Feeds

Russian push into Georgia could knock Nasa off ISS

Astronauts could be benched till 2015

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Russia’s invasion of Georgia is sending ripples right out into space, with NASA facing the possibility of no longer being able to hitch a ride to the International Space Station on Soyuz flights.

With the space shuttle due to retire in 2010, and the US not likely to have a replacement manned space flight option ready till 2015, Russian’s space fleet is the only interim option for the US to get people into space and onto the ISS.

But the US and Russia have long been at loggerheads over Moscow’s less-than-hard line on Iran’s nuclear program, and the 2000 Iran-Syria Non-Proliferation Act bans the US from tech purchases from countries that trade nuke material with those countries.

That bill includes an exemption for Russia’s Soyuz program, allowing the US to book seats on Russian manned flights, but that expires in 2011, when it will be put to the vote again.

Senator Bill Nelson, the Florida-based democrat who is a major advocate for Nasa, has publicy acknowledged that Russia’s increasingly aggressive stance means Congress is unlikely to let the exemption through.

He told Florida Today: "It was a tough sell before, but it was doable simply because we didn't have a choice. We don't want to deny ourselves access to the space station, the very place we have built and paid for."

“That’s a $100bn investment up there that we won’t have access to,” he said to the Florida Sentinel.

He also acknowledged that even if Congress did extend the waiver an increasingly assertive Russia might simply snub NASA.

Nelson did not let the opportunity pass to take a pop at the Bush administration, criticising it for allowing the US to become dependent on Russia’s manned space program. "If I were president I'd be pulling out all the stops to get Russia to understand the consequences of continued bad behavior," Nelson told the Sentinel.

The US has indeed been taking a tougher line with Russia over the Georgian incursion, though whether that makes future space collaboration more likely is decidedly moot. With US forces delivering aid – and whisking Georgian troops back from Iraq – we seem to be heading back to the days when Russian and US astronauts being within 20 feet of one another in space is seen as a major advance in détente. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Gigantic toothless 'DRAGONS' dominated Earth's early skies
Gummy pterosaurs outlived toothy competitors
Boffins ID freakish spine-smothered prehistoric critter: The CLAW gave it away
Bizarre-looking creature actually related to velvet worms
CRR-CRRRK, beep, beep: Mars space truck backs out of slippery sand trap
Curiosity finds new drilling target after course correction
'Leccy racer whacks petrols in Oz race
ELMOFO rakes in two wins in sanctioned race
Astronomers scramble for obs on new comet
Amateur gets fifth confirmed discovery
Boffins build CYBORG-MOTHRA but not for evil: For search & rescue
This tiny bio-bot will chew through your clothes then save your life
Vulture 2 takes a battering in 100km/h test run
Still in one piece, but we're going to need MORE POWER
What does a flashmob of 1,024 robots look like? Just like this
Sorry, Harvard, did you say kilobots or KILLER BOTS?
NASA's rock'n'roll shock: ROLLING STONE FOUND ON MARS
No sign of Ziggy Stardust and his band
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.