Monday, April 7, 2014
A Short-Sighted Decision: NASA Suspends Cooperation With Russians in Space
American astronaut Steve Swanson (left) and Russian cosmonaut Alexander Skorvtsov, appear last month before their Soyuz launch to the International Space Station.
Evidently, the Russian annexation of Crimea is still eating away at Amerikkan exceptionalists and inspiring more pique and petulance. Like spoiled brats that just can't have their own way, and because they can no longer bully another nation (which isn't prepared to tolerate their bullshit) they have to find new ways to take their toys away and run home. BWAAAAA....Them bad Russians pickin' on we!
The latest example, which I put under the category of 'supremely stupid' is demanding NASA discontinue its relationship with its Russian counterpart agency, Roscosmos.
After insisting that space relations would not be altered by earthly politics, NASA on Wednesday said it was severing ties with Russia over the Ukraine crisis, except for the International Space Station. (Of course, without the Russians and their Soyuz, we'd never be able to get our people there because like goons we mothballed our only means of transport - the Space Shuttle - cutting thousands of jobs at Cape Kennedy with it)
Can you say hypocrites?
The result of this latest pique?
- NASA employees cannot travel to Russia or host visitors until further notice.
- They are also barred from emailing or holding teleconferences with their Russian counterparts
In other words, no further cross-fertilization regarding space issues or problems. How fuckin' dumb is this? Pretty fuckin' dumb!
All this is because of Russia's actions in Ukraine, according to a memo sent to NASA workers. But hey- all activities related to the space station are exempt. NASA and Russia's space agency will "continue to work together to maintain safe and continuous operation" of the space station, NASA said in a statement released late on Wednesday.
Why? Because we can't get our own asses to the station without the assistance of the Russians! Since the absurd early retirement of the space shuttle, NASA has depended on Russia to hitch rides to the giant orbiting outpost, paying nearly $71m per trip for a seat on the Soyuz. A Russian rocket last week delivered three astronauts, including American Steve Swanson. The laboratory is a partnership of the US, Russia, Europe, Japan and Canada. US astronauts train in Russia before flying to the space station and the new directive was not expected to affect that.
Previously NASA had insisted US-Russia space relations were fine despite the tensions over Ukraine. NASA administrator Charles Bolden said on 4 March:
"Right now, everything is normal in our relationship with the Russians,".
NASA reiterated the sentiment last week after Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine, saying:
"We do not expect the current Russia-Ukraine situation to have an impact on our longstanding civil space co-operation with Russia, which goes back decades,"
After the memo leaked on Wednesday, NASA confirmed it was suspending most contact with Russia. But it also took a swipe at Congress, noting that it wouldn't be relying on Russia to fly to the space station if funding had not been cut. The space agency said it was looking at private rocket companies to ferry astronauts in 2017. Yeah, right. If NASA thinks the private bunch will be ready by then they're really smoking some strong stuff!
Space policy experts said they were not surprised with the latest guideline because similar memos suspending Russian contact went out to other federal agencies. Which leads me to believe it wasn't NASA's idea but it came from the Obama White House, still smarting at numerous barbs from the Likes of John McInsane and others that they aren't doing enough to thwart the Russkies.
Earlier, recall that Congress and NATO took steps to "punish Russia" for its actions in Ukraine by sending Obama a bill to provide $1bn in loan guarantees to Ukraine and add to sanctions against Russia. These dumb maggots have a billion to piss away on Ukraine but see no problem in slicing billions from the food stamps program so OUR kids starve at night!
NATO''s warmongering clique of foreign ministers ordered an end to civilian and military cooperation with Russia, which doubtless presaged the NASA move, or rather the WH order mandating it.
Scott Pace, space policy director at George Washington University, said it was noteworthy that co-operation on the space station remained intact. He said:
"We and the Russians have a very deep and integrated relationship. We are reliant on them as they are on us. Divorce is not an option."
Pace said there would probably be disruptions for NASA scientists who trade data or work on experiments with Russian researchers. Again, that's why it's a stupid, self-mutilating move that could well impinge on the safety of U.S. astronauts. But do our hare-brained politicos care, so long as they can posture? Hell no!
Former Johnson Space Center Director George Abbey had this to say in a recent interview:
"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. "
Of course, for our posturing poltroons, none of that matters. So long as they can get one more petulant dig at the Russians, they will risk the lives of whatever American astronauts - devil take the hindmost. It's all about politics in the end, and if you peel back the layers enough - you will see the telltale traces of the Neoliberal imperative.