back to article 'Hello, is that the space station? NASA here. Can you put us through to Moscow?'

NASA has cut all ties with Russia's space programme over the crisis in Ukraine, apart from maintaining the International Space Station. The US space agency had repeatedly said that it wouldn't be taking any action over the situation between Ukraine and Russia, but it reversed its decision, saying in a statement overnight that it …

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Political Posturing

Science is always the victim.

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Re: Political Posturing

The cooperation with Roscosmos has historically been about keeping some excellent rocket engineers in a job. It's always been more political than scientific.

There has been no conflict in Crimea but whether its low key or not may depend upon your geography and history. The annexation is certainly a dangerous political precedent. Europe is only more cautious because it trades more with Russia and has a land border with it: any fallout is likely to fall on both sides.

If you want an example of politics interfering with science: the recent Swiss referendum on quotas for foreigners is freezing Switzerland out of the next round of EU research projects.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Political Posturing

trying to cause economic dislocation for the Russians.

Are you suggesting that there should be no consequences for countries that invade and annex parts of other countries?

Yes the US and NATO have invaded other countries and toppled governments but they do not illegally annex those countries. They stay and try to rebuild an independent, elected government, infrastructure, etc in the hopes that the people can rule themselves, then they go home.

Russia never leaves and has a "My way or a trip to prison way". That is the defining difference between the West and Russia.

We spend money on space programs because, believe it or not, some people find space fascinating and want to understand everything in it.

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Re: Political Posturing

>So are ordinary people.

So we will keep buying $Bnin gas / coal / oil /metals from the Russian government

We will continue selling them football teams

But we will kick a couple of PostDoc researchers working on vaccines out to show our wrath.

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Re: Political Posturing

Sorry to burst your bubble...

But the US invades other sovereign nations ( for reasons which may or may not be politically motivated), the NATO/UN only comes into play after the US has made a mess of things and realises that the people they bring the American Way to may well not be interested at all, and even be outright hostile to those Unwashed Foreigners.

NATO actions are defensive, and stop right at the border of the member state involved. The US is the only NATO member who has invaded unilaterally, and in that respect is simply the Bully of the classroom.

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Re: Political Posturing

Do you really think they are comparable?

Comparing whats gone on in the Crimea to what happened in Iraq and Afganistan - I think I'd rather have Russia annex my country than America (and its allies) "rebuild" it.

At least me and thousands of others will be alive in a Russian prison than dead in a defacto civil war, or stripped and tortured for shits and giggles by rednecks in uniforms.

Although being in the UK we've more or less been informally annexed by the Leftpondians anyway.

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Re: Political Posturing

At least me and thousands of others will be alive in a Russian prison than dead in a defacto civil war, or stripped and tortured for shits and giggles by rednecks in uniforms.

Educate yourself about the Russian invasion of Chechenya before you make comments like this.

Russia virtually levelled Grozny, the capital city, in taking it / re-taking it. And Russian troops were consistently making money on the side by kinapping locals, and ransoming them back. Plus widespread rape to add to the fun.

Plus there was going to be a civil war in Iraq anyway, as soon as Sadam died or got toppled internally. A minority had been repressing a majority (plus several other minorities) for years - and this never lasts forever. As for Afghanistan, there was a civil war going on before the US invasion. One of the reasons the Taleban were briefly popular, is that it looked like they were less corrupt than anywone else, and they might actually win. Neither turned out to be true, which is why they were already in trouble before the US decided to help the Northern Alliance - and then put in troops in order to try and build a workable-ish stable-ish, democratic-ish government.

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Trollface

Obama, Lord Protector of Crimea

Are you suggesting that there should be no consequences for countries that invade and annex parts of other countries?

Sounds like AC is suggesting that we boycott the US over annexation of Hawaii. The WHOLE of it.

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Re: Political Posturing

AC,

Do you really think that Britain, Russia, or the US left Afghanistan in a better state than they found it?

All three countries found to their cost (Britain did twice!), that Afghanistan can not be controlled by force.

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Re: Political Posturing

Crimea was part of Russia until 1954 when Khrushchev donated it to Ukraine.

It is now populated mainly by descendants of Russian citizens, the native Tartars were sent to the Gulags for supporting Hitler over Stalin.

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Annexation of Hawai'i

Hmmm. The History books are pretty clear on this one. An unpopular Queen (Liliʻuokalan) signed a treaty with the USA to make the republic of Hawai'i a territory of the USA. The USA did use Hawai'i as a staging ground for the Philippines, but it remained a self governing area for 50 years until a majority groundswell moved it to statehood. Hawai'i is an example of adapting a governmental model while keeping overall independence an 'option'. On a similar track, the Philippines took the independence option.

