Fate of space programs and the ISS hangs in the balance with the conflict in Crimea
The ongoing political upheaval in Ukraine and the escalation of unrest between Russia and the US could see aftereffects in the space programs related to the International Space Station because two cosmonauts, one of them from Crimea, and an American astronaut would be returning to Earth and would touch down on Russian soil on March 10.
One American and two cosmonauts would go to the ISS as replacements in a few weeks and NASA Administrator Charles Bolden does not expect any problems - in his opinion, things are normal at present in its relationship with Russia.
However the fact remains that, subsequent to the retirement of the American space shuttle program, the U S has to depend on Russia for human transportation to and from the International Space Station and has to also pay an amount of $70 million for every trip of an astronaut.
Of course, Tom Jones, an ex astronaut feels that it would be of mutual interest to continue with the tie-up because of the interdependency on each other - the Russians lack the control software that is used by the Americans to point, maneuver and control the space station while Russia provides the transportation.
Hence, it would not be a wise decision for them to deny access to the US - if they did, it would amount to denying themselves access to the utilities and supplies they need for the space station.