Hidden Nook

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Sunday, November 13, 2005

Russian Comeback In Space Arena

[Media Source*]

(ISN Security Watch) Europe plans to take a ride on the successor to Russia’s famed Soyuz spacecraft with the Clipper, a new six-person reusable orbiter in which the Europeans intend to secure at least two seats in every mission, according to Alan Thirkettle, head of the Human Spaceflight Development Department at the European Space Agency (ESA).

In fact, during an upcoming 5-6 December ministerial meeting, the ESA will ask EU member states to join forces with Moscow and fund a preparatory study of the new spacecraft to the tune of 30 million [euro] to 40 million [euro].

Apparently Christmas has come early for Russia as this is the second major western power that has decided to use Russian technology rather than develop their own (Japan was first). This new deal brings benefits to both sides, as the European funding will help bring back Russia's struggling space industry into the scene again and allowing Europe to gain much needed experience exploring the "final frontier."

But if this new alliance was not surprising enough for those interested in space travel, perhaps NASA's deal with Russia may come to a shock, especially for those who have outlived the cold war era.

(MSNBC) The U.S. Senate has approved amendments to the Iran Nonproliferation Act, clearing the way for NASA to pay for Russian launches and spacecraft to support the international space station. [...]

"NASA appreciates the efforts of Congress to resolve restrictions placed on our partnership with Russia," NASA chief Michael Griffin said in a statement. "Congress' action helps to ensure the continuous presence of U.S. astronauts on the International Space Station." (Media Source*)

Despite losing both the cold war as well as the space war (after all, the US did beat Russia to the moon) it seems that Russian technology, not American, may dominate the future of human exploration into the cosmos. With Europe, Japan and now NASA becoming more dependent on the ancient, yet durable Russian space technology, (as least so far) the future lunar colony may become another conquered domain of the former USSR--that is if China doesn't beat them to it first.

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By Darnell Clayton • 9:01 PM • Email Post • •


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