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Author Topic:   Russian Space Agency cosmonauts
cspg
Member

Posts: 4046
From: Geneva, Switzerland
Registered: May 2006

posted 04-22-2007 01:05 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for cspg   Click Here to Email cspg     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Someone may be able to clarify something for me regarding cosmonauts who flew Shuttle-Mir and ISS missions.

I understand that both programs are/were joint cooperative agreements between NASA and the Russian Space Agency (RSA/RKA?). But looking at both printed and online material (JSC biographies page, press kits), it is unclear if all cosmonauts flew under the RSA banner. Their affiliations is mentioned (eg. Civilian, Russian Air Force, Energiya Corp. etc.) but I'm assuming, since they underwent the same training and because of the nature of the programs they were part of, they all flew under the RSA banner.

A comparison could be made with NASA astronaut whose affiliations are USAF, USN, Marines, civilian, but yet they are all NASA astronauts.

So is it the same thing for the cosmonauts?

Thanks for the help.

Chris.

kyra
Member

Posts: 507
From: Louisville CO US
Registered: Aug 2003

posted 04-24-2007 01:29 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for kyra   Click Here to Email kyra     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The parent agency if the cosmonaut is from Energia or a military organization certainly applies - once they retire/resign/fired from being an active cosmonaut they return to the military service or work at Energia.

Training is all conducted by the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center which has contracts for joint trainings with NASA-JSC.

So if either side needs to train an astronaut or cosmonaut in the other country it is all by contract. (ESA and other nations have their own agreements).

The training center is owned and operated by the Russian military with supplemental sources contributing).

Russian Space Agency (RK transliterated)is approximate to NASA Headquarters, really an administrative arm that sets policy, appropriates funding (corporate aid), and oversees major space corporations that have partial state ownership. They also are a point of contact for NASA and the US Gov't.

(There is a great deal of infighting right now between Energia and RK, regarding direction and representation, with a big part of that related to cosmonauts not having representation on RK's board, so some find flying under the "RK banner" a bit of an inside joke, but they don't usually get to vocal about it for fear that strings could get pulled that would compromise flight assignments. RK dreams up grandiose plans, but the organizations they oversee and put meager funding towards find they can't carry them out. Healthy portions of funding are being provided by space tourists !(Pavel Vinogradov recently did get very vocal about these issues.)

I will look at this some more about how these relationships work, but this should be a start...The current program is in a very sad state. Its almost as if the fresh coats of paint on the Zvezda building served as a veneer backdrop for Martha Stewart's presence at the latest launch - is a metaphor for the larger picture of the program.

I really love cosmonautics and believe there are a great deal of talented engineers, creative workers, and brave cosmonauts pulling things together - all the more impressive when you see the tools and funding they have to work with. Perhaps that is a bit of a personal metaphor that I have often rooted for them. (Kind of like the recent thread in overcoming the odds).

cspg
Member

Posts: 4046
From: Geneva, Switzerland
Registered: May 2006

posted 04-24-2007 10:07 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for cspg   Click Here to Email cspg     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by kyra:
The parent agency if the cosmonaut is from Energia or a military organization certainly applies - once they retire/resign/fired from being an active cosmonaut they return to the military service or work at Energia.

Kyra,

thanks for your response.

ok, that's pretty much what I thought- eventhough as your response seems to imply, there seems to be a fine line between RKA, Energyia etc....

But I guess calling Charles D. Walker, a McDonnell-Douglas employee who flew on several shuttle missions, a NASA astronaut can be questionned.

Back to the topic, when I read Robert's post: "Boris N. Yeltsin, the first president of the post-Soviet Union Russian Federation, died today at age 76. During his administration, Yeltsin began a new era of Russo-American cooperation in space that led to cosmonauts flying on the space shuttle, astronauts living on the Mir space station and ultimately, both working together on the International Space Station. He also founded Russia's equivalent to NASA, RKA, the Russian Space Agency, (...)", it seems correct to write that cosmonauts were part of the Russian Space Agency.

Chris.

kyra
Member

Posts: 507
From: Louisville CO US
Registered: Aug 2003

posted 04-24-2007 11:40 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for kyra   Click Here to Email kyra     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The RK was created in 95' by Yeltsin, and yes they are an equivalent to NASA in an administrative sense, but they really don't have any space centers in the way we would think of NASA. Arriving late on the space scene they don't have a long legacy like NASA does.

The day to day operations are performed by contractors (with various degrees of state-ownership) and the military. The RK is a policy enforcement agency that provides oversight to contracts, makes sure all the laws are followed, and maintains contact with about 20 foreign governments to make sure joint contracts are performed. (Roll NASA Headquarters and Inspector General, and the NASA Foreign Affairs, Facilities Management, and the Space Station Office into a big building with inspection teams coming and going to various sites and that will give you a feel for RK)


Another point to add (from the earlier post) is that many of the long term cosmonauts get housing rights and ultimately retire in Star City adjacent the training center. If they were flown (and got the Hero of the SU, or Hero of The Russian Federation title they get a greatly reduced rent in state owned housing, and other benefits. So in effect they are "free agents".

During the 90's some Star City cosmonauts were charging for interviews to suppliment their pensions. Some of the unflown cosmonauts (ie Irina Solovyova) were literally growing gardens outside the Star City apartments to stretch the family income - so the option of retiring at Star City was not as rosy as some would think.

kosmonavtka
Member

Posts: 170
From: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Registered: Aug 2003

posted 04-26-2007 10:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for kosmonavtka     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by kyra:
...(There is a great deal of infighting right now between Energia and RK, regarding direction and representation, with a big part of that related to cosmonauts not having representation on RK's board, so some find flying under the "RK banner" a bit of an inside joke, but they don't usually get to vocal about it for fear that strings could get pulled that would compromise flight assignments. RK dreams up grandiose plans, but the organizations they oversee and put meager funding towards find they can't carry them out. Healthy portions of funding are being provided by space tourists !(Pavel Vinogradov recently did get very vocal about these issues.)

I will look at this some more about how these relationships work, but this should be a start...The current program is in a very sad state. Its almost as if the fresh coats of paint on the Zvezda building served as a veneer backdrop for Martha Stewart's presence at the latest launch - is a metaphor for the larger picture of the program.

I really love cosmonautics and believe there are a great deal of talented engineers, creative workers, and brave cosmonauts pulling things together - all the more impressive when you see the tools and funding they have to work with. Perhaps that is a bit of a personal metaphor that I have often rooted for them. (Kind of like the recent thread in overcoming the odds).


That is interesting to know...and sad...the current program now is a sorry contrast to the one described in this TIME magazine article in 1987, Surging Ahead. (I like cosmonauts, too! It must be frustrating for many of them to see space tourists go up while some of the professional cosmonauts who joined a decade or more ago are still waiting for their first flight.)

All times are CT (US)

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