Saturday, April 5, 2014

NASA Policy to Suspend Contact with Russia 'Unprecedented'

This image from a NASA space shuttle mission shows the International Space Station in orbit. 

The space station is the size of a football field and home to six astronauts. 

Image taken: Feb. 10, 2010.

Credit: NASA

NASA's order to employees to suspend most contact with Russian government representatives is the latest U.S-Russia political development in the ongoing crisis over Ukraine, but the new policy may not have many on-the-ground effects for people working at the American space agency, according to one space historian.

A NASA statement released Wednesday (April 2) directed U.S. space agency officials to suspend contact with Russian government representatives, but ongoing operations on the International Space Station are exempt from the new policy.

The statement was released hours after a leaked NASA memo stating the same policy. Other U.S. government agencies are also curtailing contact with Russian government officials, NASA spokesman Kelly Humphries told reporters.

Roscosmos, the Russian space agency, and NASA do engage in some other scientific collaboration, but most partnerships between the two organizations take place within the space station program.

Previously, all contact with the Russian space agency was directed through the European Space Agency (ESA) and that will be the likely 'fallback' scenario in this case.

No comments:

Post a Comment