Letters

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  Space News Business

Letters

posted: 18 March 2009
04:02 pm ET






Russia
‘s Influence

Regarding Eric Sterner’s Commentary [“U.S.-China Space Relations,” March 2, page 19], although the headline addresses only two “players” in the relations, I was surprised that
Russia
as a spacefaring nation was not mentioned with a single word. I think Russia will play an important role in the future U.S.-China relations as well: Russia supplies the Soyuz and Progress spacecraft for maintaining the operations of the international space station and is an obvious consultant to China for their human spaceflight program – China’s Shenzhou looks more like a Russian Soyuz than a U.S. shuttle. On the other hand very little is known about the final, role
Russia
might play in the U.S. Vision of Space Exploration.

The mentioned “arm’s length” might become an eyeball-to-eyeball distance eventually.

Joachim Kehr

Oberpfaffenhofen
,
Germany


Depending on

Russia

The
United States
is planning to pay
Russia
to launch Japanese and European astronauts to the international space station (ISS).The net result will be the loss of several thousand jobs in
Florida
and
Texas
next year and an increase in Russian jobs.

This little known fact about shuttle retirement was not revealed by former NASA Administrator Mike Griffin when he announced in December that NASA would pay
Russia
for carrying out
U.S.
promises to transport crews to and from the ISS. It was implied by
Griffin
that this agreement would apply only to
U.S.
astronauts.

Instead of the inspiration of
U.S.
leadership in manned space launches, we will face the embarrassment of being forced to rely on
Russia
for as long as five to seven years; however, it could get worse.
Russia
could demand more money or refuse to help the
United States
altogether.

Relying on an undependable partner like
Russia
was not a good option to begin with, but is now a worse choice.

O. Glenn Smith

Houston