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NASA ISS United States

NASA Halts Non-ISS Work With Russia Over Ukraine Crisis 291

Posted by Soulskill
from the can't-we-all-just-get-along dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The Verge reports on an internal memo from NASA indicating that they've suspended all contracts and activities with Russia that aren't involved with operating the International Space Station. Quoting: 'Given Russia's ongoing violation of Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity, until further notice, the U.S. Government has determined that all NASA contacts with Russian Government representatives are suspended, unless the activity has been specifically excepted. This suspension includes NASA travel to Russia and visits by Russian Government representatives to NASA facilities, bilateral meetings, email, and teleconferences or videoconferences. At the present time, only operational International Space Station activities have been excepted.' NASA Administrator Charles Bolden argued recently that our dependence on Russia for putting astronauts into space needs to end."
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NASA Halts Non-ISS Work With Russia Over Ukraine Crisis

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 02, 2014 @03:26PM (#46642063)

    It's really too bad these have to get in the way.

    • by sunderland56 (621843) on Wednesday April 02, 2014 @03:31PM (#46642107)

      This. NASA is not a political body and should not act like one.

      If an anti-science President gets elected in 2016, will the world refuse to stop working with the USA? If they did, wouldn't we be upset?

      Russia didn't refuse to work with the USA when America invaded Iraq, did they?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by WindBourne (631190)
        No, Russia looked the other way. They did not care.
        • by jafac (1449) on Wednesday April 02, 2014 @06:20PM (#46643935) Homepage

          I think that Russia sure as hell DID care.

          Russia's ally, Syria, is currently in the midst of a civil war, partly due to the power-vacuum created when the US invaded Iraq. (Syrian salafists, who were previously a pain in the ass to Assad, but "kept down" - went into Iraq to fight the US. Those experienced veterans came back after the "awakening", and are now back in Syria, fighting to overthrow Assad. If Syria falls to jihadists/salafists, it is conceivable that access to the black sea is cut off.

          • by Uberbah (647458)

            Russia's ally, Syria, is currently in the midst of a civil war, partly due to the power-vacuum created when the US invaded Iraq.

            Actually, it's almost entirely due to fighters trained or funded by Syria's enemies: Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United States, etc. What's funny is how some of those fighters are Al Qaeda affiliates. What's funnier is how the U.S., which has unleashed a Global War of Terror over the last 1.5 decades to fight the boogyman of Al Qaeda, turns around and insists that the possibility that

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by bobbied (2522392)

        Russia didn't refuse to work with the USA when America invaded Iraq, did they?

        No, they didn't, but it was obvious to everybody and clear from history that the USA wasn't interested in annexing Iraq into US territory. So the comparison to what Russia has done with part of Ukraine is a false one. They split up a sovereign country, then annexed parts of it after invading it. Seems clear to me that Iraq remains it's own entity, despite the US winning decisive military actions in Iraq TWICE. Time and time again, the USA has taken territory it could have just kept for itself, but we in

        • by mar.kolya (2448710) on Wednesday April 02, 2014 @04:11PM (#46642511)

          Iraq is it's own sovereign country, we didn't keep even a runway or military base there, but left when the elected government of the country told us to leave.

          This is very much a matter of opinion. US had left when people in Iraq had elected government US wanted. Does this make Iraq a sovereign country? I think not. Iraq is pretty much controlled by US. As well as all NATO countries, especially east European ones. BTW, did anybody invited US into Iraq? Afghanistan? Vietnam? So yeah, look at yourself first and mind your own business - and your business has nothing to do with east Europe. US has much more imperial ambitions than any other country.

          • by bobbied (2522392)

            Iraq is it's own sovereign country, we didn't keep even a runway or military base there, but left when the elected government of the country told us to leave.

            This is very much a matter of opinion. US had left when people in Iraq had elected government US wanted.

            IMHO the government of Iraq was NOT decided by the USA, but elected by the people of Iraq. The process of putting Iraq back together was set from the start and although the USA enforced the process (Temporary government appointed, elections held for constitution writers, Constitution written by elected representatives, Approved by vote, first government under constitution elections held, Elected government functions from there) we certainly did not control the elections or their outcomes. The only real co

            • by mar.kolya (2448710) on Wednesday April 02, 2014 @05:42PM (#46643541)

              Well. I hardly can imagine free elections with a gun pointed to ones head (figuratively speaking). Not to mention that US propaganda machine was running at full steam there. There is no way those elections were not influenced by US. They very much were. So US got what US wanted (oil, I presume) and left, fair enough.

