Space Station Realpolitik?

A few years ago Nasa announced plans to retire the aging space shuttle fleet by 2010, four years before it has a replacement craft ready:

The retirement will leave the US without orbital capacity for at least four years, until the Ares booster programme is complete. European and Russian launchers will service the space station in the meantime.

The Shuttle’s planned successor is “Project Constellation,” using Ares I and Ares V launch vehicles and the Orion Spacecraft. According to the United States Vision for Space Exploration, the Orion should conduct its first human spaceflight mission in 2014.

Now a reader of Chaos Manor has connected the dots between America‘s imminent dependence on Russian and European equipment to ferry astronauts to the International Space Station, and the current crisis over Georgia. A strained relationship between the U.S. and Russia would produce all kinds of problems, including some detrimental to the space program.

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