UKRAINE CRISIS: There is At Least One Place the U.S. and Russia Are Still Getting Along. It’s Not on Earth

Expedition 38 crew members proudly sport their national flags in this March 2014 picture from the International Space Station. Pictured (clockwise from top center) are Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kotov, commander; Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Koichi Wakata, Russian cosmonaut Sergey Ryazanskiy, NASA astronauts Rick Mastracchio and Mike Hopkins, and Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Tyurin, all flight engineers. Credit: NASA Read more: http://www.universetoday.com/110010/budget-2015-ukraine-crisis-not-disrupting-russian-soyuz-flights-nasa-admin-says/#ixzz2vCxFYTDY

International Space Station (ISS)  is jointly operated by the U.S., Russia, Europe, Canada and Japan. Currently, there are three Russians, two Americans, and one Japanese astronaut on board the station currently orbiting earth. Roughly 250 miles below, however, the relationship between the two superpowers is a good deal different, with Vladimir Putin refusing to rule out using military force in Ukraine and the Obama administration accusing the Russians of creating a “pretext to invade.”

The ever-increasing tension between the United States and Russia does not, according to NASA, extend to outer space, via the Washington Post:

“Everything is nominal right now with our relationship with the Russians,” said NASA administrator Charles Bolden during a teleconference Tuesday. With the space shuttle retired, the U.S. relies on Russia’s Soyuz spacecraft to get to and from the space station. Russia charges about $71 million per seat. There is no other way for American astronauts to get back to Earth.

Tuesday’s teleconference was set up to allow Bolden to discuss the White House’s Fiscal Year 2015 budget request, but he wound up fielding numerous inquiries from reporters about whether the Ukraine crisis has affected NASA’s strategic planning. No, Bolden said repeatedly. He noted that past flare-ups between the U.S. and Russia have not affected operations in space. “We have weathered the storm through lots of contingencies here,” Bolden said.


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