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U.S.-Russian Cosmic Cooperation Unhampered

Published: March 6, 2014 (Issue # 1800)



  • ILS is responsible for marketing and contracting for all commercial Proton rocket launch services worldwide.
    Photo: Intelsatgeneral.com

Despite a looming collapse of U.S.-Russian bilateral relations, the standoff over Ukraine has not had any impact on commercial space ventures and intergovernmental space projects, such as the International Space Station, or ISS.

"We do not expect the current Russia-Ukraine situation to have any impact on our civil space cooperation with Russia, including our partnership on the International Space Station program," said Sean Fuller, NASA's director in Russia for human spaceflight.

NASA and the Russian Federal Space Agency, or Roscosmos, are no strangers to the political volatility between their countries. "A professional, beneficial, and collegial working relationship [has been maintained] through the various ups and downs of the broader U.S.-Russia relationship and we expect that to continue throughout the life of the ISS program and beyond," Fuller said.

Related: Russian Space Agency Getting Into the Swing of Social Media

Dr. Scott Pace, Director of the Space Policy Institute at George Washington University's Elliot School of International Relations, said that although "a full range of options are being considered by the U.S. government" in response to the Russian incursion in Crimea, "I do not envision — at this stage — any impacts to the International Space Station or use of Soyuz vehicles for crew rotation."

"It seems that there are many other options for the U.S. and other countries to express opposition to Russian actions," he said, although "If pressed to speculate, I believe it would take a formal break in diplomatic relations to trigger a re-evaluation of ISS cooperation," Pace said.

It is business as usual, said Karen Monaghan, spokeswoman for International Launch Services, or ILS, which is a former joint venture between Lockheed Martin and the Khrunichev State Research and Space Production Center, but is now majority owned by Khrunichev, and based in Reston, Virginia.

ILS holds the exclusive rights to hawk the Proton-M launch vehicle on the global satellite market. Although Proton is a tried-and-true Russian design, ILS's parent company, Khrunichev has "a limited number of Proton [component] suppliers in Ukraine," said ILS spokeswoman Karen Monaghan.

"However, at this point we do not anticipate any impact on Proton launch vehicle production. Khrunichev has ample hardware to support our launches and Proton's steady launch tempo will continue as planned," she added.

Two of these launches are contracts to boost Gazprom Space Systems communications satellites in to orbit: the Yamal 401 and Yamal 601. Monaghan said that Gazprom Space Systems is one of their biggest partners and "a perfect match" for their services.





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Thursday, Jan. 29



Attend a master class on how to deal with complicated business negotiations today at the International Banking Institute, 6 Malaya Sadovaya Ulitsa. Running from 3 to 6 p.m., Vadim Sokolov, an assistant professor at the St. Petersburg State University of Economics, will introduce aspects of managing the negotiation process and increasing its effectiveness. Attendance is free with pre-registration by telephone on 909 3056 or online at www.ibispb.ru



Celebrate what would be writer Anton Chekhov's 155th birthday at the Bokvoed bookshop at 46 Nevsky Prospekt. Starting at 5 p.m., the legendary author will be feted with readings of his stories and short performances based on his plays by various St. Petersburg actors. Chekhov's books will also be offered at a 15% discount during the event.



Friday, Jan. 30



The Lermontov Central Library, 19 Liteyny Prospekt, will screen 'Almost Famous’ in English with Russian subtitles at 6:30 p.m. Cameron Crowe's Academy Award-winning comedy from 2000 stars Billy Crudup, Kate Hudson, and Patrick Fugit, and tells the story of a budding music journalist at Rolling Stone magazine in the 1970s. Admission is free.



Meet renowned Russian poet, journalist and writer Dmitry Bykov, famous for his biographies of Boris Pasternak, Bulat Okudzhava and Maxim Gorky, and winner of 2006 National Bestseller Award. Bykov will read old and new poems as well as answer questions about his works at the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, Main Hall, at 7 p.m. Tickets start at 1,000 rubles and are available at city ticket offices and the from the Philharmonic website www.philharmonia.spb.ru.



A retrospective of the films of Roman Polanski starts today at Loft-Project Etagi, 74 Ligovsky Prospekt, with a screening of ‘Repulsion’ at 7 p.m. and ‘Rosemary’s Baby’ at 9:15 p.m. The series runs through Feb. 4 and will include Polanski's eminently creepy ‘The Tenant,’ the cult comedy ‘The Fearless Vampire Killers’ and ‘Cul-de-sac’ among others. Tickets are 150-200 rubles and the complete schedule is available at www.vk.com/artpokaz/



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