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The Space Station May Be In Trouble!
Posted on Thursday, September 26 @ 16:26:22 BST by just_dave
In the News MOSCOW (Reuters) -- Manned missions to the international space station may have to be suspended because Russia cannot afford to build new craft to carry crews there, a Russian space official said Thursday.

"The situation is desperate," Valery Ryumin, director of the Russian section of the ISS, said by telephone. Ryumin, also a top designer for rocket-builder Energiya -- which supplies the Soyuz craft -- said the company had no money beyond next year to build the vehicles. "It takes two years to build the spaceship. Unless we place an order today, we will have nothing to fly on in 2004," he said. A key member of the 16-nation space station program, Russia has undertaken to provide Soyuz capsules. Designed to carry three people, they remain docked to the orbiting outpost for months at a time and can be used for emergency rescues. It is intended for use on a single mission. Ryumin said that without Soyuz, U.S. crews would not be able to use the space station as their shuttle craft were designed to remain at the station for a maximum of three weeks. The U.S. program also had no alternative provision for rescue missions. "That is why the issue has been raised of suspending permanent manned missions at the station," he said. Ryumin said he had sent a letter to his U.S. counterpart explaining Russia's concerns. He suggested that the publicity given to Russia's financial difficulties might prompt the government to stump up more funds. "Perhaps the government will choose to avoid an international scandal," he said. "But I will tell you frankly that I have almost given up hope." Ed/there are two Soyuz capsules in this rendition, they are the two green cylinders with 2 white bands each at top center.

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Re: The Space Station May Be In Trouble! (Score: 1)
by Jesse on Thursday, September 26 @ 19:00:06 BST
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From a practical P.O.V. I've never been a big fan of the idea of the Russians havong such an important role in the development of the ISS. It's a great idea for improving US-Russia relations after the USSR, but their economy is just to weak to support a space program the way it did under communist rule. I don't know who else could take over the role Russia has been playing, whether Japan or the Europeans or anyone else has the program in place to take this on.

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Re: The Space Station May Be In Trouble! (Score: 1)
by forumwhore on Thursday, September 26 @ 19:22:37 BST
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If we let the Ruskies slide from space, how long if ever will they go back? I would support the Russians and I would prefer the space station be entirely American too.

PS the shuttles are starting to wear out too.


Re: The Space Station May Be In Trouble! (Score: 1)
by Jesse on Thursday, September 26 @ 22:01:40 BST
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As Tax0rs said, why would the ISS be entirely American, that sort of defeats the purpose of an International Space Station. The reason we aren't doing it all ourself is because NASA can't the budget necessary.
As for whether or not the Russians would ever get back into space, I feel certain that they will after they get thier problems on the ground sorted out. I'm all in favor for a strong space program, but when it comes down to new rockets or food for the citizens, food comes first.
Yes, the shuttles are getting old. We need to get some of the plans for new shuttle designs off the drawing board and into prototypes. Of course, that requires that congress give NASA more money, anyone what to take odds on that happening?

P.S. Is the shuttle fleet still grounded? I havn't heard anything about that for quite a while.


Re: The Space Station May Be In Trouble! (Score: 1)
by Tax0rs on Thursday, September 26 @ 21:24:49 BST
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Why on earth would the ISS be entirely American...(jingoist!)

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