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NASA Space

Russian Invasion of Georgia Might Jeopardize Space Station 515

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the you-can't-get-there-from-here dept.
mknewman writes "Sen. Bill Nelson, one of NASA's biggest proponents on the Hill, is openly questioning how Russia's military intervention in Georgia will affect our access to the space station after the Shuttle is retired in 2010. Currently, NASA is able to use Soyuz vehicles for crew access and lifeboat operations thanks to an exemption from the Iran Non-Proliferation Act. The exemption expires in 2011, only one year after the Shuttle is due to head to the museums."
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Russian Invasion of Georgia Might Jeopardize Space Station

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  • What? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @11:17AM (#24584971)

    The summary makes absolutely no sense.

    Can anyone shed light on what is going on?

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by mcvos (645701)

      Can anyone shed light on what is going on?

      In particular, I'd like to know what non-proliferation in/of/for/by Iran has to do with Soyuz or Georgia.

      • Re:What? (Score:5, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @12:04PM (#24585887)

        Clinton signed the Iran Non Proliferation Act [armscontrol.org] penalizing any country doing weapons-related business with Iran. Russia has been selling missiles and nuclear fuel which meant we couldn't do business with them. Hence the exception.

        The exception was a tough sell the first time and NASA concerned it's dead in the water when time comes to renew it.

      • Re:What? (Score:5, Informative)

        by camperdave (969942) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @12:28PM (#24586329) Journal
        In particular, I'd like to know what non-proliferation in/of/for/by Iran has to do with Soyuz or Georgia.

        Basically, the US pays Russia a retainer for having the Soyuz craft docked at the ISS. The Iran non-proliferation act more or less forbids the US from dealing with any country that trades in arms and weaponry with Iran. Russia has a history of dealing in arms with Iran, so there are provisions and exceptions. I'm guessing these are in jeopardy with the recent conflict in Georgia.
      • Read the shocking essay titled "Welcome Back To the Great Game [wsj.com]" and just published by the "Wall Street Journal" (WSJ).

        The author insightfully wrote, "We could walk away from [savage Russian brutality against Western nations], hoping for things to cool off, and let the Russians impose sway over the lower Caucasus for now. But no one will fail to notice our weakness. If we don't draw the line here, it doesn't get easier down the road with any other border or country. We would be risking the future of Afghan

    • Re:What? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by MozeeToby (1163751) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @11:42AM (#24585465)

      Ok, here goes. Most of the international community thinks that Russia is either over reacting or taking advantage of Goergia's internal conflict with a Goergian province that declared independence. This may lead to repercussions, possibly including not renewing the exemption to the non-proliferation treaty. If the internation community chooses not to renew that exemption, based on what the summary says it sounds like Russia will not be able to launch Soyuz vehicles after the exemption expires.

      Keep in mind that this is based on the summary and a quick look at what Wikipedia has to say about the conflict and it's repercussions. Therefore, I might be completely wrong so this should be taken with a big grain of salt.

      • Re:What? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Master Of Ninja (521917) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @12:01PM (#24585835)
        I'm not sure that even not renewing the exemption (i admit I have no idea the details of it) will do that much. A lot of countries have broken treaties without blinking an eyelid. I can't see much being done against Russia, except issuing diplomatic statements. The UN will be paralysed by Russia's veto, and I can't see China being in a rush to side against Russia (or side for it). Russia and China (perhaps with Brazil and India - the BRIC countries) could just go it alone - they have a lot of the world's population in them.

        I think the Georgians (or at least the president) were completely foolish to try and invade when Putin was at the Olympics and think that he wouldn't do anything. Compounding it is the fact that they seemed to be carrying out (from what I gather from the BBC) seems like ethnic cleansing by firing on the civilian population, and then killing Russian troops in the process. They burnt their bridges to some of their possible allies, who were also allies who being militarily over-extended aren't really in a position to help.

        What I think will happen is that giving it a few weeks people will forget about this. The whole situation will be framed as Ossetians (sp?) are just like Kosovo - they have a right to be independent, and with Russian influence in the region they will eventually become re-united with Russia. The issue of the ISS is just a distraction - everything will stay the same.
      • Re:What? (Score:5, Informative)

        by mea37 (1201159) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @12:29PM (#24586365)

        It's about a U.S. law (the Iran Nonproliferation Act), not an international non-proliferation treaty.