              Now in Ukraine: there was an elected government that was overthrown by armed riots. ELECTED president fled to Russia and asked Putin for protection - this is his official position. And US comes in and helps those armed rioters who stared whole thing on the first place. Notice: those rioters were not elected. They are just convenient for US to mess with Russia.

              Disclaimer: I'm Russian myself, although I currently live on North America.

              But in my view Russian actions in Crimea are no better or worse then US actions in Iraq, Afghanistan, Vietnam or many other numerous places were US soldier had set his foot, many times uninvited. It's true that US didn't annex those territories - but that's just it didn't make much sense to officially annex them. Imagine 'state of Iraq' as a part of US - this just would not have worked. Mainly for cultural and language reasons. If people in Iraq spoke English Iraq would have been US state by now. And people in Crimea speak Russian and are actually ethnic Russians in their majority.

              Note: I do not say that Putin is good. My point is that Putin is no more evil than any US president. And that's just how world works - larger countries control smaller countries, in one way or another. And nobody is free.

              And all that hysteria how Putin is new Hitler is just good job in US propaganda. As well how 'Putin brings freedom to oppressed Crimeans' is a Russian propaganda.

              • by bobbied (2522392)

                And the rhetoric that says USA just as bad as Russia to me is mostly fiction.

                I'm not saying that the USA doesn't act in it's own self interest, of course it does, but I am saying that our history is clear, we don't take over places for strategic or tactical advantage. Look at Russian history since WW2. What was the difference between the western and eastern parts of Europe? Why on earth was the Berlin wall built and what caused it to stay up so long?

                Putin's (and by extension Russian) actions in Ukraine

        • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 02, 2014 @04:19PM (#46642603)

          USA invaded Iraq and scared and killed thousands of people. Then it controlled its territory while people of Iraq went to polls to vote. The vote was considered democratic and the results were recognized.

          Russia invaded Crimea in a peaceful way and didn't kill anybody. Then it controlled its territory while people of Crimea went to polls to vote. Despite numerous international observers and absence of any concerns from them, US doesn't want to recognize this vote.

          Looks like hypocrisy and double-standards.

          • US doesn't want to recognize this vote.

            Of course not - most of the US States would be better off leaving the Empire. USG can't possibly recognize a peaceful secession.

            It's hard to make a case for why Vermont e.g. wouldn't be better off as a province of Canada than a State of the US.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Solandri (704621)
            No hypocrisy or double standards. The U.S. didn't benefit from the Iraq vote (most of the oil contracts went to non-US companies). Hence there was no conflict of interest. I think the U.S. was wrong to invade without UN approval, but the U.S. lost lives, lost equipment, lost money, lost international respect, and suffered degraded ability to react to matters more pressing to its self interests (Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan). The only thing they gained was eliminating a dictator from the world sta
        • there is the argument, of course, that these people want to be part of russia as they historically had been until the 50's when russia gave the territory away to ukraine.

        • by Zedrick (764028)
          > No, they didn't, but it was obvious to everybody and clear from history that the USA wasn't interested in
          > annexing Iraq into US territory. So the comparison to what Russia has done with part of Ukraine is a false one.

          True, Putin can at least claim he is protecting Russians (and might even believe it), the US-Iraq wars were just about controlling the oil.

          > USA has taken territory it could have just kept for itself,

          Eh... This is not a game of Risk.

          > But we don't do that, and haven't act
        • by igny (716218) on Wednesday April 02, 2014 @05:44PM (#46643573) Homepage Journal
          Time and time again, the USA has taken territory it could have just kept for itself, but we insist on giving it back to the people we took it from.

          Well, it is obvious that you are wrong here. US could not have kept Iraq (as in "annexed" Iraq). It did not have to either considering that it usually installs puppet governments around the world. Even though it fails again and again, it is not for the lack of trying. This tactic would surely fail in Ukraine too.

