Russia Fights Back Against U.S. Sanctions; Will Deny NASA Access to ISS After 2020
May 13, 2014 4:55 PM
(Source: United Artists)
Russia will also ban the use of its rockets for U.S. military missions
In early April, NASA announced that it would
sever the majority of its contract with the Russian government
in retaliation for its interference in the
At the time, a statement from NASA explained:
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. 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.
However, NASA made it clear that it would still depend on Russia to ferry its astronauts to the International Space Station (at a cost of $70 million per person, per launch) and that the two nations would continue to operate the ISS together. As the situation in Crimea has escalated and Western sanctions on Russia have ratcheted up, the tensions between the U.S. and Russian space programs have also escalated.
In late April, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin joked that given NASA’s inability to launch its own astronauts into space — due to the
retirement of the Space Shuttle fleet
— it should
instead use a large trampoline to reach orbit
Now, things are just getting nasty. Russia is tired of the increased sanctions (the most troublesome for Russia is a recent U.S. sanction that
bars export licenses and revokes existing licenses for advanced technology items
used for Russian military purposes) and is firing back at the U.S. in a way that could jeopardize its future civilian and military efforts in space. Rogozin today announced that:
It will not allow the U.S. to have access to the ISS after the year 2020 (the U.S. wants to
prolong the life of the station until 2024
The U.S. will be forbidden from purchasing Russian
rocket engines to launch military satellites
To the first point, Rogozin asserted that Russia doesn’t need the U.S. to continue its operations on the ISS. "The Russian segment can exist independently from the American one,” said Rogozin. “The U.S. one cannot."
And to the second point, Russia will continue to make its NK-33 and RD-180 rockets available for civilian purposes, but military missions are strictly prohibited.
Russia says that it can continue it operations of the ISS without the help of the U.S.
For its part, NASA claims to be unaware of any “changes” to its already modified arrangements with Russia, and issued the following statement:
Space cooperation has been a hallmark of US-Russia relations, including during the height of the Cold War, and most notably, in the past 13 consecutive years of continuous human presence on board the International Space Station. Ongoing operations on the ISS continue on a normal basis with a planned return of crew today and expected launch of a new crew in the next few weeks. We have not received any official notification from the Government of Russia on any changes in our space cooperation at this point.
In the words of the late Rodney King, “Can we all just get along?”
The Washington Post
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