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  Ukraine crisis, Russia and space program politics (Page 1)

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Author Topic:   Ukraine crisis, Russia and space program politics
gliderpilotuk
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posted 02-28-2014 10:59 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for gliderpilotuk   Click Here to Email gliderpilotuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Lots of posturing by Russia amidst the turmoil and death in Ukraine. Sad to see athletes and a veteran cosmonaut being wheeled in to stake a claim.
Several Russian MPs have also gone to Crimea, including Russian celebrities - former Olympic ice skating champion Irina Rodnina, former cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova and heavyweight boxer Nikolai Valuev.

cspg
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posted 03-01-2014 04:19 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for cspg   Click Here to Email cspg     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'm not sure we're supposed to care unless someone in Moscow is putting a gun to her head and forcing her to go in Crimea.

dom
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posted 03-01-2014 05:30 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for dom   Click Here to Email dom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
She's been manipulated all her life by the Kremlin, so this is probably just another 'day at the office'. Sad really as it just proves she's an unreconstructed Soviet.

Lasv3
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posted 03-01-2014 10:43 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Lasv3   Click Here to Email Lasv3     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
And what about the US and European high ranking officials visiting Kiev, having speeches and planning the future for Ukraine? I do not see any difference at all.

cspg
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posted 03-01-2014 10:59 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for cspg   Click Here to Email cspg     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The difference lies in the "use" (propaganda tool as was the case for the Olympics) of "celebrities" by the wannabe-tsar in the Kremlin for his advantage. The "high-ranking officials" are nobodys and soon will be replaced by others. I'm not taking sides, as the Ukrainian situation seems awfully complicated.

Lasv3
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posted 03-01-2014 11:32 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Lasv3   Click Here to Email Lasv3     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I think we could agree that both the "nobodies" and the "celebrities" are misused by somebodies in background who are pulling the strings and have their own agendas. And this is sad and dangerous..

eurospace
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posted 03-01-2014 12:11 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for eurospace   Click Here to Email eurospace     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Lasv3:
I do not see any difference at all.
A very important difference is: the EU delegation came without arms, peaceful.

Yanukovych shot his own people. And Putin invades Crimea with tanks and aircraft.

Very important differences, my dear friend.

Lasv3
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posted 03-01-2014 12:25 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Lasv3   Click Here to Email Lasv3     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This thread started with Valentina Tereshkova coming to Crimea and she - as the EU and US officials - also did not come with the gun.

My first reaction was to point out that she did the same that was done by the western officials, she is neither worse nor better for that than them. No difference for me still.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 03-01-2014 12:52 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Do we know for sure it wasn't Tereshkova's own idea or desire to go? She's an elected member of the State Duma. Her celebrity-status aside, is there something to suggest she's "being wheeled in" rather than leading the charge?

Lasv3
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posted 03-01-2014 01:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Lasv3   Click Here to Email Lasv3     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Did she come on her own or was she pushed to go? It absolutely does not matter.

She came to support the pro-Russia part of the Ukrainian citizens, other guys came to support the pro-EU part. Both US and EU on one side and Russia on the other side are interfering with Ukrainian affairs. And the welfare and human rights of the Ukrainian people are definitely not on the top of the agendas of any of the interfering party.

eurospace
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posted 03-01-2014 02:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for eurospace   Click Here to Email eurospace     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Tereshkova is the Deputy Head of the Russian State Duma's Foreign Affairs Committee. That is a pretty high position in the political hierarchy of this country. She certainly went there on her own decision.

moorouge
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posted 03-01-2014 02:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for moorouge   Click Here to Email moorouge     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Oh! How easy it is to forget history and the lessons it teaches us.