          Russia, on the other hand, can and will keep Crimea.
        • by Uberbah (647458) on Wednesday April 02, 2014 @06:17PM (#46643899)

          I mean, Fox-News-claiming-Bush-kept-us-safe-from-terrorist-attacks breathtaking. As in you cannot believe that someone just said something that brazen with a straight face.

          No, they didn't, but it was obvious to everybody and clear from history that the USA wasn't interested in annexing Iraq into US territory.

          Nah, they just forced Iraq to privatize it's oil industry and sell it off to for-profit foreign interests. Because America's record post WWII has been that of a rampaging imperialistic shitbag that has all the power of a British Empire without any of the responsibilities. Rather than setting up a colonial government, which might actually do shit like build roads and schools, you just overthrow [wikipedia.org] dozens of governments, including democratically elected ones, to get those sufficiently subservient to your "national interests".

          So the comparison to what Russia has done with part of Ukraine is a false one.

          No shit. America got a million people killed in Iraq, created millions more refugees, and bombed the country into the stone age. Call us when Putin does the same or starts having 16 year old kids murdered [wikipedia.org] on the other side of the planet from Moscow.

          They split up a sovereign country, then annexed parts of it after invading it.

          The hell they did. Any reason in particular you're ignoring the illegal, western-backed coup of Ukraine's democratically elected president less than 6 months before the next elections? Aside from all that, if Russia "invaded" Crimea by moving troops to a navel base covered under an existing treaty with Ukraine, than the United States has been busy invading western europe and Japan for over 60 years.

          It takes some serious neocon balls (with a hefty dose of willful dumfuckery) to treat the self-appointed junta in Ukraine as a legitimate organization, while flatly ignoring the fact that the people of Crimea just overwhelmingly voted to join Russia. This is invariably countered with some BS about how this vote was done "at the end of a gun barrel", ignoring the fact that the the first things the junta did after sizing power was to strip Crimea of it's autonomy and start oppressing minorities. And ignoring the fact that the United States has 900 military bases throughout the world and special forces operating in more than half the world's countries.

          Seems clear to me that Iraq remains it's own entity, despite the US winning decisive military actions in Iraq TWICE.

          You mean after the Wikileaks cables showed Bush giving free reign to death squads, after the U.S. built military bases and a fortress of an embassy, and made it clear that it would re-invade on a moments notice from military bases in surrounding countries in the event of 'instability'?

          Time and time again, the USA has taken territory it could have just kept for itself, but we insist on giving it back to puppet governments it set up after forcing the privatization of industries and infrastructure.

          FTFY. Compare how many governments Russia has overthrown since the fall of the Soviet Union, and get back to us. How many countries has Russia bombed or invaded. How many people Putin is keeping in gulags, and force feeding them (which is torture), after they've been cleared for release since 2007? [huffingtonpost.com] Is Russia violating the sovereignty of nations thousands of miles away from it by bombing innocent people inside them with impunity?

          The United States lecturing modern Russia about imperialism is like Jack the Ripper lecturing Alec Baldwin on how to treat women.

          The response

      • by jedidiah (1196)

        > This. NASA is not a political body and should not act like one.

        NASA is an agency of a government that's a part of the alliance that is supposed to defend a number of countries that are likely Putin targets.

        NASA should not be dependent on Russia right now any more than they should have been dependent on the Soviet Union when it was still around.

        Lack of self-reliance can be a right b*tch sometimes. You never know what kind of abusive crap you will have to tolerate.

        • by Ravaldy (2621787)

          Not having the USA flag floating over Iraq doesn't mean they don't control it. The USA has been very good at injecting puppets so that political control remains possible. Not saying that these are vile intensions but they do benefit them in the end. After all, if you go fight a war and move the dictator out, the last thing you want is another dictator showing up and the best way to avoid that is political control.

          • The USA has been very good at injecting puppets so that political control remains possible.

            I don't know about that. I mean, we try our best, but I wouldn't say we're good at it.

          • Yes, we used to do things similar to how Western Europe and Russia does things. That is long over. Iraq is NOT friendly with America. Nor is the Afghanistan gov.
        • by jafac (1449)

          If the USA didn't want to be reliant upon the Russians for manned spaceflight, then they should have given NASA enough money to develop a proper new heavy-lift solution (ie. not orion/mars or whatever other ATK-based abomination the senators from Utah want).

