Russia prepares to abandon American astronauts over Ukraine
By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
5/13/2014 (2 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
While Russian forces may have withdrawn from the border with Ukraine, it appears that President Vladimir Putin's Cold War antics are not over just yet.
The United States space program has been dependent on Russian Soyuz craft since the end of the Space Shuttle program in 2011.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Russia's Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said that Moscow will reject the United State's request to prolong the use of the International Space Station beyond 2020, along with banning the US from using Russian made rocket engines to launch military satellites, and suspending operation of GPS satellite navigation system sites in its territory.
Moscow made this decision in response to continued US sanctions over the crisis in the Ukraine, which Russia has been accused of encouraging, specifically US plans to deny export licenses for high-technology items that would benefit the Russian military.
"We are very concerned about continuing to develop high-tech projects with such an unreliable partner as the United States, which politicizes everything," Rogozin said at a news conference. "These sanctions are out of place and inappropriate."
"We have enough of our own problems," he said.
The US wants to keep the $100 billion, 15-nation project in use for four years beyond the originally projected 2020 end date.
Since President Barrack Obama ended the Space Shuttle program in 2011, Russian Soyuz spacecraft have been the only way to get astronauts to and from the space station. The crew of the stations is primarily made up of Americans and Russians.
Rogozin says that the Russian made NK-33 and RD-180 engines are ready to be delivered, but says that the rockets must not be used to launch military satellites. These engines are used to boost Atlas 5 rockets made by United Launch Alliance, a partnership of Lockheed Martin and Boeing which nearly exclusive rights to launch American military satellites.
The ULA said that it was not yet aware of any restriction. If these deliveries are not forthcoming, the company says it can dip into other launch vehicles or a two-year supply of engines to pick up the slack.
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