Russia: August 2008 Archives

Shuttle Extension Update

NASA requests shuttle options, Huntsville Times

"It's not really a formal study, though," Yembrick said, "but an informal request. As an agency we realize we want to be prepared and look at our options across the program." Yembrick said the options would be part of briefings and testimony to White House officials, Congress and other decision makers NASA has to speak to about the subject, and it should take about a month to complete. Informal requests are often cloaked studies, said Keith Cowing, who runs the online site NASAWatch.com. "Whenever NASA gets caught in a study, but doesn't want anybody to know it is a study, then they try to call it something else," said Cowing."

Russia Update

US reviewing 'entire relationship' with Russia: White House, AFP

"The United States is reviewing its "entire relationship" with Russia, the White House said Monday, charging that Moscow was still violating a ceasefire deal for the Georgia conflict. "We're reviewing our entire relationship with Russia, both for the medium term and the long term," said spokesman Tony Fratto, who charged there is "no question that Russia has not lived up to the ceasefire agreement."

US-Russia chill threatens NASA space program, AFP

"In an election year, it was going to be very difficult to get that waiver to pay hundreds of millions of dollars to an increasingly aggressive Russia," Nelson said. "Now, I'd say it's almost impossible."

When the shuttles retire, Baltimore Sun

"Congress should approve the waiver NASA needs to keep sending astronauts to the space station as planned, and it ought to be prepared to do more if Russia proves uncooperative. America must remain a leader in space. The U.S. space program is at a crucial juncture, and the country can't afford to let it be held hostage to dust-ups abroad with Russia or to partisan bickering at home."

Cosmonaut Photographed South Ossetia From ISS, Aviation Week

"On Aug. 9 Cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko used a digital camera equipped with an 800mm telephoto lens and a video camera to photograph "after-effects of border conflict operations in the Caucasus," according to the ISS status report for that day published by NASA on its website."

NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 9 August 2008

"Also working from the discretionary task list, Oleg Kononenko conducted another session of the Russian GFI-8 "Uragan" (hurricane) earth-imaging program, using the D2X digital camera with the F800 telephoto lens and the HVR-Z1J SONY video camera. Uplinked target areas were glaciers on the north slope of the main Caucasus Ridge, the Dombai region, after-effects of border conflict operations in the Caucasus ..."

Concerns Over Russia Grow

Discord With Russia a Worry for NASA, Washington Post

"[NASA Administrator Michael] Griffin made clear that he did not consider NASA's near-total reliance on the Russians in the future to be a good or prudent thing -- he called it "unseemly" -- but he said the agency lacked the funds to build a shuttle replacement more quickly. The waiver (which was first passed in 2005) has been endorsed by the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, but the Senate has taken no action on it."

Russia-Georgia clash prompts space station worries, AP

"Sen. Barbara Mikulski says the possible impact of the Russia-Georgia military conflict on the International Space Station is a "critical issue" that must be resolved. Mikulski, chairwoman of the Commerce, Justice and Science Appropriations Subcommittee that funds NASA, issued a statement today saying the Bush administration must work with Congress to find a bipartisan solution."

Russia-Georgia conflict could affect NASA funding, Houston Chronicle

"Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Houston, who voted for the measure in the Foreign Affairs Committee, said NASA should now consider using the shuttle fleet past its retirement date. "We should look at whether there is any possibility of revisiting the space shuttle extension even for short period of time while we are in the middle of this political and diplomatic and military nightmare," she said. "It is difficult to engage in a nation when you have a sizable amount of disagreements."

Washington, we have a problem..., New Scientist

"The price might also be more than money. There's already a non-monetary problem on the US side: the Iran Non-Proliferation Act bars buying from the Russians unless the Russians stop helping Iran with its nuclear programme, and Congress is balking at giving NASA another exemption from this. Two can play that game. What if the Russian government's price for more Soyuz rides is that the US concede Russian control of parts of Georgia?"

Could the Russia-Georgia conflict jeopardize U.S. space plans?, Scientific American

"So what's the backup plan? That's the problem, experts said: There isn't one. Getting Orion ready faster isn't in the cards. NASA this week confirmed a report leaked last month when it announced that flat budgets and technical problems would delay testing of Orion until late 2014."

Experts: Reliance on Russia makes NASA weak, CNN

"Election-year politics combined with increasing concerns about Iran and the ongoing crisis in Georgia all but guarantee that lawmakers will not vote for the exemption, said Nelson. That means NASA could lose access to the $100 billion space station unless it continues to fly the shuttle or strikes some sort of deal with another space agency willing to put forward money for additional Soyuz seats, the Senator explained to CNN. "It is a lose-lose situation," said Nelson. "If our relationship with Russia is strained who knows if Russia will give us rides in the future?" Nelson continued. "Or if they give us rides will they charge such an exorbitant price that it becomes blackmail?"

US, allies weigh punishment for Russia, AP

"Scrambling to find ways to punish Russia for its invasion of pro-Western Georgia, the United States and its allies are considering expelling Moscow from an exclusive club of wealthy nations and canceling an upcoming joint NATO-Russia military exercise, Bush administration officials said Tuesday."

Russia May Turn Focus to Pro-U.S. Ukraine After Beating Georgia, Bloomberg

"Now that Russia has humiliated Georgia with a punishing military offensive, it may shift its attention to reining in pro-Western Ukraine, another American ally in the former Soviet Union."

Russian invasion threatens the Space Station, Orlando Sentinel

"U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., acknowledged Tuesday that Russias five-day invasion of the Georgian province of South Ossetia makes it extremely unlikely that Congress will vote to exempt the Russian-built Soyuz capsule from a law that bans trade with nations that sell nuclear material to Iran. NASA had been counting on the waiver to enable it to continue carrying people and cargo to the space station after the space shuttle is retired in 2010. The Soyuz is NASAs only proven alternative to get to the station."

Editor's note: Right now Russians outnumber Americans on ISS - but wait, one of the "Russians" (the ISS Commander) was actually born in the Ukraine ... things could get complicated if Ukraine continues to openly side with Georgia and all of the political tension spills into how the ISS program is run ...

Bush says violence in Georgia is unacceptable, AP

"On Sunday, Vice President Dick Cheney told Georgia's pro-American president that "Russian aggression must not go unanswered, and that its continuation would have serious consequences for its relations with the United States," Cheney's office reported."

Editor's note: Oh great - and these are the same Russians that the U.S. will have to rely upon for 5 or mre years to provide Americans with exclusive access to the ISS.


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This page is an archive of entries in the Russia category from August 2008.

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