      • by cyn1c77 (928549) on Wednesday April 02, 2014 @03:48PM (#46642297)

        This. NASA is not a political body and should not act like one.

        You're joking right?

        NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) is a government organization that has to appeal to the president and Congress every year for funding and scope. Their employees are considered federal employees on the GS (general schedule) pay scale. NASA has both "national" and "administration" in the title. It doesn't get any more political than that.

        How are they NOT a political body?

        • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

          Political != government. They are part of the government but they are not supposed to be involved in politics. It's like the IRS isn't supposed to collect tax based on the political views of its staff, only apply the law as written. I don't know about the US but in most democracies government employees (civil servants) are not allowed to involve themselves with politics like this. They do what elected politicians tell them to, not what they personally decide.

      • by quantaman (517394)

        This. NASA is not a political body and should not act like one.

        If an anti-science President gets elected in 2016, will the world refuse to stop working with the USA? If they did, wouldn't we be upset?

        Russia didn't refuse to work with the USA when America invaded Iraq, did they?

        I'm a huge opponent of the Iraq war but I consider Russia's actions in Ukraine quite a bit more objectionable than the US's actions in Iraq.

        I think there's two parts to NASA, there's the straight science part and the space exploration part. The science part should mostly ignore the politics and ideally not be affected by the crisis. But the space exploration aspect doesn't have a lot of practical impact at this point and is more symbolic and aspiration, I'm still not sure if I agree with it, but a given the

        • by Ravaldy (2621787) on Wednesday April 02, 2014 @04:13PM (#46642533)

          Is it really more objectionable?

          Maybe the news I'm seeing isn't accurate but it appears the majority of people currently "invaded" wants to join Russia. Hope is all those people want and joining a large world force/economy is something that can provide people with a better life. Especially considering that a large percentage of this population is of Russian background.

          • You mean the ones that are being interviewed want it? Or do you mean that ones that live there? Because they are 2 very different groups.
          • by Talderas (1212466)

            Yes it is more objectionable.

            If the people want to join Russia, why don't they emmigrate? Russia took sovereign land from Ukraine and made it Russian. That isn't even demonstrably close to what the US did and it directly violated a treaty that Russia had signed.

          • by quantaman (517394)

            Is it really more objectionable?

            Maybe the news I'm seeing isn't accurate but it appears the majority of people currently "invaded" wants to join Russia. Hope is all those people want and joining a large world force/economy is something that can provide people with a better life. Especially considering that a large percentage of this population is of Russian background.

            There's surely some significant support for joining Russia but I think it's weaker and less manipulated than is generally believed. Russia quickly established control of the media, Russian troops shut down public protests or displays in favour of Ukraine and protected pro-Russian mobs. Yes it's meaningful that the population didn't rise up in revolt, it implies that they don't consider Russian citizenship to be a horrible outcome, but that's a long way from saying they wanted it.

            Moreso it's seizing another

          • by Strange Quark Star (1157447) on Wednesday April 02, 2014 @08:04PM (#46644787)

            I was born in Simferopol and most of my relatives still live there. Here's a few things I can tell you almost first-hand.

            The vast majority of people there are ethnic Russians who don't even speak Ukrainian. Khrushchev's 1954 transfer of Crimea to Ukraine did not mean anything to them until the Soviet Union split up. Since then the Ukrainian government introduced Ukrainian as the official language of the autonomous republic of Crimea, forcing the Russians to learn Ukrainian for anything official. Then they made Ukrainian the mandatory first foreign language in schools and soon the first language spoken; teaching the children's native Russian as a foreign language once a week.

            Any foreign investments (like the EU's) went straight into the oligarchs' pockets, leaving health care, infrastructure, etc. in ruins. No running water after 10:00 PM, and even then it's just cold.
            Pensioners like my grandmother often continue to work well beyond retirement to supplement their income enough to get by. Most medical equipment in hospitals is still from the Soviet era; clinics are usually out of medical supplies, i.e. if you want treatment you are expected to bring your own antiseptics, bandages, etc. Paying doctors for better treatment is a given.

