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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, Dec. 18


Improve your English and knowledge of British culture during today’s FORM lesson at the British Book Center. These free English lessons with a native speaker elaborate not only on grammar particulars but cultural topics as well. Today’s event will discuss the BBC Two documentary “Victorian Farm Christmas.”



Friday, Dec. 19


Test your mastery of parlor games during Game Evening at the British Book Center. Learn how to play a variety of classic, mentally challenging games and use your newly acquired skills to crush weaker opponents. The event beings at 5 p.m.



Saturday, Dec. 20


The city’s Babushkina Park on Prospekt Obukhovskoy Oborony will be invaded by dozens of rocking-and-rolling Santa Clauses during today’s Santa Claus Parade. Not only will they parade through the park but there will also be competitions amongst the festively-clad participants and a musical master class. There will also be a prize for the best-dressed Santa Claus.


Stock up your record collection during the Vinyl Christmas Sale at the KL10TCH bar on Konyushennaya ploschad today. Spend the afternoon perusing the records for sale while listening the classic, clean sound of records spinning out hits from a variety of musical genres and time periods.



Sunday, Dec. 21


TheZenit St. Petersburg basketball team returns to the northern capital this evening for a matchup with Krasny Oktyabr, a Volgograd-based basketball club. Tickets for the game, which tips off at 6 p.m. this evening, can be purchased on the club’s website or at their arena, Sibur Arena, on Krestovsky island.


Satisfy your sugar cravings during Sweet New Year, an ongoing seasonal festival at the Raduga shopping center. Each weekend of December will welcome hungry visitors to taste hundreds of different kinds of desserts made from a plethora of sweet treats. Workshops are open to visitors and seasonal gifts can also be purchased for those rushing to finish their New Year shopping.



Monday, Dec. 22


Pick out the latest fashions as holiday gifts for loved ones or as early presents for yourself during the Christmas Design Sale at Kraft on Obvodny Kanal, starting on Dec. 20 and continuing through Dec. 27. Designer clothes will be on sale every day of the week or you can buy something more festive to decorate the home while sipping on hot coffee and perusing the various master classes.



Tuesday, Dec. 23


Meet Arctic explorers Fedor Konukhov and Viktor Simonov during SPIBA’s and Capital Legal Service’s event “Arctic Expedition” this morning in the Mertens House business center at 21 Nevsky Prospekt. The meeting will discuss the explorers’ ongoing eco-social project and how companies can use the project as a unique marketing opportunity. Email office@spiba.ru by Dec. 22 if you wish to attend.



To have your event included in All About Town, email tot@sptimes.ru



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