        Congress has expressly forbidden the U.S. from making ISS-related payments to Russia unless it determines that Russia is taking steps to curb proliferation of weapons technoogy to Iran. On something of a "we have to or we're screwed" basis, they enacted a temporary exemption so we could pay Russia to carry our crewmembers to the ISS.

        So when the exemption expires, Russia's authority to launch Soyuz vehicles will not fall under question. US authority to purchase passage on those vehicles will be gone, though.

        So:

        1) If current events create enough antipathy towards Russia in the US Congress, then they may be unwilling to extend the exemption. Essentially they'd be re-enacting an economic sanction even though we don't have an alternate vendor for the service in question.

        2) Even if Congress extends the exemption, there's some question about Russia's ongoing willingness to sell us passage on their rockets (at a reasonable price, or maybe at all) if diplomatic relations worsen.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by fm6 (162816)

        Most of the international community thinks that Russia is either over reacting or taking advantage of Goergia's internal conflict with a Goergian province that declared independence.

        A better way to put it: people think that Russia is supporting Georgian separatists (from two regions, not one) as a means of interfering in Georgian internal affairs, with an eye to resuming their historical domination of Georgia, one that lasted from 1812 to the break up of the Soveit Union in 1990 (with minor interruptions). In the past, this has been limited to giving the separatists military backing and granting residents of breakaway regions Russian Federation passports. Now this has escalated into an

    • by Z00L00K (682162)

      The only considerable problem here is the retirement of the space shuttles. In a way they are dinosaurs of the cold war era.

      Much of the specifications originated from the US military since they wanted the space shuttles to be able to launch spy satellites and the devil knows what.

      But there have been advantages with them for civilian use too, so they haven't been useless.

      What's needed are actually smaller shuttles mainly for person transportation. The Soyuz capsules are in a way good, but leaves little contr

    • Re:What? (Score:5, Funny)

      by Junior J. Junior III (192702) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @12:24PM (#24586255) Homepage

      The summary makes absolutely no sense.

      Can anyone shed light on what is going on?

      Well, you see, it's like this: Chewbacca is a Wookie from the planet Kashyyyk...

  • I can't believe that a slight pertubation to the timeline of the hopeless ISS is what really troubles nerds when two countries are at war. Seriously..!
    • by Evilest Doer (969227) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @11:38AM (#24585395)

      I can't believe that a slight pertubation to the timeline of the hopeless ISS is what really troubles nerds when two countries are at war. Seriously..!

      Or, you could look at it this way. Overall human progress is being delayed because two countries are involved in a pissing and "my-dick-is-bigger-than-yours" contest. Or, similar to what Ernest Rutherford said, we've got more important things to worry about than another stupid war.

    • by Free the Cowards (1280296) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @11:42AM (#24585475)

      That's right! No web site, anywhere, should ever talk about anything besides people dying, because people are always dying and it's always the most important thing happening.

      Sheesh. You realize humans are capable of paying attention to more than one thing at a time?

    • by thermian (1267986) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @11:45AM (#24585523)

      Due to the desire of the US to use the space shuttle to service the ISS, it was placed in a much lower orbit then would otherwise have been the case. Certainly it was much lower then most interested parties wanted.

      As a result of this it is constantly being slowed by friction caused by contact with the outer atmosphere. We are talking very slight friction, but at the speed of the ISS that slight friction is enough to bring it into a lower orbit over time.

      One of the main worries after the challenger disaster was that space shuttle had been used to correct this reduction in orbit periodically by firing its thrusters whilst docked. Instead they had to use Soyuz capsules to try and do the same thing.

      Its bad either way, but if there is tension and both countries stop going there, the orbit will deteriorate to the point where only a specialised mission to boost it would work. That may not be possible, or indeed successful.

      While it would have to drop a long way to re-enter the atmosphere and burn up, it wouldn't have to drop too far to start being prohibitively complicated and expensive to get it back into its normal orbit.

