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Former astronaut notes that US-Russian space cooperation is not what it used to be

12 Mar 2014, 11:14 UTC
Former astronaut notes that US-Russian space cooperation is not what it used to be
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The tension of not wanting a policy of appeasement, but at the same time, not wanting to impose counterproductive sanctions on Russia, has Western governments wondering just what to do about the Ukrainian/Crimean annexation crisis. As this column has previously pointed out, even some of the lesser sanctions that Western nations might impose could result in retaliation damaging to the space industry on both sides, and would also seriously set back international space cooperation.
While NASA is careful to note that US-Russian cooperation on the International Space Station (ISS) has not been affected by the current crisis, there is anecdotal evidence of an increasing distance between the two agencies and their astronauts even before this crisis began. Former NASA astronaut, Clayton Anderson has noted on Huffington Post that cooperation between the NASA and Russian teams is often vetted now requiring various permissions before it can take place. Anderson also notes that in his day as an astronaut, he had been trained in Russia to fly on the Soyuz spacecraft and wear Russian Orlan space suits (and that Russian cosmonauts would likewise be trained on US spacesuits) The same is not true today.
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