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article imageRussian sanctions have boomerang affect on U.S. space program

By Karen Graham     May 14, 2014 in Politics
Russia has announced that after 2020 they will no longer use the International Space Station. This notification comes two weeks after warning the U.S. that sanctions against the Russian space industry would have a "boomerang" effect.
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin told reporters on Tuesday that Russia was rejecting a proposal by NASA that would extend cooperation on the International Space Station (ISS) and would also limit exports of Russian rocket engines to the U.S.
Rogozin told the press that in rejecting the NASA proposal, “After 2020, we would like to divert these funds [used for ISS) to more promising space projects.” His comments came less than a day after three Russian cosmonauts returning from the ISS landed safely on the steppes of Kazakhstan, about 150 kilometers southeast of the city of Zhezqazghan.
According to Radio Free Europe, Rogozin said Moscow is alarmed about continuing high-tech projects with "an unreliable partner" that is "politicizing everything." Rogozin also said Russia’s space station segment "can exist independently" but that the American segment cannot exist "without the Russian one."
The announcement will bring an end to nearly 20 years of cooperation in space travel between Russia and the United States, a quiet partnership that has weathered the political ups-and-downs of the sometimes shaky relationship between the two global powerhouses. The ISS is a $100 billion international program involving 15 countries.
NASA released a statement after the announcement was made public saying the U.S. space agency "has not received any official notification from the Government of Russia on any changes in our space cooperation at this point."
In April of this year, an order was passed down the line that all NASA personnel were to cease all contact with Russian space officials, with one exception, and that was those activities needed to maintain operations aboard the ISS. At that point, ongoing cooperation between the two countries seemed to be unaffected, according to NASA Administrator Charles Bolden.
At the same time, Roscosmos chief Oleg Ostapenko backed up Bolden's assertions that cooperation between the two agencies was still ongoing, also saying Roscosmos had not received notification from NASA that cooperation was being suspended.
Now, the good feelings are over, and Rogozin says that Russia is now "seriously concerned" about any continuing relationship with the U.S. because we have become an "unreliable partner," and Roscosmos has been instructed "to intensify work with our partners in the Asia-Pacific region who are looking for interesting near-earth and deep-space projects." Ostapenko also said in an interview that Moscow was intent on pursuing a closer relationship with China, the newest player to join in space exploration.
All this is coming at an awkward time, and is sure to have farreaching affects with the space program in the U.S. America doesn't have any space vehicles since the decision to retire the space shuttle was made in 2011. We have been relying on the Russian Soyuz capsules to get our astronauts back and forth from the ISS.
More about International Space Station, NASA, Russia, Sanctions on Russia, International cooperation
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