      • by ray-auch (454705)

        The ATV can already boost the ISS orbit, and it is neither Russian nor American.

      • by TorKlingberg (599697) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @12:01PM (#24585841)
        The European Automated Transfer Vehicle [wikipedia.org] can also re-boost the station. If I remember correctly, even more than the shuttle can.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by DerekLyons (302214)

        Due to the desire of the US to use the space shuttle to service the ISS, it was placed in a much lower orbit then would otherwise have been the case. Certainly it was much lower then most interested parties wanted.

        False The ISS orbit was lowered because a) the increase in orbital inclination to allow the Russians to participate lowered the effective cargo capacity of the Shuttle and b) the original orbital altitude was too high for Soyuz and Progress to reach anyhow.

        As a result of t

    • I do not see what is wrong in discussing all the ramifications of this conflict.

      Do you want us to not plan for the future at all until the conflict is over?

      Besides this is a 'nerd' site...what do you expect us to discuss? ISS and space exploration are about as Nerdy as you can get. There is already a posting about the internet war between the two countries....do you know of any other nerdy subjects that might be affected by the war? if so, please post them. I'm sure /. would love to toss around the subj

  • by Shivetya (243324) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @11:20AM (#24585019) Homepage Journal

    I am sure we will invent a new piece of legislation so we don't have to acknowledge our pesky integrity or morals.

    After all, its just some little piss ant country, aren't the G8s allowed to run over one a year?

    Whats next? Having doubts about going to the Olympics based on China's treatment of Tibet and other ethnic/religious minorities? Oops, looks like we forgot that one too, there G8 as well. I know, New G.... oops, can't go there... uh...

    Oh yeah... Russia will have a hissy because we bitched, people will claim that talking would have worked or did work (ignoring the fact Russia got what they wanted and killed lots of people - but talking sure brought them back to life), and threaten to not allow us to fly but will cave in when we pay more.

    Yeah, US foreign policy has been pretty much spineless when dealing with Russia since Reagans day... somehow since then we aren't allowed to piss them off. Peace sucks for the little guys as it means the big boys get to trample the little guys without worry about another big guy actually doing something about it.

    I know, lets get the UN involved, they can write a strongly worded letter, well as long as none of the words offend the Russians and the Russians approve it of course.

    Sheesh.

    • by BitterOldGUy (1330491) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @11:24AM (#24585113)
      ...somehow since then we aren't allowed to piss them off.

      Russia has the greatest weapon of our time: oil. They have more than the Saudis. Nobody is going to piss them off and disrupt their supply.

      • by Erwos (553607) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @11:38AM (#24585391)

        This is exactly it, and it's even more true for Europe. Europe is extremely dependent on Russia for their energy needs. That's why the reaction has been relatively quiet compared to the usual shrill screams that they have when a large country runs roughshod over a smaller one (even one that might have deserved it). It's the same reason they kowtow to the Arab states, and it's the same reason they can't seem to find it in themselves to do anything serious about Iran (notice the comma - I know Iran isn't an Arab state).

        You can call it pragmatic or whatever, but I laugh a little every time I hear some smug European government official tell us how he or she is "principled" when it comes to foreign relations. The principle they're practicing ain't the same one they're preaching. The principle is, of course, "advance my country by any means possible". (Which is how it's always been, really.) The Russians and Chinese, however much I dislike their governments, at least tend to be up front about it.

      • by mcvos (645701) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @11:42AM (#24585467)

        ...somehow since then we aren't allowed to piss them off.

        Russia has the greatest weapon of our time: oil. They have more than the Saudis. Nobody is going to piss them off and disrupt their supply.

        Oil is what the Russia/Georgia conflict is actually about! There's lots of oil and gas in the Caspian Sea and central Asia. There are a couple of ways to get it, but two of the most important ones are:

        1: through Kazakhstan and Russia
        2: through Azerbaidjan, Georgia and Turkey

        There's your conflict, including the reason why the US and EU want Russia out of Georgia.