The USA doesn't have the imperial/colonial depth of many other nations. It wasn't "great" on this one, either. We do appear to have consensus in Hawai'i on this work.

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History has now been rewritten by the sugargrower lobby.

The History books are pretty clear on this one. An unpopular Queen (Liliʻuokalan) signed a treaty with the USA to make the republic of Hawai'i a territory of the USA.

That sure is one way of seeing it.

Unfortunately it is add odds with what the Prez himself said. How weird.

From back when Presidents actually said someone of an intellectual level above the one reserved for purple dinosaurs:

PRESIDENT of USA GROVER CLEVELAND'S MESSAGE - December 18, 1893

On Saturday, January 14, 1893, the Queen of Hawaii, who had been contemplating the proclamation of a new constitution, had, in deference to the wishes and remonstrances of her cabinet, renounced the project for the present at least. Taking this relinquished purpose as a basis of action, citizens of Honolulu numbering from fifty to one hundred, mostly resident aliens, met in a private office and selected a so-called Committee of Safety, composed of thirteen persons, seven of whom were foreign subjects, and consisted of five Americans [surely wholly unrelated to the sugar grower lobby], one Englishman, and one German. This committee, though its designs were not revealed, had in view nothing less than annexation to the United States, and between Saturday, the 14th, and the following Monday, the 16th of January - though exactly what action was taken may not be clearly disclosed -they were certainly in communication with the United States Minister. On Monday morning the Queen and her cabinet made public proclamation, with a notice which was specially served upon the representatives of all foreign governments, that any changes in the constitution would be sought only in the methods provided by that instrument. Nevertheless, at the call and under the auspices of the Committee of Safety, a mass meeting of citizens was held on that day to protest against the Queen's alleged illegal and unlawful proceedings and purposes. Even at this meeting the Committee of Safety continued to disguise their real purpose and contented themselves with procuring the passage of a resolution denouncing the Queen and empowering the committee to devise ways and means "to secure the permanent maintenance of law and order and the protection of life, liberty, and property in Hawaii." This meeting adjourned between three and four o'clock in the afternoon. On the same day, and immediately after such adjournment, the committee, unwilling to take further steps without the cooperation of the United States Minister, addressed him a note representing that the public safety was menaced and that lives and property were in danger, and concluded as follows: "We are unable to protect ourselves without aid, and therefore pray for the protection of the United States forces." Whatever may be thought of the other contents of this note, the absolute truth of this latter statement is incontestable. When the note was written and delivered, the committee, so far as it appears, had neither a man or a gun at their command, and after its delivery they became so panic-stricken at their stricken position that they sent some of their number to interview the Minister and request him not to land the United States forces till the next morning. But he replied that the troops had been ordered, and whether the committee were ready or not the landing should take place. And so it happened that on the 16th day of January, 1893, between four and five o'clock in the afternoon, a detachment of marines from the United States Steamer Boston, with two pieces of artillery, landed at Honolulu. The men, upwards of 160 in all, were supplied with double cartridge belts filled with ammunition and with haversacks and canteens, and were accompanied by a hospital corps with stretchers and medical supplies. This military demonstration upon the soil of Honolulu was of itself an act of war, unless made either with the consent of the Government of Hawaii or for the bona fide purpose of protecting the imperilled lives and property of citizens of the United States. But there is no pretense of any such consent on the part of the Government of the Queen, which at that time was undisputed and was both the de facto and the de jure government. In point of fact the existing government instead of requesting the presence of an armed force protested against it. There is as little basis for the pretense that such forces were landed for the security of American life and property. If so, they would have been stationed in the vicinity of such property and so as to protect it, instead of at a distance and so as to command the Hawaiian Government building and palace. ...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Political Posturing

@Colin Miller

"Do you really think that Britain, Russia, or the US left Afghanistan in a better state than they found it?"

Afghanistan will hold presidential elections on April 5th, just two days away. There are many people from all over the country campaigning to be president, some even have female running mates (try doing that with the Taliban in power). There are some people who are worried of election fraud but there are reports that as many as 75% of the population has registered to vote in this election.

I am not qualified to know if that is an improvement over what the country's status was before the US invaded but the people now hold the future of who their leader will be in their hands. IMO, that beats forcing a leader on the people by gun point. I hope the person elected has the best interests of the people at heart and that the election turns out well.