            Putin's invasion was ridiculous, no question. But honestly, that's exactly what many Crimeans were desperately hoping for for a long time. Say what you like about the Russian government, but it's way better than anything Ukraine's ever seen. Remember the fist fights in Kiev's Parliament? A regular show.

            Changes coming to Crimea:
            Return to the Russian school system in addition to local Ukrainian schools.
            25% increase in retirement pay every quarter until it reaches Russian standards (100% increase overall) in addition to widow's pension, which previously has just not been payed at all.
            Complete modernization of health infrastructure.
            Repair and restoration of public infrastructure and venues including parks and plazas (you should see the current state they're in).
            Exploitation of the abundant natural gas reservoirs off shore; there has just not been any funding previously. Crimea is expected to become self-sufficient and maybe even export natural gas at a profit.

            A major concern surrounding the annexation was Crimea's dependence on tourism as it's main source of income, as most tourists came from Ukraine. Now they simply halved the price of plane tickets from mainland Russia to Crimea to encourage Tourism.

            I don't know if the results of the referendum were falsified, it would not surprise me as it's always been the case with elections over there. But all Crimeans, not only ethnic Russians would greatly benefit from a change in government for the reasons mentioned above and they know it. My relatives told me about huge lines of people waiting at 9 AM, soaking in the rain to vote for joining Russia, including Tatars and Ukrainians. They also told me of the unprecedented joy and general happiness on the streets after the result was made public and even more so when Crimea finally rejoined Russia.

            I want to stress the fact that I am by no means a supporter of Russia, its government or Putin. I despise their corruption and violations of human rights. But what is happening in Crimea is very positive change for the people on that peninsula from what I can tell by reading the news and keeping in touch with my friends in relatives there that are directly impacted by the events.

        • You didn't find a few hundred thousands getting killed objectionable - while one (reportedly anyway) guy getting killed you did?

          I'm sorry, but... what?
          • First off, there are several issues with Iraq:
            1) W/neo-cons DID invade Iraq wrongly. OTOH, the Iraqi's were happy to have us do it and rid themselves of him.
            2) The real issue is that W/neo-cons basically occupied Iraq and was attempting to steal their oil.
            3) Under O, we have given back the nation to their citizens. IOW, it remains whole, though it is pretty much in civil war due to W/neo-con's occupation allowing AQ to sneak in (and no doubt it will be one for many military books on HOW TO NOT RUN A WAR)
            • 3) Under O, we have given back the nation to their citizens. IOW, it remains whole, though it is pretty much in civil war due to W/neo-con's occupation allowing AQ to sneak in (and no doubt it will be one for many military books on HOW TO NOT RUN A WAR).

              It should, perhaps, be noted that the schedule for withdrawal from Iraq that O used was the one written (and agreed to by both Congress and the Iraqi government) by W a couple years earlier.

              No, Obama didn't get us out of Iraq early, contrary to what you ma

      • by PRMan (959735)
        No, because everybody hated Saddam.
      • NASA is not a political body

        Did you happen to notice the story title?

        Perhaps NASA used to be different, but today, for the money it spends, it functions mostly as a way for Congressmen to funnel cash back to their home district.

        At this point, they should just spin off JPL as a non-profit and sell the rest to SpaceX for launch vouchers. With level funding *much* more science would actually get done.

      • All it takes is one congressman inserting language in an appropriations bill about what countries NASA isn't allowed to work with.

        But they'd never do something like that, right?

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C... [wikipedia.org]

        It was so bad, we had to get a legal opinion on if I was allowed to respond to a question e-mailed to the support address for one of the projects I work on. (they said yes, because the project was international in scope, and not just between us and China).

        I also had a to pass up an invitation from th

    • by Megane (129182)
      At least this is a change from the usual politics that get in the way of space science. Usually it's Congress messing with the NASA budget to protect the pork of legacy "OldSpace" jobs that have been threatened since the end of the Shuttle. We've already had to extend buying rides from Russia for three more years because Congress keeps underfunding the Commercial Crew program. At least SpaceX shows every indication of plowing ahead with their own manned spaceflight projects in spite of all that bullshit.
    • by Matheus (586080)

      Straight out of 2010... where's the monolith when we need one?!