        • by MightyMartian (840721) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @12:10PM (#24585997) Journal

          Oil is a big part of it, but it's hardly the only element. The real cause of it is that a reascendant Russian Empire is telling all the fledgling statelets that broke off during a decade of political and economic chaos after the collapse of the Communist Dynasty are being reigned back in. This is a pattern of behavior for Russia that is centuries old now. It has long viewed every region with Slavic populations as being either an integral part of Mother Russia or a client state. This was the case under the Muscovite Princes, under the Russian Czars and under the Communists (and in particularly under Stalin and the later Soviet leaders).

          Oil certainly is a motivator, but I'm not even sure it's the main one. We're dealing with cultural and political forces and ideals that survived the Tatars, basically foreign rule under German noblemen (and in Catherine the Great's case, noblewoman), the upheavals of the late 19th century, the revolution and the civil war, the Bolshevik takeover, the harsh reign of Stalin and the inept rule of his successors, and even the near collapse of central authority after the fall of the Soviet Empire. It is has been a basic tenet of Russian foreign policy for centuries that wherever you find Slavs, they ultimately should owe their allegiance to the Muscovite Princes (whatever form that might take at any particular moment in time). Unfortunately, in a world of petroleum-dominated economics, we tend to think of things in terms of dollars and cents, and yet one should never underestimate the power of nationalism. Oil is simply the current coin by which Russia can exert its muscle, but the situation is no different than it was twenty years ago or two hundred years ago.

          Russia may be forced to release its hold on some of the Western Slavic peoples like the Poles, Czechs, Slovaks and Ukrainians (the first three have long been more Western European in culture and religion, the latter is of greater pain to the Russian identity, many seeing the Ukraine as an organic part of Russia), but you can be goddamned sure that everywhere else where there is some sort of ethnic Russian minority or some pro-Russian Slavic population we're not likely going to be able to have as much luck.

        • by steelfood (895457) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @12:57PM (#24586929)

          Since the fall of the U.S.S.R, Russia's been working hard at westernizing. They're just completing the transition by invading another smaller country for oil under the pretext of national security.

          Tongue-in-cheek of course.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by couchslug (175151)

      "Yeah, US foreign policy has been pretty much spineless when dealing with Russia since Reagans day... somehow since then we aren't allowed to piss them off."

      We didn't risk much for the trivial players back then either. Some game pieces are expendable, while others have more value.

    • by Colonel Korn (1258968) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @11:31AM (#24585253)

      Having doubts about going to the Olympics based on China's treatment of Tibet and other ethnic/religious minorities? Oops, looks like we forgot that one too, there G8 as well.

      No, China's not part of the G8. They're part of the O5 ("Outreach 5"), a group of less developed nations recognized by the G8.

    • by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @11:39AM (#24585413)

      Yeah, US foreign policy has been pretty much spineless when dealing with Russia since Reagans day...

      I know it's fashionable to rail against the US, but in truth the European countries have shared this shortcoming due to their addiction to Russian oil.

      Economic realities drive foreign policy for most countries in the world. We only manage to stand up in righteous indignation when we've got nothing really to lose. It's why we (eventually) were willing to isolate Apartheid South Africa, but never took any measures of consequence against China for {choose any one of many offenses}.

    • by Bemopolis (698691) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @12:17PM (#24586119)

      Yeah, US foreign policy has been pretty much spineless when dealing with Russia since Reagans day...

      Yeah, I'm sure glad we had the foresight to arm and fund the muhajadin in Afghanistan. I mean, that went great and NEVER AFFECTED US EVER AGAIN...

  • moral decline (Score:4, Insightful)

    by polar red (215081) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @11:21AM (#24585035)

    These problems occur, when a country prouding itself to be the greatest, democratic nation on earth, breaks its own rules(like : not intruding on other nations Sovereignty), which lead to other nations breaking those same rules, ... This empire is on its way out i fear, and the results won't be pretty.

    • Re:moral decline (Score:5, Insightful)

      by couchslug (175151) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @11:27AM (#24585173)

      "which lead to other nations breaking those same rules, .."

      Our Cold War opponents broke them at will in the recent past anyway, because it served them well and they could.

