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‘Russians, Americans alike disappointed by NASA’s decision to halt cooperation in space’

Source: RT

If political conflict on the ground between the US and Russia stretches into outer space cooperation it could put lives at risk as well as scientific progress that’s been a result of friendly relations, a former director of Johnson Space Center told RT.

George Abbey, the former director of the Johnson Space Center and Fellow in Space Policy at the Baker Institute of Rice University, spoke to RT in the aftermath of NASA’s announcement that it would suspend “the majority of its ongoing engagements” with Russia’s Roscosmos. The decision, which comes amid fresh tensions over the events in Ukraine, could have both immediate and far-reaching consequences. 

RT: There had been a great spirit of cooperation between the US and Russia in space. Washington wants to sanction Moscow, so is that spirit paying the price of politics?

George Abbey: I think if NASA takes some action, as I understand they are going to, it’s going to be very disappointing and certainly adversely affect our ability to cooperate in space. We really have been able to work together in space and it hasn’t been a political issue. Now we’re starting to make it a political issue.

RT: You were in the heart of some of these NASA operations, overseeing a number of missions to the ISS. Can the Russian and American space partnership survive this?

GA: Our astronauts are training in Russia. They’re well trained when they fly. And Russia not only launches our astronauts, but Russia provides a rescue vehicle for the space station for the six-month duration our astronauts are up there. They also return them back to us safely. We’ve been flying on the Soyuz. it’s a very reliable spacecraft and it’s very essential to our operations on the station.

RT:Can you tell us where the scientific community stands on the issue?

GA: It’s been very disappointing. Everyone that I’ve spoken with, my fellow colleagues – both engineers and scientists – were quite disappointed. We don’t think it’s a very wise decision and it certainly can affect the safety of operations in space. When you’re flying on an International Space Station you want to enhance cooperation and enhance communication, so when you start taking actions to lessen those communications, it’s not a very safe action and it’s not a very wise thing to do.

Former director of the Johnson Space Center George Abbey

Former director of the Johnson Space Center George Abbey

RT: NASA won’t be able to launch manned space flights for another three years. If Russia refuses to cooperate, where will this leave the US space program?

GA: The United States right now is totally dependent on our Russian partners. When we stopped flying the space shuttle, we did away with our access to take humans to space and we rely completely upon Russia. Russia does a very good job flying our crewmen up to the space station, so if that were to end, the US human flight program would not really be implemented in any fashion until 2017 or much later.

RT: We don’t know how long this relations freeze will last – but how much damage is it doing now?

GA: I hope we don’t see any real effect on our actions in the International Space Station. I think it’s essential that we continue to work together and work together well and certainly my Russian colleagues and my colleagues in NASA who are on the space station feel very strongly that needs to continue. I would be very disappointed if it starts carrying over and affecting those operations, but there are some activities over and aboard the International Space Station that we really ought to be cooperating with Russia in space, and that’s going to be adversely affected. It’s not the right thing to do.

Space Station Cooperation With NASA to Continue – Russian Official

Source: RIA Novosti

Эксперт: сотрудничество РФ и США в космосе сконцентрируется на МКС

MOSCOW, April 8 (RIA Novosti) – The Russian space agency Roscosmos has no plans to suspend cooperation with NASA on the International Space Station (ISS), the agency’s deputy head said Tuesday.

NASA announced last week that amid tensions over Ukraine it would freeze joint projects with Russia, excluding collaboration on the International Space Station.

“We are in no way raising the question or trying to develop a response [to NASA’s sanctions] because we don’t see any grounds for it,” Denis Lyskov said.

“All of the questions we have developed have always had an international format,” Lyskov said at a press conference at RIA Novosti.

Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, who oversees the space industry, mocked the move last week, saying that space cooperation between Russia and NASA was already limited to joint work on the ISS.

A number of NASA employees have condemned the decision to suspend the ties, saying cooperation in the peaceful exploration of outer space should not be affected by earthly politics.

The United States depends on the Russian Soyuz rocket and spacecraft – widely considered the most reliable manned space launch system in history – to ferry its astronauts to the ISS since the retirement of the US space shuttle in 2011.

The US pays Russia over $70 million for each seat aboard Soyuz.

“Progress M-22M” undocked from ISS


Progress M-22M undocked fromС

Morning on ISS (photo)

Morning on ISS

Грузовик ПрогрессMorning on ISS

The Cosmonaut on ISS will write “A total dictation — 2014”

Source: Сиб.фм

total dictation — 2014

The Cosmonaut on ISS will write “A total dictation — 2014”.

Earth, Soyuz&Progress 4 april 2014 (photos)

Earth, Soyuz&Progress 4 april 2014


Soyuz& Progress



Progress M-22m on Monday will be undocked from ISS

Source: РИА Новости

Progress M-22M on Monday will be undocked from ISS

Progress M-22m on Monday will be undocked from ISS.

State Department denies instructions to suspend cooperation with Roscosmos


State Department denies instructions to suspend cooperation with Roscosmos

April 4, the US State Department has dismissed reports saying that it had instructed NASA and other agencies to suspend cooperation with Russia.

“I know that there were mistaken statements yesterday that the Department of State called NASA to stop cooperation with Russia. Though I like to make orders to NASA, our department didn’t make such order,” Marie Harf, representative of the Department of State, said.

In addition, the statement about suspending cooperation between NASA and Roscosmos caused criticism from a number of NASA experts. In their point of view, such a decision may negatively impact the national space program and the ISS project.

ISS made maneuver for evasion from fragments of the old rocket

Source: РИА Новости

МКС совершила маневр для уклонения от обломков старой ракеты

ISS made maneuver for evasion from fragments of the old rocket.

NASA announces it suspends cooperation with Russia


NASA announces it suspends cooperation with Russia

April 3, NASA announced that it suspended cooperation with Russia except within the International Space Station (ISS) program. The agency specified that such a decision was made in connection with Russia’s actions towards Ukraine.

According to a NASA’s memo, “ongoing violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity” prompted the agency to halt contacts with Russia. The statement also said that NASA intended to complete own piloted spaceship project as soon as possible and to get rid of “dependence of Russia” in launching American astronauts to the ISS. The agency added that in case of relevant budget funding such a spaceship could be constructed in 2017. If the Congress does not allocate the necessary funds, the USA “would be further transferring millions of dollars to Russia”, NASA stated.