U.S. Should Send Astronauts To Space Station By Trampoline: Russian Official

by Elizabeth Howell on April 29, 2014

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Screen capture from NASA TV of the Soyuz approaching the International Space Station with the Expedition 35/36 crew. Via NASA TV

Screen capture from NASA TV of the Soyuz approaching the International Space Station with the Expedition 35/36 crew. Via NASA TV

Facing sanctions from the United States government, a high-ranking Russian official took to Twitter today (April 29) to express his frustration, warning that NASA has few options should Soyuz flights to the International Space Station cease.

“After analyzing the sanctions against our space industry, I suggest to the USA to bring their astronauts to the International Space Station using a trampoline,” wrote Dmitry Rogozin, Russia’s deputy prime minister, in a Russian-language tweet highlighted by NBC News.

The jibe points to the fact that only the Russians can bring crews up to the space station right now. Rogozin also linked to a story in Russian RT where he is quoted as saying (if Google Translate is correct) that the Americans will see a “boomerang” of sanctions laid upon Russian officials.

On April 2, as part of a larger policy of the Obama administration, NASA announced it would cease most connections with Russia except for those essential ones related to the International Space Station. NASA administrator Charles Bolden has repeatedly said that things are normal with the Russians when it comes to the station.

Structure arms for Soyuz TMA-11M (the launching vehicle for Expedition 38) raise into place in this long-exposure photograph taken in Kazakhstan. Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls

Structure arms for Soyuz TMA-11M (the launching vehicle for Expedition 38) raise into place in this long-exposure photograph taken in Kazakhstan. Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls

The United States is dependent on the Russian Soyuz to bring astronauts to the space station. The U.S. method of transportation ceased in 2011 after the space shuttle retired, and commercial spacecraft — though being developed — are not expected to be ready until about 2017.

That said, one of the developers of these spacecraft — SpaceX CEO Elon Musk — wrote on Twitter that the public will soon see the unveiling of the human-rated Dragon spacecraft that the company has been working on with contract money from NASA. (The other funded spacecraft proposals are Boeing’s CST-100 and Sierra Nevada’s Dream Chaser).

The Russian situation is expected to weigh heavily on NASA budget discussions for fiscal 2014 and 2015 as agency officials try to make their case that commercial funding should be sustained, or even increased, for Americans to be able to launch from their own soil again quickly.

About 

Elizabeth Howell is the senior writer at Universe Today. She also works for Space.com, Space Exploration Network, the NASA Lunar Science Institute, NASA Astrobiology Magazine and LiveScience, among others. Career highlights include watching three shuttle launches, and going on a two-week simulated Mars expedition in rural Utah. You can follow her on Twitter @howellspace or contact her at her website.

hydrazine April 30, 2014 at 3:55 AM

Rogozin seems more to be saying that the sanctions would come back to haunt the Americans and Europeans because of the technical problems they cause. Having said that, the Russians have a history of putting up hurdles in all sorts of procedures just to put pressure on their counterparts. Case in point: a while back all the wines from Moldova suddenly had to be stopped from being imported into Russia purportedly out of health reasons seemingly without relation to the trade negotiations between Moldova and EU. The list goes on and on. Interesting to see how it all pans out.

Kind regards,
/hydrazine

FarAwayLongAgo April 30, 2014 at 6:21 AM

All governments forbid productive international trade, especially in agriculture including wine and tobacco. Half EU budget is dedicated to supporting agriculture and one of the first reactions to the Crimea crises suggested was to stop import of Russian chicken to the EU! EU politicians care naught about Crimea, they only seek opportunities to further decrease food supplies in the EU so that they can increase prices and profits for their special interest farmers. The EU is a charade, don’t count on them accomplishing anything.

Btw, I haven’t heard anything about ESA being involved in any kind of restrictions on space coopertion with Russia. I think the European space industry is in a good position to fill the void which the US now opens. They get a large and fast growing market in Russia/China which the US does not allow to use neither the competitively priced SpaceX nor the ULA rockets. That’d save the future of the Ariane V!

US foreign policy since the end of the cold war has been and remains extremely detrimental to the US. I feel sorry for you having to live on the wrong side of it over there in the US.

sakai April 30, 2014 at 5:58 AM

What a pity. Instead building Moon base, international station at one of Lagrand points and flying to the planets …….. we will quarrel.

slayman April 30, 2014 at 7:06 AM

Bout time for us to step up and make the final push for private enterprise to get this job done!

CKinTX April 30, 2014 at 9:26 AM

Gee, maybe we shouldn’t’ve retired the shuttle after all…

Move over, Portugal, there’s a bigger dog coming to the dog house of history.

Maxwell April 30, 2014 at 9:37 AM

The shuttle was a boondoggle, it needed to go. What we shouldn’t have done was keep using a system thirty years past its utility while never actually building its replacement.

If SpaceX, dream chaser, Boeing or anyone else is ready then I’d just as soon see us invest in man rating those systems as soon as possible. I think the limits of international cooperation are starting to show and its time we move on.
There’s a universe to explore.

deutronium April 30, 2014 at 10:02 AM

Hey Russia, stay out of the Ukraine, Baltic States, Poland and so on. Remember, you already tried that and it didn’t work.

do svidaniya

Olaf April 30, 2014 at 11:21 AM

The space race is on again.

It was stupid to make the US space engineers jobless and send American tax payers money to Russian jobs that are now using that American money to develop upgraded nuclear missiles.

Olaf April 30, 2014 at 11:25 AM

– NASA administrator Charles Bolden has repeatedly said that things are normal with the Russians when it comes to the station –

Putin has already shown that he can do a 180 turn when he likes. He basically can now put the none-Russians in a capsule and send them back. Then turn the ISS into Russian military station.

Fraser Cain April 30, 2014 at 12:19 PM

I like it when there’s international cooperation. And I like it when the US is fully capable of getting its astronauts to the space station. It should really be both.

tareece April 30, 2014 at 10:49 PM

Fraser… I had hoped that when we won the Cold War…and the USSR crumbled, that the oppressed Eastern Bloc citizens and gov’ts would see and reap the benefits of Capitalism….
In most cases it had worked well…. But in one case..the biggest… Russia, it did not. Nationalism always wins out.
Utopia will never exist.
We need to do these things not because it is easy nor cheap…but because we must continue to push onward.
America has ceded far too much in the quest for ‘globalism’

ssybesma May 1, 2014 at 7:43 PM

ELON MUSK IS MY HERO!

If anyone is going to get us back into space again and return to the moon, I believe it will be him.

I hope he has a goal before this decade is out of returning us to the moon, for the 50th Anniversary…would renew a lot of people’s faith in this country’s ability to do big things again. Would really get a lot of people excited including me.

GO ELON!!!

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