      "Rules" are window dressing to amuse the earnest and naive people who believe in them. Power is what matters, because to the extent one has power one can make up and enforce rules.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by polar red (215081)

        "Rules" are window dressing to amuse the earnest and naive people who believe in them

        That's all true, but when you keep shouting at the top of your lungs about those moral standards, you're a hypocrite

    • by mcvos (645701)

      These problems occur, when a country prouding itself to be the greatest, democratic nation on earth, breaks its own rules(like : not intruding on other nations Sovereignty),

      This is a very good point. Recent actions of the US have given other nations like Russia and China plenty of excuses to do what they like, and to push their own interests.

      Whenever the US criticised China for its human rights record, China can criticise the US right back for its human rights record.

      And because the US invaded a souvereign nation with a flimsy excuse (when it was really about oil), now Russia can use the same flimsy excuse to invade a foreign nation (which is really about oil). And they make c

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @11:21AM (#24585039)
    Shit, if germany decided to kill the jews again, CmdrTaco would be wondering how this affects his BMW's warranty.
    • by eln (21727) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @11:23AM (#24585083) Homepage

      To be fair he did get the extended warranty protection, and that shit ain't cheap.

  • by Animats (122034) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @11:21AM (#24585053) Homepage

    US manned spaceflight will end in 2010, when the Shuttle is retired. There won't be any follow-on for at least a decade. The US can't afford it any more.

    NASA might be able to sell their interest in the ISS to China or Russia.

    • by Free the Cowards (1280296) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @11:52AM (#24585683)

      The US can't afford it any more.

      What bullshit! The US doesn't want to pay it any more. It can certainly afford it. Bringing NASA up to Apollo levels of funding would be a virtually unnoticeable drop in the current federal budget.

    • by khallow (566160)
      The US can easily afford manned flight and many other expenses as well. I can see some unlikely scenarios where the US doesn't maintain the cohesion to continue a manned space program, but I believe that the various doomsday scenarios are overrated. The US isn't likely to fall apart as a result of too much public spending, peak oil, etc.
  • by wardk (3037)

    if only there was a terror threat from space. NASA would be up to their eyeballs in no-need-to-account-for cash.

  • by jollyreaper (513215) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @11:28AM (#24585187)

    I still have my doubts as to whether the shuttle replacement will pan out.

  • by Bullfish (858648) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @11:33AM (#24585285)

    I doubt this will really matter in the end. Especially long term. The Russians will likely leave by the end of the week as soon as the Georgian military is dismantled. In the end, Georgia started this, and really, what effect did the crushing of the Prague spring, the Hungarian uprising of 56 etc really have on relations between the west and Russia?

    And as others have pointed out, the Georgians started it with an area of effect attack on a city populated by ethnic Russians. If there is trouble with the ISS, it will be for other reasons.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      While Georgia attacked an area populated by ethnic Russians, it wasn't an attack on the ethnic Russians. It was an attack to keep that population from declaring independence from the rest of the state.

      It's like if the areas predominately populated by mexicans tried to become their own state. You're sure as hell that the U.S. would attack them, but we are not attacking the mexicans due to their ethnicity.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      and really, what effect did the crushing of the Prague spring, the Hungarian uprising of 56 etc really have on relations between the west and Russia?

      It seriously dried up the amount of people in the west sympathetic towards communism and marxism in general. It deprived the Soviet Union of most of their left wing political support, as well as their supply of spies.

      How many Rusophiles will change their opinions after this particular incident?

  • Squeal like a pig! (Score:3, Informative)

    by Baldrson (78598) * on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @11:33AM (#24585295) Homepage Journal
    'NASA's plans to launch new manned missions to the International Space Station three years after the space shuttle retires in 2010 aren't panning out.'

    'Officials at the space agency said Monday that they will still hold to their word that the Constellation program--a mission of the newly developed Ares 1 rocket and Orion crew capsule to the ISS--will happen by March 2015, five years after the space shuttle program shuts down. But a previous goal of an early launch in 2013 has now been moved to 2014 because of budget constraints. NASA officials are also leaving wiggle room there.'

    http://news.cnet.com/8301-11386_3-10015009-76.html?part=rss&subj=news&tag=2547-1_3-0-5 [cnet.com]

    Hard to believe those culturally insensitive crackers managed to go from zero to the Moon in eight years using 1960s technology...