  • Wait... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by eternaldoctorwho (2563923) on Wednesday April 02, 2014 @03:29PM (#46642095)

    Isn't this the sort of thing that the ISS collaboration was supposed to prevent?

    • by NotDrWho (3543773)

      Only on paper. The truth is that NASA and Russia have been at each others' throats from day one. Remember how pissy NASA got when Russia one-upped them on the first space tourist [wikipedia.org]? It was like watching a jealous child throw a goddamn temper tantrum.

    • The ISS collaboration was a make-work program to ensure Russian engineers didn't run off to work for states in the axis-of-evil just to put food on the table. That's why a lot of dodgy MIR-2 bits were shoehorned into the design. Now that the Russian economy is in a better condition than in the 90's they don't need to be beholden to us especially when they control the manned launch services industry now.

    • It was the dawn of the Third Age of Mankind, ten years after the second Iraq War. The ISS Project was a dream given form. Its goal: to prevent another war by creating a place where Americans and Russians could work out their differences peacefully. It's a port of call - home away from home for astronauts, cosmonauts, scientists, and tourists. Russians and Americans wrapped in 450,000 kilograms of spinning metal, all alone in the night. It can be a dangerous place, but it's our last best hope for peace. This is the story of the last of the IIS stations. The year is 2014. The name of the place is the IIS.

      WOW. SO FUTAR. Just like when they quarantined Clavius base.

  • by NotDrWho (3543773) on Wednesday April 02, 2014 @03:29PM (#46642097)

    Gas, grass, or ass--no one rides Soyuz for free!

    • The good news is that SpaceX can actually be ready to send man up there within 1 year (6 months if the house republicans will quit blocking funding for private space and increase it to less than 2 B for this year). And we can actually bring ppl down in less than 1 month. Issue solved.
  • Tit-for-Tat (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hubang (692671) on Wednesday April 02, 2014 @03:29PM (#46642099)
    Would have the Russians suspend all ISS related contracts.

    Good for the goose and all.
    • by Solandri (704621)
      Yeah, this reminds me of the 1980 Moscow Olympics boycott. While it may have had a symbolic meaning (it was in protest of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan), it ended up hurting the athletes more than the Soviet Union it was intended to hurt. And it seemingly forgot that the 1984 Olympics were in Los Angeles, which of course the Soviets promptly boycotted.
  • Yes...but no (Score:2, Interesting)

    As a Dane im proud that the Secretary General of NATO and the Danish foreign minister is in front with sanctions against Russia. Putin is effectively destroying what has created lasting peace in Europe from the last 69 years. Putin will keep pushing, until we stand firm. Then he will pick as with someone else...even the gay community, anything that will take eyes of the fact that he rules the country like a dictator. But, the US Russian space cooperation was first initiated as a sign of good will. It will
    • The sanctions are just a farce. If Putin turns off the gas to Western Europe, Germany's economy will sputter, taking down the rest of the EU, and it will get all Mad Max-y there. This is why Germany will never agree to any serious sanctions against Russia.

      Note that one of Obama's first moves was to try to whip up some plan to get Europe off their dependency on Russian Gas. And there is no quick and easy solution to that.

      And, no, we can't just build a "series of tubes" to bring gas from the US to Europe

      • by khallow (566160)
        How about ships instead? There are LNG carriers [wikipedia.org].

        Looking at this report [europa.eu] (figure 1 on page 2), I estimate that the EU consumed about 16-17 million cubic meters of natural gas. In comparison, the average LNG carrier now under production moves about 120 thousand cubic meters of natural gas. So it's around 150 trips of such LNG carriers from wherever to support the EU's needs.
        • I blew that by getting the wrong energy content of a cubic meter of natural gas. It's more like 16-17 billion cubic meters of natural gas. That's 150,000 trips of such LNG carriers which sounds a lot more reasonable. Let's say that one ship could do a round trip from North America to Europe and back in two weeks or 25 trips a year. Then that's a need for about 6,000 ships. Wikipedia notes that new ship construction is up to 260,000 cubic meters, which would drop the ship count to under 3,000.