"Crimea was part of Russia until 1954 when Khrushchev donated it to Ukraine"

Notice the word donated in the sentence. Maybe in Russia "donated" means something else but around here, once something is donated it is no longer yours.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Political Posturing

@ Grikath

You might want to look up the order of actions in Libya. France was the one who called for action in Libya, not the US. Yes the US took part in Libya, but that is not surprising since the US has the most military might of all NATO members.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Political Posturing

Native Tartars?

It depends on how you define native. Over 2000 years ago, Greeks set up cities in Crimea - the ruins are there for all to see. The people living there at the time were Scythians - Iranian nomadic tribesmen with really bad PR guys.

It was then part of the Roman Empire, the Byzantine Empire with incursions by Goths the Rus, Huns, Tartars, Mongols and pretty much anyone travelling between Asia and Europe. In the Middle Ages, even Genoa owned most of the cities of Crimea (the Black Death entering Europe through Feodosiya after an siege of the city by Tartars).

As for the Tartars being exiled - it was a consequence of collaboration with the SS to conduct a bit of ethnic cleansing and not realising that the records would be captured by the Red Army.

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Did you really write all of that...

There were certainly more details surrounding the non-approval of the original treaty, but it certainly drove the overall activity. Replacement treaties setup the Hawai'i territory.

Philippines went for independence. Hawai'i went for statehood. Puerto Rico stayed as a territory with once-a-decade plebecite. The 2012 election shows 61% now want statehood, but the local government found the election inconclusive.

These are very messy things.

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Re: Political Posturing

What a ,load of tosh. So you think that replacing a head of state in Iran (1955) with a US puppet was legal? You consider covert destabilisation of countries by the US so that the US could manufacture an excuse for regime change was legal. Shooting down a civil airliner by an American warship was legal? Lying about weapons of mass destruction so that the US and its little puppy the UK was legal. Take into account the bullying interference, war, the arrogant attitude of the US administration that US law applies to every other country in the world, the manipulation of the worlds resources by the US, the corrupt banking system which benefits from the antics of the military industrial complex that is USA you find that legal and acceptable. Bad news the people of the world think not. You can buy off spineless duplicitous politicians buy not free thinking educated people. The threat to peace comes not from Russia, Syria, Libya, Iran or Venezuela, it comes from a morally and financially bankrupt USA controlled by AIPAC. The free ride for the USA is coming to an end, try replacing your arrogance with humility for a change or remain deservedly despised throughout the world.

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Re: Political Posturing

You hit the nail on the head with every single point - I am surprised this does not have many more upvotes, one up from me!

That is the current state of the world.

Conventional news sources such as the BBC News would like to tell you and many others a slightly different story.

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Re: Political Posturing

Science is an inanimate object. It can't be a victim.

Humanity can be a victim and that is a political matter Politicians do what they do. Try to elect the best one's possible in your country and try to influence the ones in other countries, preferably after consultation with your mates. It's not rocket science.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Political Posturing

Whoa! The spittle was really flying there.

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Just give NASA the cash

and so it goes again...some of the greatest human acheivements will be done through a political and military lens. We only went to the Moon because America felt silly and threatened by Sputnik and Gagarin's flight, and here we go again. I guess we souldn't look a gift horse in the mouth but can't humans for once back the idea of space exploration for its own sake? Just give NASA the cash!

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Re: Just give NASA the cash

Like Tony Benn MP (RIP) said in one of his many speeches, a country can always find the cash to go to war. None of them ever say "Oh we'd love to invade you today, but we will have to put it off by a week as we don't have the cash for tanks at the moment". The cash can always be found, no matter what country it is. And I think you will find as this Ukraine situation rumbles on, NASA will mysteriously find the cash needed to put America "back on top" of the world.

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Pragmatism over principles

We do not want anything to do with war mongering despots! (err, would you mind giving us a lift to the ISS if you are not too busy)

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Tense relations between the US and Russia, a mixed-nationality crew in space trying to get their job done despite the politics. Isn't this just the plot from 2010?

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Happy

Isn't this just the plot from 2010?

Except for the monolith and an artificially intelligent computer gone crazy... yes... yes it is...

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Re: Isn't this just the plot from 2010?

The trouble was in South America: ships and other planes flying round each other like angry hornets. Very bad.

Now, it is getting chilling here and that is very bad for my asthma. I have enjoyed our little chat. You are a smart man, you will know what to do.

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Re: Isn't this just the plot from 2010?

