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: Sure glad
4/3/2014 7:11:29 PM
Another Cold War could include another Cuba...we might not be so lucky, next time.
And did the last cold War
us on the Moon? The problem with a 'space race' is that once you win that narrowly defied goal, you aren't necessarily interested in doing more of the same. We saw that before, too. Why keep running, when the race is over, and the only competitor dropped out and pretended to never have been racing, once it was clear he could not win?
No, we need a broad policy of expanding human presence into space (including, but not
to Mars...some people can't see past the red planet, either) for commercial and research reasons (and exploration is a subset of 'research'), at our own pace, and not go into another national tizzy over what someone else does do, does not do...or is imagined to do.
RE: Sure glad
4/3/2014 7:51:27 PM
I disagree, we need competition in space. Essentials can be socialized, but socialism doesn't spur innovation, just maintains the status quo. In fact socialism despises change and individuality. Space exploration is not an essential, requires innovation, and should be competitive.
RE: Sure glad
4/6/2014 3:41:44 PM
Who said anything about socialism? (You're still referring to government-funded space operations, with government-chosen goals, anyway.)
Perhaps I should have explicitly said this, but my idea of 'a broad policy of expanding human presence into space' includes, indeed emphasizes commercial manned space activities, wherever practical.
As far as I'm concerned, the Commercial Crew program (including Bigelow Aerospace leased orbital stations) will do more to this end than Orion/SLS, by ultimately being self-sustaining and increasingly less reliant on the whims of government and politics (ours or someone else's) just as aviation and seafaring in general already are. That's competition I can well live with.
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