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by justdrew (706141)
      is it any wonder? We should have been working on the next gen replacement for the shuttle since 1990 at least. We've fucked up and now it's all going tits up.
  • by HiggsBison (678319) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @11:46AM (#24585533)

    This is the United States of America, mister. We do not think ahead. We do not plan ahead.

    Our shuttle was a marginally workable exercise in pork barrel politics. And now it's up for retirement long before it can be replaced. Probably to be replaced by another pork barrel exercise, eventually. Or obsoleted by a burst of finesse from Europe or the third world. (But I'm not holding my breath.)

    Russia thinks ahead and plans ahead. Now they're holding all the space exploration cards. Of course now they're the only ones who can get to the ISS, or to put it another way, they got stuck with the task. I wonder how well they thought that through.

  • Converting the ATV to a manned vehicle seems to be the quickest way of restoring access to the ISS if the Russians don't want to let us go there. Its got a proven launch vehicle, and the cargo version has already flown. Just need to develop a heat shield really.
  • by MrSteveSD (801820) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @12:30PM (#24586377)
    Jeopardize Space Station, would be an equally valid title. I'm sure the Russians have suspicions that the US was ultimately behind the Georgian bombardment and invasion of South Ossetia.

    Watching the media reporting on this has been fascinating. If Russia had been the Western Ally rather than Georgia, the media would have been focusing on the Georgian bombardment and invasion of South Ossetia and all the casualties it caused. People killed in Russian air-strikes would get a mention in words, but certainly not pictures. When the media report on official enemies, the gloves come off. The BBC's Newsnight program called Russian announcements Orwellian Newspeak. I can't recall the BBC ever calling US or UK announcements Orwellian Newspeak, no matter how propagandistic and dubious they sound. Instead the media is happy to band around phrases like "Winning Hearts and Minds" without question.

    For anyone interesting in the way the media works, watch the documentary "Manufacturing Consent" (based on the book by Herman and Chomsky). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wksCW3ooJ5A [youtube.com]
  • Putin's a Bully (Score:4, Insightful)

    by tjstork (137384) <todd.bandrowsky@gm a i l.com> on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @02:41PM (#24588757) Homepage Journal

    What Georgia is really all about is Putin sending a signal to all the states bordering Russia that they could be next, and to also test the resolve of NATO in a public way that is safe for Russia.

    It's obvious that the Russian invasion of Georgia was pre-planned and that they baited Georgia into doing what they do. Attacks of the scale the Russians have done take time to organize, and the Russian response was immediate. How else, one might ask, do the Russians suddenly appear not even a day after the crisis, with several hundred tanks and thousands of men, without first having had a plan.

    Putin baited. Georgia foolishly took the bait and provided Putin an excuse to smash Georgia in such a way as to intimidate those NATO states that are actually bordering Russia, and those states that might join NATO (like the Ukraine).

    Anyone thinking that this is about Russia defending its own people is a fool. I thought we'd learned from the Sudetenland that this sort of an argument is crap. This is an effort by Russia to bully the states on its borders, as they have been doing now for the last few years with things like turning off the gas, turning on the gas, issuing passports in bulk to people in one's own country...it's classic Soviet Era stuff.

    AS far as the Space Station goes, well, the Shuttle is just going to have to keep flying until Ares is ready. That's it. The only reason the Shuttle is being grounded is because the Congress mandated panel did what Congress told it to do, and, the Congress can easily change those parameters to allow for new geopolitical realities. The shuttle will fly, it won't be safe, but, Alan Shephard rode a fricking ICBM during the cold war "built by the lowest bidder", and that's what space shuttles do.

    What happens is this: USA continues shuttle, kicks the Russians out, probably keeps the Russian modules, and the NATO countries have a nice little space station.

  • Only on /. ... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by toby (759) * on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @03:29PM (#24589465) Homepage Journal

    Would that be considered more newsworthy than the fact that over 1000 civilians died in the first attack. :(

In seeking the unattainable, simplicity only gets in the way. -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982

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