Yes for the film, in Clarke's original book they were friends.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Isn't this just the plot from 2010?

Well they have recently upgraded their computers.....

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Bah!

Wow. Didn't see *that* coming, Congressman.

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Quick get the oxycetelyne torches

It looks like NASA may have to do a quick conversion job on its X-37B Space Planes then. Though I suspect the option of carrying stranded astronauts has long been in the pipeline.

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Re: Quick get the oxycetelyne torches

Ariane5 is pretty close to man-rated due to the original frogs-in-space/hermes project.

Should be easy enough to put a capsule on that and then the Americans can ask the French 'pretty please can we get a lift' - that seems like a win all-round.

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Trollface

Re: Quick get the oxycetelyne torches

Heretofore, "French fries" served in the Capitol Hill canteenrestaurant will be renamed to "Ariane fries".

Not to be confused with Aryan fries. Nor to be served with Steak Tartare. Or with anything à la putinesca.

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Re: Quick get the oxycetelyne torches

My understanding is that the SpaceX rockets are already basically man-rated, but the capsule isn't yet. The main thing it needs is proof that the new side-mounted thrusters can be used to abort a take-off by lifting the capsule off a failing rocket.

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Re: Quick get the oxycetelyne torches

Hermes and Hopper have been cancelled; Hermes was developed at the same time as Ariane5, so the latter is human-rated. The current developmental human-rated module for Ariane5 is IXV, but I'm not sure what state it is in.

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Re: Ariane5

Its not so much man rating the launcher, its that the capsules we have are not designed to return, actually the Dragon capsule has proven itself and is most likely to be practical in the short term, the ESA is like NASA, they take their time....

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Quick get the oxycetelyne torches

"Heretofore, "French fries" served in the Capitol Hill canteenrestaurant will be renamed to "Ariane fries"."

Think you may be a bit late with this one... didn't they already rename them as 'Freedom Fries' several years ago?

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Re: Quick get the oxycetelyne torches

It only needs to be 'man-rated' for the return journey as a rescue mission. The difficulty will be in docking with the ISS for the transfer, though it may even be possible to do an extra-vehicular jump from one to the other in space suits (a la Gravity).

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Trollface

Just put the wall back up.

Bring back the USSR. I guess parts of Europe might have an issue with that, but wasn't it a lot more fun back then? Then this whole "internal matter" would not be an issue.

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In response the Russians should tell NASA that they will no longer give rides to the Space Station to NASA astronauts. The Russians should tell NASA to find their own way to and from the Space Station.

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So Russia's word with the UK & USA in 1994 doesn't matter?

The Budapest memorandum stated that the UK/USA would NOT try to get the Ukraine into NATO and that Russia wouldn't violate the Ukraine's borders. It was to disarm the nuclear arsenal that the USSR had deployed in Ukraine.

It would appear that Russia has ceased to follow this agreement. The USA will do something to show "why Russia shouldn't have done that". It will likely involve pushing Russia away economically and militarily, without returning to Stalinist isolation.

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Re: So Russia's word with the UK & USA in 1994 doesn't matter?

The Budapest memorandum stated that the UK/USA would NOT try to get the Ukraine into NATO

So what happened to that part?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: So Russia's word with the UK & USA in 1994 doesn't matter?

Ukraine was not invited to join NATO, it was invited to have closer trade ties with the EU. Ex-President Yanukovych decided to go with Russia and that is when the snowball started rolling at high speed.

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In response the Russians should tell NASA that they will no longer give rides to the Space Station to NASA astronauts. The Russians should tell NASA to find their own way to and from the Space Station. And that should start today.

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Anonymous Coward

Perhaps

they could annex the station to protect the crew.

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Re: Perhaps

I actually wouldn't put it past Putin. It'd have to be bloodless for PR purposes, but if he could wrangle things so there was a point when no non-Russian astronauts were on board... easily done. Just need to get them to disconnect any cables permitting remote service access to station systems, and that shouldn't be too hard as the station itsself has only very limited computing capability.

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Pirate

Re: Perhaps

Hell yeah. Russian Space Spetznaz like in a Greg Bear novel.

FUND IT!

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Re: Perhaps

> they could annex the station to protect the crew

or claim they are hiding weapons of mass destruction then invade the US half

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Nose duly cut sir

No report from the face yet.

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It's a shame that science is the victim, but hopefully this will help the more "patriotic" in congress realise that space flight shouldn't involve a connecting flight to Kazakhstan and thus find the agency properly.

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