Wednesday, April 9, 2014

ESA the Go-Between: Europe to manage NASA reletionship with Russia, again

The European Space Agency (ESA) and it's European partners, have no intentions of reviewing its space cooperation with Russia, despite the latter's merger with Crimea and NASA's recent announcement of pulling out from joint projects with Moscow, ESA Director General Jean-Jacques Dordain reported.

Last week, NASA posted on its Twitter and Facebook accounts a statement announcing the suspension of direct cooperation with Russia in an apparent move of siding with Washington administration's sanctions in regard to Moscow over the situation in Ukraine.

NASA's statement on Facebook read in particular: "Given Russia's ongoing violation of Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity, NASA is suspending the majority of its ongoing engagements with the Russian Federation."

According to Itar-Tass, "Jean-Jacques Dordain, director-general of the 20-nation European Space Agency, said none of his governments - almost all members of NATO - nor anyone from the 28-nation European Union has suggested that Europe shut down any of its multiple space-policy arrangements with Russia,". "Unlike NASA, Europe has multiple programs running with Russia."

The weekly also added that a number of ESA "officials said the diplomatic tensions over Russia's moves in the Ukraine are like a choppy sea surface.

Below the surface, where the real business is done, they said, things are continuing as usual." The American space agency announced, however, that it intended to continue cooperation with Russia on the maintenance of the International Space Station (ISS).

During the Cold War and subsequent tensions between the US and Russia, ESA and it's European partners took the lead in managing NASA's space activities with Russia. Clealry, this task has been returned to them.

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