NASA

U.S. and Russia Fight Over Ukraine but Continue to Cooperate in Space

Sanctioning the relationship between the space agencies would hurt both governments.

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low earth orbit is not outer space
NASA

CNN points out that despite rising political tensions between the United States and Russia over the latter's intervention in Ukraine, the two countries continue to cooperate in space:

The space collaboration between the two nations has survived other diplomatic kerfuffles—most recently, the war in Syria and asylum for NSA leaker Edward Snowden—and there's no need to worry, NASA says.

"We do not expect the current Russia-Ukraine situation to have any impact on our civil space cooperation with Russia, including our partnership on the International Space Station program," said Allard Beutel, a NASA spokesman, pointing out that it's in both countries' best interests not to disrupt "operations that have maintained continuous human presence on orbit for over a decade."

Beutel added, "NASA and its Russian counterpart, Roscosmos, have maintained a professional, beneficial and collegial working relationship through the various ups and downs of the broader U.S.-Russia relationship and we expect that to continue."

CNN highlights comments from a former space engineer who in December called the relationship one of "reluctant co-dependence." Since the retirement of the space shuttle fleet in 2011, NASA has relied on Russian Soyuz capabilities to get to the International Space Station, a joint project of the U.S., Russia, Europe, Japan, and Canada. The Russians, in turn, rely on superior technology available through NASA as well as the $71 million per seat they get for taking American astronauts into space.

The U.S. and Russian governments, then, both appear to understand the mutual economic harm that would be caused by extending sanctions to the relationship between their space agencies. If only governments understood that broader sanctions likewise harm the economic relationships between the peoples they govern.

Meanwhile, nearly two weeks after Russian intervention in Ukraine began, the European Union has agreed to the framework and wording of its sanctions against Russia.

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  1. So even NASA thinks McCain is an old senile fart with a cold war mentality.

  2. Given that we need Soyuz capsules to get our people back down, Nasa is unlikely to antagonize people they’ve worked with for years over something completely unrelated to the work that they’re doing.

    1. I’m repeating the article. Brain needs a reboot.

    2. It’s not just that. If the Russians play any games with access, they breach the terms of the agreement concerning the ISS and will get kicked off.

      I bet we could have a private manned launch alternative up within a year, if we had to. The Russians probably get that, too.

      1. will get kicked off spaced.

        1. I was referring to their rights in the station itself, not in evicting any Russian residents per se.

    3. Is it a given that we need Soyuz capsules for anything? The Dragon could be put into service in a few months if it became necessary. Of course, NASA doesn’t want to sully its hands working with the grubby private sector, or they’d already be saving money with the Dragon.

      1. I suspect NASA is institutionally incapable of asking SpaceX to rush Dragon as a manned contingency. Really, given the situation, that should be happening right now, not when (and if) the shit hits the fan.

        I don’t think it’ll reach the point where the Russians pull anything, but it’s not impossible.

      2. NASA tries to fully fund the commercial crew effort every year, and every year it is stymied by Congress.

        Congress funds the giant rocket to nowhere which will never be actually built to the tune of more than a billion annually, while simultaneously underfunding unmanned exploration and the commercial crew and cargo efforts.

        The Air Force also keeps its friends at ULA fed and watered through the EELV program.

        There is no technical or economic reason why we should still rely on the Russians for transport to the station or for engines to launch our military payloads.

        The only reason is the accelerating transformation of NASA into a jobs program in favored congressional districts and in states with powerful senators.

  3. If only governments understood that broader sanctions likewise harm the economic relationships between the peoples they govern.

    I’m sure they understand. They just don’t give a shit.

  4. The Space Station is the ultimate government program, expensive, going in circles and serving no other purpose than keeping NASA in business.

  5. They say that now, but once the joint venture gets to Jupiter, it’s going to be all, “Get off the Leonov and take Discovery back to Earth.”

    1. Just wait till the Russians annex Uranus.

    2. So, here we are on your actual brink. My agency’s going to become a part of the military, I’ve got a president with his finger poised on the button, and you want me to walk across the park and tell him we want to hitch a ride with those very same Russians. Have I missed anything?

