February 1997 Archives

Keith's note: Rep. Sensenbrenner and his delegation made a scheduled factory visit to view Russian space station hardware today. Unbeknownst to Rep. Sensenbrenner, who had requested that there be no press in attendance, someone at the Krunichev Space Center had the bright idea of letting the press in such that they could get a picture of Rep. Sensenbrenner and his delegation as they admired the on-time, on-budget FGB module. Sensenbrenner wasn't the slight bit interested. Indeed, he wasn't happy at all about being put on the spot.

According to Reuters, Khrunichev's General Director Anatoly Kiselyov told Sensenbrenner that the Service Module would be launched per the recently modified launch schedule. After Sensenbrenner left, according to Reuters, Kiselyov told reporters that without $10 Million by the end of February, he wouldn't be able to meet that same schedule (too bad the reporters wrote both of these quotes down, eh?).

When he later examined the Service Module, Sensenbrenner remarked that he hadn't noticed much progress in the past. Reuters quotes Sensenbrenner as saying that 'the entire [space station] program has been placed in jeopardy" and that the lack of progress on the Service Module "could unravel the whole project". Khrunichev 's Kiselyov apparently wasn't a happy camper and is reported by Reuters to have said that none of this was his company's fault (he's right: Khrunichev builds the on-time FGB) and that he was "not the President of Russia." No mention seems to have been made of the fact that Energiya is actually the contractor for the Service Module - not Khrunichev. What a mess. RIF Watch wonders where the Russian Space Agency's PAO was during all of this.

To Russia With Bucks?

Keith's note: On 31 January 1997 Dan had to cut short a trip to California to return to DC for a White House meeting. The topic was Russia and the Space Station in preparation for the Gore/Chernomyrdin talks. Between 5 and 6 February Gore and Chernomyrdin had their meetings. On 7 February Chernomyrdin vowed to VP Gore that he'd release $100M by 28 February to get things rolling again. Also on 7 February, NRL ICM development (Clementine Upper Stage) was all set to be terminated by NASA. On 10 February the effort was brought back to life until the end of February.

On 12 February 1997 Dan testified before Congress and gave the Russians until 28 February to decide whether they are going to live up to Victor Chernomyrdin's pledge and provide the money to build the Service Module. Dan also broached the possibility of a 6 month slip to accommodate Russian hardware delays. Space News quotes Rep. Sensenbrenner as saying on 12 February that "It may be time to give this program [the space station] some tough love".


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