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Russia to STOP transporting US astronauts to International Space Station

Plan to resume American-launched manned spaceflight may be too ambitious, causing a problem if US astronauts cannot get into space.

Seraphim Hanisch

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The American space program continues to suffer under its own poor planning, and today, RT reported a new hit against the program as the contract the US has with Russia is slated to end in April, 2019:

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Under the current contract, American astronauts avail of seats on Russian Soyuz spacecraft in order to reach the International Space Station (ISS) and return home. The US lost its capacity for manned space missions after the retirement of the Space Shuttle program, and is about to finalize a replacement in the form of a manned SpaceX Dragon capsule.

The cost of the ISS ferry service has varied over the years, with NASA paying about $81 million per seat in 2018, up from the cheapest price of $21.8 million in 2007 and 2008.

Reporting on the state of the Russian space industry on Friday, Yury Borisov, who is responsible for overseeing military and space matters in the Russian cabinet, said that the landing of a Soyuz-MS spaceship in April next year “will finalize the fulfillment of our obligation under a contract with NASA.”

The discontinuation of the Space Shuttle program seemed like a minor inconvenience in 2011, when the US and Russia were on relatively good terms. Today, however – amid a bitter political stand-off between the two nations – the fact that the US has to rely on Russia in some aspects of its space exploration is considered humiliating by some people in America.

The late Senator John McCain was among the most vocal critics of the situation, in which the US pays Russia millions of dollars each year in return for space engines and rides to the ISS. Vice-President Mike Pence last week pledged that the US will “very soon” be able to take people into space without Russia’s help and will return to the moon by 2024.

This issue is certainly a source of embarrassment for the United States, and it probably was behind the American Vice President’s August 23 announcement that the US would soon regain manned space travel capability and be back to the moon by 2024. This story, also covered by RT, had this to say:

The US will soon rid itself of its embarrassing and costly reliance on Russian space rockets, Vice President Pence … promised, painting an idyllic future where private enterprises will be taking Americans to the moon and beyond.

Regretting that US astronauts were “forced to hitch a ride to space” ever since NASA’s Space Shuttle program retired in 2011, Mike Pence promised to end America’s somewhat embarrassing reliance on Soyuz rockets. Noting that each seat onboard a Russian capsule costs about $82 million, the vice president proclaimed “those days are about to be over.”

“I’m going to make you a promise: Soon, and very soon, American astronauts will return to space on American rockets launched from American soil,” Pence said while he and NASA administrator, Jim Bridenstine, visited the Johnson Space Center on Thursday.

NASA has been working for years with its commercial partners SpaceX and Boeing to develop crew transportation systems, CST-100 Starliner and Crew Dragon 2, both of which the US space agency rather optimistically hopes to certify and render ‘operational’ next year.

But saving costs of low orbit flights are just part of US cosmic ambitions in outer space. Recalling that Donald Trump already allocated “historic funding for NASA,” Pence promised the crowd of space enthusiasts that “America will lead mankind to the stars once again,” by building a Moon colony in 2024, all while ambitiously pioneering Mars.

“We’re working with the Congress to provide an unprecedented $500 million to move the Lunar Orbital Platform from proposal to production. We’re only a few short years away from launching the gateway’s first building blocks into space, turning science fiction into science fact,” Pence said.

The US second-in-command did not forget to stress that the US must also maintain its military ‘superiority’ in space to tackle a perceived threat from China and Russia.

“China is aggressively weaponizing space. Russia, too, is developing and testing new and dangerous weapons and technologies to counter America’s space capabilities,” Pence claimed, stressing that the administration is “committed to keep America ahead of our adversaries in this critical domain.”

However, Pence’s big plans for space will face a large logistical hurdle: the United States currently has no domestic rocket program that can send human crews into orbit.

America’s civilian space agency, NASA, discontinued its space shuttle program in 2011, leaving the Russian Soyuz as the only class of spaceships capable of delivering people to the International Space Station (ISS).

Even the private sector now looks to Russian technology. United Launch Alliance (ULA), a joint venture between Lockheed Martin and Boeing, relies on Russian rocket engines for their Atlas launchers. Moscow has threatened to embargo the delivery of these in retaliation against the newest US-imposed sanctions.