The ports in the Crimea on the Black Sea are Russia's only warm water access to the outside world. For centuries much of their foreign policy has been to maintain and protect that access. Unfortunately for those living there and to a lesser extent to rest of the world, what we see today in the Ukraine is a fresh manifestation of that policy, whether it be bearing arms or not.

alanh_7
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posted 03-01-2014 05:30 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for alanh_7   Click Here to Email alanh_7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I do not have an opinion on this either way as my knowledge of politics in the Ukraine is limited. Celebrities use their status all the time to gain attention to their cause. I would point out that former WBC World Heavyweight Boxing champion Vitali Klitschko, a citizen of the Ukraine (though he lived much of his career in Germany) and has been involved in politics for some time, used his status to gain attention to the Euromaiden protests and has been heavily involved in recent political events in the Ukraine.

fredtrav
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posted 03-01-2014 08:17 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for fredtrav   Click Here to Email fredtrav     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
While Crimea is a part of Ukraine, it is only recent. Ukraine was given Crimea in 1954 by Kruschev. When Ukraine was given its independence, it had to lease Sevastapol to Russia for the Black Sea fleet as it has been pointed out, this is Russia's only warm water port. For better or worse Russia will go to great lengths to keep it.

dom
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posted 03-02-2014 06:49 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for dom   Click Here to Email dom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Unfortunately for the Russian position, they signed a legal document at the end of the USSR guaranteeing they'd respect Ukraine's border.

As part of this international deal the Ukrainians gave up their ex-Soviet nuclear weapons as a sign of good faith but now Putin is using the Black Sea fleet issue as an excuse.

Also, let's not forget that this territory is historically Tatar - a people who have more in common with Turks. The Ukrainians and Russians are recent 'blow-ins'.

moorouge
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posted 03-02-2014 07:51 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for moorouge   Click Here to Email moorouge     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by dom:
Unfortunately for the Russian position, they signed a legal document at the end of the USSR guaranteeing they'd respect Ukraine's border.

A cynic would say that 'legal agreements' between nations are to ease the conscience of the righteous and to be ignored by the ungodly. Which ever view one takes, in practical terms they are all too often unenforceable.

Again, history has examples aplenty of both.

Cozmosis22
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posted 03-02-2014 10:57 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Cozmosis22     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
At this point Mr. Putin can do what he wants and he knows it. Who's going to stop him? While Russian security forces were busy keeping the Olympics safe, things were spinning out of control in Kiev. The occupation of Crimea is but a warning to the greater Ukraine.

As space enthusiasts we should agree that at this point the West should keep it's nose out of the situation there. Russia has maximum leverage now and since 2011 all roads to space go through Moscow. After all, Putin also has "a pen and a phone."

alanh_7
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posted 03-02-2014 11:10 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for alanh_7   Click Here to Email alanh_7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
As a space enthusiast I would have liked to have a US based system ready for launch before the shuttle program ended.

However that is not that case and the politicians on both sides are not going to make their decisions based on the ISS/Soyuz program. The Russian program needs Western money just as much as the West needs the Russian launch system.

cspg
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posted 03-02-2014 12:30 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for cspg   Click Here to Email cspg     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Cozmosis22:
As space enthusiasts we should agree that at this point the West should keep it's nose out of the situation there.
If things were to spiral out of control (there are now G8 summit threats; hopefully the idiots in charge (to quote a well-known French geopolitical analyst) will come to their senses), you would be okay to look the other way for the simple reason that Moscow holds a monopoly to space? I cannot agree with this. Ever. We've turned our back to Syria (although the situation is even more complicated), I wouldn't want to add Ukraine to the list.
quote:
Originally posted by Alanh_7:
However that is not that case and the politicians on both sides are not going to make their decisions based on the ISS/Soyuz program.
Fortunately, no one cares about this. Natural gas is going to be the issue. And that concerns Western Europe.

issman1
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posted 03-02-2014 02:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for issman1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by alanh_7:
As a space enthusiast I would have liked to have a US based system ready for launch before the shuttle program ended.

American politicians of all persuasions were aware of this but didn't care enough.

No better proof of this than their procrastination of an indigenous commercial crew provider. NASA's dependency upon Soyuz is almost comical.

I think if we do not become an interplanetary faring species soon then we will be confined on Earth till we cease to exist through a calamity of our own making or from the heavens above.

SkyMan1958
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posted 03-03-2014 07:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SkyMan1958   Click Here to Email SkyMan1958     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Just wondering, does anyone think that if the Ukranian crisis continues to escalate, that the Russians will stop supplying Soyuz seats to the other ISS partners? If so, what do you see as the ramifications?