          There are cu
    • by AHuxley (892839)
      Re "But, the US Russian space cooperation was first initiated as a sign of good will." The deal between the US and Russia about space was a pact that both sides really needed.
      The US could keep expert Russian skills in Russia and away from Brazil, China, India and other very well educated emerging space nations.
      Russia got to keep its best staff with generational skills that would be costly to have to re create decades later - stay with funding in Russia and could pass their skills on to next generations.
  • That's unfortunate that we loose scientific abilities because of political reasons. Science in this country already suffers from enough political religious groups and budget cuts. Hopefully SpaceX or the airforce will be able to fill the gap until it stabilizes.
    • by js3 (319268)

      That's unfortunate that we loose scientific abilities because of political reasons. Science in this country already suffers from enough political religious groups and budget cuts. Hopefully SpaceX or the airforce will be able to fill the gap until it stabilizes.

      For it to work both parties have to operate in good faith. Stealing parts of other countries is not good faith.

  • Space program is one of the few unique things Russia can be proud of on the world stage. If it's prestige is endangered, Putin is apt to take notice. Unlike oil, space is above every country in the world and there is no inherent reason Kazakhstan has to keep its dominance for launches.

  • I understand that the Russians are the only ones that can put people in the space station, and that the US serves as the ground control. If Russia refuses to let Americans on to the space station, what are the chances that the US would not coordinate ground control for an exclusively Russian or non-American crew? I've read from a number of sources speculating on this probability. What kind of ground support and communications structure are needed to keep the station operational? With the addition of the alpha magnetic spectrometer, the ISS has become a lot more interesting. : http://ams.nasa.gov/ [nasa.gov]

    Perhaps this is one thing that both countries really care about, it's one thing that could serve as leverage between then; a negotiation point.

    It's a shame that the cooperation deminishing. The Russians are doing some really fantastic work. They've put a radio telescope in orbit: They launched a radio telescope (Spektr-R) into space. By synchronizing this telescope with earth based telescopes, it can resolve features that are 1250x times smaller than what Hubble can see (40u-arc-seconds vs 0.05 arc-seconds).. Did you know that by pointing all of the radio dishes on one side of the earth, and that knowing the exact time radio waves hit each receiver with atomic clocks, you can out resolve any optical telescope on earth? We can literally see finer details with a radio telescope than we can with our best optical ones (using "VLBI " interferometry). The more separation between radio dishes, the better the angular resolution; and now we have one in orbit that will give us much much better resolving power. We may be able to "see" planets with radio waves. (I'd love to hear from radio astronomers about the practical limitations of this -- real world vs back-of-the envelope)

    They only started recently announcing their achievements on their website. Several of my friends joked that the reason we heard nothing for so long was that it was an expensive and embarrassing dud. It works, but they don't market or advertise themselves well. http://www.asc.rssi.ru/radioas... [asc.rssi.ru]

  • Order your manned flight to the ISS here [spacex.com]. Space-X is doing various "abort tests" NASA insists on, and the first manned launch for NASA isn't supposed to happen until 2017. But Space-X may send their own private astronauts into orbit next year.

    Space-X has been sending Dragon spacecraft to the ISS for some time now. The fourth one was supposed to launch this week, but the USAF had a fire at one of their tracking stations and all Cape Canaveral launches are on hold.

  • NASA apparently is trying to erect sanctions against NASA. Most of the US space and military heavy hauling was done by Volga-Dnepr An-124. It used to make its final approach to Moffett field right over my head. I guess we'll no longer see it. I wonder what NASA is going to do to replace it. Slice the cargo into smaller chunks and make more trips?
  • Our dependence on Russia for putting astronauts into space NEVER SHOULD HAVE FUCKING HAPPENED!

    But, can we vote into office a group of dumbasses who'll shit all over America's mission into space?

    YES! WE CAN!

    Can we just take all that money and shovel it into Russian coffers and pork projects?

    YES! WE CAN!

    • Re:"needs to end" (Score:4, Informative)

      by confused one (671304) on Wednesday April 02, 2014 @06:56PM (#46644249)
      I hope you're referring to Bush Jr. because he's the one who signed the order to kill and dismantle the Shuttle program. The current administration has failed by not producing a viable alternative and pushing the agenda forward. I personally think they're sitting on their hands, on purpose, waiting for commercial manned spaceflight to fill the role.

I judge a religion as being good or bad based on whether its adherents become better people as a result of practicing it. - Joe Mullally, computer salesman

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