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columVeeNarian (Yerevan)tomScienceABC123Marc Landreville Recent comment authors
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colum
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colum

Even a blind man could see this outcome from the other side of the galaxy. The US government really is retarded.

VeeNarian (Yerevan)
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VeeNarian (Yerevan)

This sounds so much like what a parent would say to an errant child:
“That’s it! You’re grounded!”.
Sadly, the errant child the US will continue to throw a tantrum.

tom
Guest
tom

Looks like trampoline time!

tom
Guest
tom

‘“I’m going to make you a promise: Soon, and very soon, American astronauts will return to space on American rockets launched from American soil,” Pence said’.

And who’s going to make those rockets, eh? I assume Mr Pence will be taking the lead role himself, as he seems so sure.

“With a politician’s promise and $3 you can buy a cup of coffee”.

ScienceABC123
Guest
ScienceABC123

If the USA were serious about returning to the Moon by 2024 a lunar lander would already have to be in development. Anybody heard anything about any such effort???

Marc Landreville
Guest
Marc Landreville

A new US astronaut has recently quit the program after 2 years of training. He was before a senior manager at SpaceX. I wonder if he quit because he realised that he’d have to fly on the SpaceX, now that US/Russian cooperation is about to end?

The SPaceX system does not have enough launches to be able to attribute it a proven level of reliability for human transport. My guess is that that’s why he quit the program.

Mike
Guest
Mike

US better check those “O” Rings.

DexterSverige
Guest
DexterSverige

To return to somewhere you would need to have been there at least once to begin with. Anyone with basic science education about conditions in space and minimum of knowledge about photography can conclude that US astronauts have never been on the moon.

It’s amusing to see how all the difficulties connected with space travel which are currently discussed (such as radiation belts, fuel consumption, orbit and landing calculations) were allegedly solved with great ease in the 1970’ies. Apparently technology has moved forward in all areas except space travel 🙂

Vera Gottlieb
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Vera Gottlieb

Keep provoking Russia and what does the US expect? Bouquets of roses???

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Clinton-Yeltsin docs shine a light on why Deep State hates Putin (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 114.

Alex Christoforou

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Bill Clinton and America ruled over Russia and Boris Yeltsin during the 1990s. Yeltsin showed little love for Russia and more interest in keeping power, and pleasing the oligarchs around him.

Then came Vladimir Putin, and everything changed.

Nearly 600 pages of memos and transcripts, documenting personal exchanges and telephone conversations between Bill Clinton and Boris Yeltsin, were made public by the Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Dating from January 1993 to December 1999, the documents provide a historical account of a time when US relations with Russia were at their best, as Russia was at its weakest.

On September 8, 1999, weeks after promoting the head of the Russia’s top intelligence agency to the post of prime minister, Russian President Boris Yeltsin took a phone call from U.S. President Bill Clinton.

The new prime minister was unknown, rising to the top of the Federal Security Service only a year earlier.

Yeltsin wanted to reassure Clinton that Vladimir Putin was a “solid man.”

Yeltsin told Clinton….

“I would like to tell you about him so you will know what kind of man he is.”

“I found out he is a solid man who is kept well abreast of various subjects under his purview. At the same time, he is thorough and strong, very sociable. And he can easily have good relations and contact with people who are his partners. I am sure you will find him to be a highly qualified partner.”

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the nearly 600 pages of transcripts documenting the calls and personal conversations between then U.S. President Bill Clinton and Russian President Boris Yeltsin, released last month. A strong Clinton and a very weak Yeltsin underscore a warm and friendly relationship between the U.S. and Russia.

Then Vladimir Putin came along and decided to lift Russia out of the abyss, and things changed.

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Here are five must-read Clinton-Yeltsin exchanges from with the 600 pages released by the Clinton Library.

Via RT

Clinton sends ‘his people’ to get Yeltsin elected

Amid unceasing allegations of nefarious Russian influence in the 2016 presidential election, the Clinton-Yeltsin exchanges reveal how the US government threw its full weight behind Boris – in Russian parliamentary elections as well as for the 1996 reelection campaign, which he approached with 1-digit ratings.

