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Old August 13 2008, 03:57 AM   #1
Johnny Rico
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Russian/Georgia conflict affect ISS operations?

Well, here we are folks...2008, just two years before 2010, the year in which we make contact, and when political events on Earth affected the operations on the Discovery/Leonov between the American and Russian crews.

So I was wondering, with the shuttle retiring in 2010 and the current situation in Georgia with world relations with Russia changing as we speak, is fiction becoming reality? Until the Ares system gets up and running, we're supposedly going to be dependant on the Russian Soyuz launches to ferry us to the ISS. Is this going to be a good idea? Will the shuttle program get extended if things really blow up (pun intended) between Russia and the West?
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Old August 14 2008, 03:09 AM   #2
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Re: Russian/Georgia conflict affect ISS operations?

No comments?

You all do know about the Russian/Georgian conflict, no?

I do know that the Balkinor (sp?) cosmodrome is in the Ukraine, and there's some rumors that Russia, ie. Putin is interested in reclaiming Ukraine into the old Russian Republic. So space travel activities could get complicated if the shit hits the proverbial fan in the next couple years.
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Old August 14 2008, 12:48 PM   #3
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Re: Russian/Georgia conflict affect ISS operations?

If Russia starts annexing countries on it's border then the damage to the space program ias quite frankly by far the least of our worries.

BUT - Russia needs the west and we need Russia, there is more to be had from trade than war and Russia realises that (hence the current peace process).

Even a limited conflict between western forces and Russia does not bear thinking about in terms of potential casualties, economic damage and international relations.

Just keep your fingers crossed this all blows over - I dont think either the USA or Russia wants another cold war.
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Old August 14 2008, 04:08 PM   #4
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Re: Russian/Georgia conflict affect ISS operations?

Johnny Rico wrote: View Post
No comments?

You all do know about the Russian/Georgian conflict, no?

I do know that the Balkinor (sp?) cosmodrome is in the Ukraine, and there's some rumors that Russia, ie. Putin is interested in reclaiming Ukraine into the old Russian Republic. So space travel activities could get complicated if the shit hits the proverbial fan in the next couple years.
Baikonur is in Uzbekistan. I expect the US would try to extend the shuttle's life and the Russians may not be interested in extending the use of Soyuz for NASA anyway, so there might not be any options.

Looks like US govt. short-sightedness in placing dependence upon Russia is the problem here...
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Old August 14 2008, 04:14 PM   #5
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Re: Russian/Georgia conflict affect ISS operations?

The other issue is that unlike Georgia Ukraine could probably make a decent fight of it against Russia - very nasty.

Best not to think about it and hope it does not happen. The ISS is a nice symbol of international co-operation, lets hope it stays friendly.
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Old August 15 2008, 05:22 AM   #6
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Re: Russian/Georgia conflict affect ISS operations?

Read this: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/08...georgia_soyuz/
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Old August 15 2008, 05:48 AM   #7
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Re: Russian/Georgia conflict affect ISS operations?

CaptainSpock wrote: View Post
Johnny Rico wrote: View Post
No comments?

You all do know about the Russian/Georgian conflict, no?

I do know that the Balkinor (sp?) cosmodrome is in the Ukraine, and there's some rumors that Russia, ie. Putin is interested in reclaiming Ukraine into the old Russian Republic. So space travel activities could get complicated if the shit hits the proverbial fan in the next couple years.
Baikonur is in Uzbekistan.
Oh yeah, that's right.

I expect the US would try to extend the shuttle's life and the Russians may not be interested in extending the use of Soyuz for NASA anyway, so there might not be any options.
Yeah, that would be the only real option, wouldn't it?

Looks like US govt. short-sightedness in placing dependence upon Russia is the problem here...
Yeah, even the "NASA press corps" and Congress had reservations about this problem as long ago as a year or so ago, when the reality of the shuttle's retirement hit home, and Putin was pulling some other shenanigans.

That said, I'm afraid that Georgia may just be the beginning. If the West allows this Russian aggression to stand, we may be looking at not justy another Cold War, but perhaps a Hot shooting war. And frankly, I wouldn't mind seeing it. If, and I stress IF, the battleground could be kept to the Soviet region (Russia and all its former Republics). It'd be the big fight that those of us who were around during the '80s and waited for and feared between NATO and the Warsaw Pact.
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Old August 15 2008, 06:04 AM   #8
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Re: Russian/Georgia conflict affect ISS operations?

What about the European Space Agency, or Japan's space program? Would either of those have craft capable of reaching the ISS? If not, what's the expected timetable for them to have such technology?
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Old August 15 2008, 08:33 AM   #9
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Re: Russian/Georgia conflict affect ISS operations?