Editor's note: Threads merged.

fredtrav
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posted 03-03-2014 07:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for fredtrav   Click Here to Email fredtrav     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
They won't/can't do that. They need the money too much for their program. It might be time for the US to push harder and make development of a US crew capsule a rush priority. It would take away a bargaining chip from the Russians as well as cutting off some cash.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 03-04-2014 07:34 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said today that while the space agency continues to monitor the situation, as of now, relations between NASA and its Russian counterparts remain normal.
Right now, everything is normal in our relationship with the Russians. I'm not an historian... but over the duration of the human spaceflight program, particularly over the last 15 years since International Space Station has been on orbit, it's very important to understand that it started with a partnership between the United States and Russia. That partnership in space remains intact and normal. We are continuing to monitor the situation. Our crews continue to train in Star City.

LM1
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posted 03-04-2014 10:56 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM1   Click Here to Email LM1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It all depends on how this situation progresses. At the moment the US has two astronauts aboard the ISS (Michael Hopkins and Richard Mastracchio). They will land later this year. If the situation in Ukraine has deteriorated and more lives are lost, we could not continue cooperating with Russia on future space missions.

It appears that Putin has eyes on Ukraine to restore the USSR piece by piece. Eastern Ukraine is aligned with Russia by language and other ties. Western Ukraine wants to be aligned with the West and the EU. If Putin annexes the Eastern Ukraine, he will be empowered to do the same with Georgia and the other former Soviet republics.

The US cannot look away as has been suggested up-thread. But we also cannot use military force. President Obama has suggested that he may boycott the June G8 meeting in Sochi. He has other non-lethal options: cancelling US participation in the Sochi Olympics for handicapped athletes, cancelling US participation on ISS missions, and many other political/military options - including returning defensive missiles to Poland and other countries, which were removed or disabled a few years ago.

We cannot look away or take a position that we have no stake in the dispute. As has been said, "Freedom is never given, you must fight for it, win it and defend it."

Robert Pearlman
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posted 03-04-2014 11:06 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by LM1:
They will land later this year.
Hopkins will land on Monday (March 10). Steve Swanson will launch with Aleksandr Skvortsov and Oleg Artemyev on March 25.
quote:
...cancelling US participation on ISS missions
This is not an option, unless the U.S. is prepared to deorbit the space station. The ISS cannot be operated by only a Russian crew (likewise it cannot operate with only a USOS crew; the two are interdependent). It is not in either country's interest to jeopardize the station's future.

LM1
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posted 03-05-2014 12:10 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM1   Click Here to Email LM1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I did not know that the ISS is dependent in any manner on the presence of US astronauts. Ukraine is dependent on Russia for natural gas. Russia may need the $120-million per astronaut per mission, but I am sure that the flow of natural gas from Russia or funds from the US crew members is not a consideration. If the ISS is dependent on the US in any manner, then it is in jeopardy.

If Putin walks into Ukraine and if the Ukrainians fight for their freedom and blood is spilled again, we will by our cooperation with Russia in space be giving tacit approval of Putin's aggression.

I am sure that at this moment that perhaps 1 person in 1000 knows that we have astronauts in space on the ISS. I hope that Putin backs down as Khrushchev did in the Cuban Missile Crisis in the early 1960s. If he does not, and particularly if there is intense fighting and the fighting spreads to other nearby republics, it would be impossible to imagine that the US would continue to cooperate with Russia in space.

Removing our astronauts from the ISS on schedule would be noticed, even if it is brief. If we continue to cooperate with Putin while he is killing Ukrainians, we will have blood on our hands.

If we do not draw the line at aggression, where do we draw the line?

Robert Pearlman
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posted 03-05-2014 12:36 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by LM1:
Removing our astronauts from the ISS on schedule would be noticed, even if it is brief.
The ISS cannot remain operational without both USOS astronauts and Russian cosmonauts aboard. Just as important, if not more so, NASA's Mission Control is needed to monitor and maintain space station systems. The U.S. cannot walk away from the space station without putting the $100 billion facility at risk.

moorouge
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posted 03-05-2014 02:47 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for moorouge   Click Here to Email moorouge     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I suspect that the effect of events in Ukraine on the future of the ISS have not, nor will not, be a consideration when it comes to deciding the actions that might be taken. As I stated in my original post, the prime Russian aim is to preserve and guarantee its warm water outlet in the Crimea, i.e. the ports on the Black Sea. Yes, there are other matters that have a bearing, but these are used as a reason to achieve that basic objective.

