Wednesday, March 5, 2014

NASA claims US-Russia space ties 'normal' - Within Tolerable Boundaries

NASA chief Charles Bolden said Tuesday the US space agency's relationship with Russia remained normal despite the ongoing international crisis in Ukraine.

Russia is a key nation in the International Space Station alliance, and not only the US astronauts rely on Soyuz spacecraft to get to the orbiting outpost and back. 

The US lost or relinquished direct access since the US space shuttle fleet retired in 2011 and have yet to replace the Shuttle or Soyuz spacecrafts with a more viable option.

Under a signed agreement, the US pays Russia $70 million to ferry each American astronaut to the space station and back.

This deal is contracted to last for several more years until private US enterprises, the Europeans or Japanese, develop the capacity to carry space travelers again.

There is also the threat of the global aspirations of oppressive China expanding into the domination of Space and the Earth's outer atmosphere. Indications of this are already apparent.

Asked by reporters about the US space agency's ties with Russia during a media briefing, NASA administrator Bolden said nothing has changed.

"Right now, everything is normal in our relationship with the Russians," Bolden said.

"We continue to monitor the situation," he said, but stressed repeatedly that the US-Russian "partnership in space remains intact and normal."

Mike Hopkins, an American astronaut aboard the ISS, is set to return to Earth at the end of the month on a Russian rocket, and those plans have not changed, Bolden said.

"Things are nominal right now and our crews are doing well," he said.

Bolden said the US-Russian rapport in space goes back years, and recalled that it was not affected by the 2008 war between Russia and Georgia over break-away territories Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

"People lose track of the fact we have occupied the ISS now for 13 consecutive years uninterrupted and that has been through multiple international crises," Bolden said.

Earlier Tuesday, the US government announced a $1 billion support package for Ukraine as Secretary of State John Kerry visited Kiev.

Kerry accused Moscow of looking for a "pretext" to invade Ukraine and condemned Russia's intervention on the flashpoint Crimean peninsula as an "act of aggression."

In the meantime the ISS astronauts of all nations remain vulnerable to the outcome of this political debacle and we wish for a successful and peaceful outcome for everyone's sake.

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