No manned capability there, but that's mainly because there's never been the incentive (read: the funds) to develop it beyond numerous paper planes. The actual technology is certainly there, and the US could pay for the R&D and get a real European space capsule going in, say, five years.

But that'd still be too late. And the US could just as well spend that extra dough in turbocharging the Orion program for an earlier than planned (and probably a tad less reliable) LEO crew swap capacity.

If this really becomes a pressing matter of national pride, the shuttle could of course also be kept going indefinitely. Stopping work on some aspects of Orion and returning to STS commitments could easily result in shuttle capacity through 2025 or so.

The cheapest alternative in case of a really severe political crisis would probably be to use ISS for ASAT target practice, though. Whether with cosmonauts onboard or not, would depend on the exact flavor of the political pile of manure in question.

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Old August 15 2008, 11:42 PM   #10
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Re: Russian/Georgia conflict affect ISS operations?

Too bad the X-38 CRV was killed in '02. It could have been operational by now and launched by an ELV would have eliminated U.S. dependence on the Soyuz and the Shuttle for a ride to the ISS.

It'd be nice if the funding could be found to finish it before 2010. Fat chance though. Aside from the big dollars needed to restart the program, it'd be a competitor for Orion and that spacecraft's advocates would have the knives out quickly.
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Old August 16 2008, 12:02 AM   #11
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Re: Russian/Georgia conflict affect ISS operations?

Wasn't that craft--or one like it--shown in the Enterprise opening title sequence?
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Old August 16 2008, 03:06 PM   #12
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Re: Russian/Georgia conflict affect ISS operations?

No. The X-38 was a small lifting body capable of carrying 6. The ship in the ENT title sequence resembles a much larger X-33 VentureStar.
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Old August 16 2008, 04:10 PM   #13
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Re: Russian/Georgia conflict affect ISS operations?

Timo wrote: View Post
The actual technology is certainly there, and the US could pay for the R&D and get a real European space capsule going in, say, five years.
I know you probably didn't mean it to come across like it does, Timo, but I find the notion that the European Space Agency would require American funding to develop a manned spacecraft capable of repeated use really quite insulting.

As for the Russia/Georgia thing, I doubt it'll affect the operations of the ISS. It strikes me more as a little local difficulty caused by the supposedly "resurgent" Russia seeking to impose its will on neighbouring countries. To my mind, all it's succeeded in doing is showing up what Russia really is... a bully that will only pick on an enemy that has no chance of fighting back, while simultaneously exposing the glaring lack of any real Russian military "reach" - they can only attack countries that directly border their own, as they have absolutely no means of large scale power projection over long distances. If Britain and the US were to promise even limited military assistance to Georgia, you'd soon see Russia backing off.
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Old August 17 2008, 11:53 AM   #14
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Re: Russian/Georgia conflict affect ISS operations?

Nerys Ghemor wrote: View Post
What about the European Space Agency, or Japan's space program? Would either of those have craft capable of reaching the ISS? If not, what's the expected timetable for them to have such technology?
I feel both might need at least 5 years of funding, research and testing. Japan had a nice looking spaceplane but they binned it and don't seem to be motivated on developing a new one. I imagine the European's could do it quicker than 5 because they have more people, new unmanned supply ships and their space program has been on a roll lately challenging NASA dominance with the robot Rosetta, Ariane launches etc


Here's some food for thought

[SIZE=-1]Japan's HOPE-X[/SIZE]
(has been trashed due to low funding and the Japanese prototype crashing in Sweden)

ESA ATV
(The ATV currently in orbit with the ISS has life support for astronauts but this is UNMANNED)

If NASA were smart it would have continued funding projects like the X-38 Crew Return Vehicle but politicians have been slowly chipping away at NASA's budget ever since Apollo was over.

I've read this years budget report for NASA and its not good space telescopes like TPF have been cut while the new spacecraft replacement won't fly until 2014, so considering potential delays I take that as 2015. The Bush vision for exploration and landing American people on Mars has been postponed to 2037 according to a statement Administrator Griffin made while traveling. The only real hope is for the next President McCain or Obama to seriously back exploration while fixing the current problems with the USA economy. If things do not turn around in the next few years I seriously expect NASA to be slowly outsourced to India
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Old August 17 2008, 07:15 PM   #15
Nerys Ghemor
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Re: Russian/Georgia conflict affect ISS operations?

I suppose the other option, if the US, Europe, or Japan can't come up with something quickly enough, would be for some sort of privately-funded consortium to do something about it. I wonder if Richard Branson or anybody else in the private space industry (or perhaps a joint venture involving as many as possible) could pull it off before a government-funded agency?
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