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.