      1. I don’t know which was scarier, the speech or the Congress cheering it. He evoked Lincoln. Whenever a president is gonna get us into serious trouble, they always use Lincoln.

        1. Listen, just because our governments are behaving like asses doesn’t mean we have to.

    3. Fuck that. I’m taking the Monolith back and evolving on the way beyond your capacity to comprehend.

      1. Heywood Floyd: Reason? There’s no TIME to be reasonable

    4. My first thought too, 2010 the movie was misnamed.

  6. The U.S. and Russian governments, then, both appear to understand the mutual economic harm that would be caused by extending sanctions to the relationship between their space agencies.

    I get what the Rooskies would lose by ending that relationship, but what exactly would the US lose? Their ability to flush millions of dollars a year into cold dark void of space? I’m sure they would find some other way to waste that money.

  7. I just hope Saul blows the thing up sooner rather then later….and aims that wreckage at DC.

    1. book 3 available in a couple weeks!

    2. Alan Saul?

  8. “NASA and its Russian counterpart, Roscosmos, have maintained a professional, beneficial and collegial working relationship through the various ups and downs of the broader narrower U.S.-Russia foreign policy relationship and we expect that to continue.”

    Fixed that for you, NASA spokesman Allard Beutel.

  9. The U.S. and Russian governments, then, both appear to understand the mutual economic harm that would be caused by extending sanctions to the relationship between their space agencies. If only governments understood that broader sanctions likewise harm the economic relationships between the peoples they govern.

    So, IOW, if we’d jumped in bed with Russia, economically speaking, at the end of the cold war, we might avoid pissing each other off now because we’d both have something to lose?

    Huh!

    But John and Ken assure me that poking other countries in the chest works best.

    1. I thought at the time, especially by the Clinton years, that we were missing an opportunity to economically engage and ensnare Russia into addiction to American economic crack. Worked with the Europeans, after all.

      1. They readily took to internet fraud…

        1. Yes, they have surpassed the Nigerians. No small accomplishment.

          1. I am pretty sure those were not real Nigerians.

            1. You think they were Russians all along.

              1. Please insert a question mark in place of the period above.

      2. The Swiss Serving guy (or whatever his name is this week) made a good point the other day. The corruption over there was the big inhibitor to making that dream a reality.

        But it seems to me if we had spent a fraction of the energy investing in Russia that we spent defending ourselves from her, we’d have gained a long term trading partner and ally.

    2. I think we obviously fucked up relations with Russia in the 90s, but it was not as simple as opening trade with Russia and switching to autopilot. Yeltsin and Gorbachev were awful managers and rulers who really screwed the pooch and prevented Russia from developing on the lines of the Eastern Euro states — like it or not, they were both identified with pro-US sentiment. What’s more, there is a sense in which making the Ukraine a client state makes sense from Russia’s perspective, and it’s tough to make a country act against its long-term interests, so we would have had to sacrifice good relations w the Eastern Euros in exchange for potentially better relations with Russia.

      1. Two-word solution: Russia Disney.

        1. “The Tsar has decided to commute Mickey’s sentence to 10 years’ hard labor in Siberia for his subversive and illicit relationship with Donald Duck, which is an offense to Russian Orthodoxy as well as the values of the nation.”

          1. Glorious Soviet vacation for hardworking Stakanovet peasants and factory workers.

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o_ycbQk_6ZI

        2. In post Soviet Russia, Mouse wears your ears.

  10. In space, no one can hear you invade the Ukraine.

    1. “Hey, I can see your tanks from my window. Come check this out, Yuri!”

  11. “I’m sorry too, Dmitri. I’m very sorry. All right, you’re sorrier than I am. But I am sorry as well. I am as sorry as you are, Dmitri. Don’t say that you’re the more sorry than I am because I am capable of being just as sorry as you are. So we’re both sorry, all right? All right.”

  12. Sounds like a solid plan to me dude.

    http://www.Anon-Works.com

    1. HAL, who the hell is sending this? Tell whoever it is that I can’t take any of this seriously unless I know who I’m talking to.

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