In other words, is Putin going to give up his plans for the Crimea and eastern Ukraine because he is worried that American dollars to launch astronauts to the ISS will dry up? I think not. This is a minor problem to be resolved once the dust settles.

cspg
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posted 03-05-2014 05:30 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for cspg   Click Here to Email cspg     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
There was a discussion between experts yesterday on French TV. The interesting part was that Russia is pushing for an "economic union" (it was referred to as a "customs" union) between Russia, Ukraine, Kazahkstan and Belarus (not sure about the latter). The problem is that Putin dictates the terms of this union and the others have to abide to. Former Ukrainian president has refused to sign the deal. And the bully aspect of Russia have given rise to anti-Russian sentiment in the neighboring countries. If the Ukrainian crisis spreads to Kazahkstan, then that will be a different ball game for space activities.
quote:
Originally posted by LM1:
...cancelling US participation in the Sochi Olympics for handicapped athletes
That was the cartoon in our local newspaper: A B-52 dropping pamphlets saying "If that's the way you want to handle the situation, we're boycotting the Paralympics Games." Funny. At least at first, but then, I fail to see why athletes should be punished or held hostage because of Putin.

Lasv3
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posted 03-05-2014 06:39 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Lasv3   Click Here to Email Lasv3     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The only thing Mr. Putin wants, except being the czar of course ( comment is sarcastic ), is to keep the absolutely strategic crimean naval bases the Russia rented from Ukraine. With the unpredictable new leaders sitting in Kiev and the anti-Russia, anti-Poland, anti-semitic, and many other anti-moods and declarations coming from Kiev he decided to act. Just bear in mind there are no deads in Crimea so far in comparison to Kiev where not only the corrupt Yanukovych is to blame. The atrocities were done by both sides.

The last thing Russia wants to happen is to have the US naval bases in Crimea. Putin can be hardly blamed for this. He does not need the Ukraine, he needs free access to the crimean ports.

At the end the west will come to an agreement with Russia (there is no other option) and the Ukrainians will not play the main role in this agreement, as it usually happens with the high games of the superpowers.

Fra Mauro
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posted 03-05-2014 07:31 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Fra Mauro   Click Here to Email Fra Mauro     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Leaving the ISS isn't an option. It is a shame that we have to rely on what is essentially a dictatorship to get there. The sooner we can get Orion and/or private companies operational the better!

328KF
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posted 03-05-2014 08:22 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for 328KF   Click Here to Email 328KF     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
James Oberg weighed in on this topic recently for NBC.
In space, as on Earth, the surest way to avoid blackmail is to have options. In light of the current crisis, and in anticipation of potential crises in years to come, NASA should kick off well-publicized efforts to develop such quick-fix options immediately.
While most can see the potential threat here regarding U.S. access to ISS, I can't say that I agree with Oberg's contention that this is justification for bringing the Chinese into the program. Among many other reasons, this simply transfers the leverage to another regime that could just as easily pose the same threat.

LM1
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posted 03-05-2014 09:20 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for LM1   Click Here to Email LM1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Specifically why is a US presence on the ISS essential for its survival? You have stated that NASA tracking is essential, buy what do US astronauts do that is essential?

Robert Pearlman
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posted 03-05-2014 09:32 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The space station has two segments: a Russian segment and what is referred to as the U.S. Operating Segment (USOS), which comprises the nodes, Destiny, Kibo and Columbus laboratories.

Though astronauts and cosmonauts receive some basic training on the other's segment, they aren't proficient enough on the systems to operate them, especially in the case of an emergency (such as the sudden shutdown of a pump module).

