would have returned American human spaceflight launches – and the jobs they support – back to the United States next year. With the reduced level of funding approved by Congress, we’re now looking at launching from U.S. soil in 2017. The choice here is between fully funding the plan to bring space launches back to America or continuing to send millions of dollars to the Russians. It’s that simple. The Obama Administration chooses to invest in America – and we are hopeful that Congress will do the same."
NASA is reportedly suspending travel to Russia, teleconferences, visits by Russian government officials to NASA facilities and even the exchange of emails with Russian officials.
The New York Times
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RE: Cold War II
4/3/2014 1:41:04 PM
Because Putin doesn't want all the former soviet states that's why. His mission is to make Russia as strong and as independent as possible. This means not relying on the former republics. That's why in his mind taking a naval base away from Ukraine by force is better then leasing it. That's why he's building a new space center in the far east, so that he can tell Kazakhstan to go take a hike and stop paying them for space launches.
He may be interested in Belarus I suppose, maybe eastern Ukraine. He certainly couldn't care less about western Ukraine (watch how he hiked up the gas prices, he'd rather they freeze in winter I suppose).
RE: Cold War II
4/3/2014 1:55:14 PM
I can buy that, but the flip side of the fuel price argument is that Putin wants to bring the rest of Ukraine to its knees. If fuel's too expensive in eight months, what's to say Ukraine won't give itself up to keep itself warm?
I really hope I'm wrong though.
RE: Cold War II
4/24/2014 9:29:26 PM
I think he's smart enough not to play that card. Right now Russia may be in a short term position to price gouge, but that won't be the case in a few years. There enough LNG plant/transport projects already financing or construction phases to make a serious dent in Russia's gas business. If they are smart, they will start trying to make 20 year deals.
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