Russia's systems are needed, for example, to boost the space station in case of a pending debris strike. The USOS solar arrays and TDRS network provide electricity and communications necessary for the Russian segment to operate.

fredtrav
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posted 03-05-2014 10:02 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for fredtrav   Click Here to Email fredtrav     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I cannot remember where I saw it yesterday, but one of the networks laid out why the US is essential for the ISS and why it would not be affected by this crisis. We will continue to work together on the ISS.

I must disagree with Lasv3 on some items in his post. I do agree that Russia has a vital interest in keeping its only warm water port that is located in Crimea. Russia got to keep them based on a treaty that said it would respect Ukrainian territory and Ukraine would give up its nuclear missiles.

As far as the "unpredictable" new leaders, there have not been any acts of aggression towards the Russian speaking groups in the Ukraine. The only thing that might be construed officially as anti-Russian was the parliamentary vote to repeal of the law giving Russian the status of a regional language. It was vetoed by the acting president however. This was not a long standing law, having been passed only in mid 2012 amid much controversy and acrimony. As far as the anti moods much of that is simply Russian propaganda designed to raise fears among the Russian speaking populace. The overwhelming majority of deaths were to the protestors. That is why the mayor of Kiev who was in the same party as Yanukovych changed parties as well as members of his party in Parliament.

My solution to the crisis would be for Ukraine to sell Crimea to the Russians. They would get much needed currency, a fixed price for many years on it energy supplies, and would tilt the balance of power to the Ukrainians by stripping away a region that consistently votes in Russia's interest. This will not happen of course.

Lasv3
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posted 03-05-2014 10:48 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Lasv3   Click Here to Email Lasv3     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
With the "unpredictable" leaders I meant also the ones who are not officially at power now, let's just remember that the elections are to come and I do not think anybody can predict any result yet. There are groups of radicals, extreme nationalists, I dare to say the "brown shirts" as well and even if they do not win they can poison the atmosphere and life in the country. The danger is they promise law and order and in case some part of the population is very unhappy with the current situation they can easily appeal to such extreme groups.

Do not think it cannot happen. It can — it did few month ago in my country where the "governor" — sorry I do not know the right english word for his function — of one of the eight counties with ten percent of the whole country population came from the radical racistic party. Nobody believed it could happen.

And regarding the propaganda - it works both ways.

Cozmosis22
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posted 03-19-2014 01:31 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Cozmosis22     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Occupation turns into annexation. It's official. The National Geographic Society announced today that "they would be altering the global map to include Crimea in the map of Russia after Crimea's secession from Ukraine is legally finalized."

American mapmaker Rand McNally stated that it would continue to depict Crimea as part of Ukraine, following the lead of the US State Department.

dom
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posted 03-19-2014 01:52 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for dom   Click Here to Email dom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'm afraid the recent events have shown an ugly side to the Russian character that we all wished had gone away. If Putin really wants to return Russia (and us) to some fantasy 'golden era' similar to the Cold War, international space co-operation involving Russia will come to an end with the ISS...

moorouge
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posted 03-19-2014 02:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for moorouge   Click Here to Email moorouge     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
An odd thought - if cooperation with the US for the ISS ends and the station has to be closed, will Russian efforts be redirected to putting cosmonauts on the Moon?

p51
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posted 03-19-2014 03:17 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for p51   Click Here to Email p51     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Make no mistake, we've always been in an odd military footing against Russia, ever since World War II in 1945. In fact, we're probably in a similar position than we were while we were all fighting. We spy on them, they spy on us, and all the while we officially say we're friends. And we are, on an individual to individual basis. But certainly not as much as we should be for the way we profess to be arm in arm on so many issues.

I've worked alongside the Russian military twice and I can tell you, there were times my soldiers seriously wondered if they'd have to ask which way to point their weapons if we'd been told to open fire on someone...

quote:
Originally posted by Fra Mauro:
Leaving the ISS isn't an option. It is a shame that we have to rely on what is essentially a dictatorship to get there. The sooner we can get Orion and/or private companies operational the better!
Hey, you never know, maybe this might be the 'kick in the backside' Congress needs to allow more funding for our own launch vehicles. A little cold war throwback paranoia, sadly, might be just what would get the bucks to Houston and the Cape. Stranger things HAVE happened, you know...


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