For example, a transcript from 1993 details how Clinton offered to help Yeltsin in upcoming parliamentary elections by selectively using US foreign aid to shore up support for the Russian leader’s political allies.

“What is the prevailing attitude among the regional leaders? Can we do something through our aid package to send support out to the regions?” a concerned Clinton asked.

Yeltsin liked the idea, replying that “this kind of regional support would be very useful.” Clinton then promised to have “his people” follow up on the plan.

In another exchange, Yeltsin asks his US counterpart for a bit of financial help ahead of the 1996 presidential election: “Bill, for my election campaign, I urgently need for Russia a loan of $2.5 billion,” he said. Yeltsin added that he needed the money in order to pay pensions and government wages – obligations which, if left unfulfilled, would have likely led to his political ruin. Yeltsin also asks Clinton if he could “use his influence” to increase the size of an IMF loan to assist him during his re-election campaign.

Yeltsin questions NATO expansion

The future of NATO was still an open question in the years following the collapse of the Soviet Union, and conversations between Clinton and Yeltsin provide an illuminating backdrop to the current state of the curiously offensive ‘defensive alliance’ (spoiler alert: it expanded right up to Russia’s border).

In 1995, Yeltsin told Clinton that NATO expansion would lead to “humiliation” for Russia, noting that many Russians were fearful of the possibility that the alliance could encircle their country.

“It’s a new form of encirclement if the one surviving Cold War bloc expands right up to the borders of Russia. Many Russians have a sense of fear. What do you want to achieve with this if Russia is your partner? They ask. I ask it too: Why do you want to do this?” Yeltsin asked Clinton.

As the documents show, Yeltsin insisted that Russia had “no claims on other countries,” adding that it was “unacceptable” that the US was conducting naval drills near Crimea.

“It is as if we were training people in Cuba. How would you feel?” Yeltsin asked. The Russian leader then proposed a “gentleman’s agreement” that no former Soviet republics would join NATO.

Clinton refused the offer, saying: “I can’t make the specific commitment you are asking for. It would violate the whole spirit of NATO. I’ve always tried to build you up and never undermine you.”

NATO bombing of Yugoslavia turns Russia against the West

Although Clinton and Yeltsin enjoyed friendly relations, NATO’s bombing of Yugoslavia tempered Moscow’s enthusiastic partnership with the West.

“Our people will certainly from now have a bad attitude with regard to America and with NATO,” the Russian president told Clinton in March 1999. “I remember how difficult it was for me to try and turn the heads of our people, the heads of the politicians towards the West, towards the United States, but I succeeded in doing that, and now to lose all that.”

Yeltsin urged Clinton to renounce the strikes, for the sake of “our relationship” and “peace in Europe.”

“It is not known who will come after us and it is not known what will be the road of future developments in strategic nuclear weapons,” Yeltsin reminded his US counterpart.

But Clinton wouldn’t cede ground.

“Milosevic is still a communist dictator and he would like to destroy the alliance that Russia has built up with the US and Europe and essentially destroy the whole movement of your region toward democracy and go back to ethnic alliances. We cannot allow him to dictate our future,” Clinton told Yeltsin.

Yeltsin asks US to ‘give Europe to Russia’

One exchange that has been making the rounds on Twitter appears to show Yeltsin requesting that Europe be “given” to Russia during a meeting in Istanbul in 1999. However, it’s not quite what it seems.

“I ask you one thing,” Yeltsin says, addressing Clinton. “Just give Europe to Russia. The US is not in Europe. Europe should be in the business of Europeans.”

However, the request is slightly less sinister than it sounds when put into context: The two leaders were discussing missile defense, and Yeltsin was arguing that Russia – not the US – would be a more suitable guarantor of Europe’s security.

“We have the power in Russia to protect all of Europe, including those with missiles,” Yeltsin told Clinton.

Clinton on Putin: ‘He’s very smart’

Perhaps one of the most interesting exchanges takes place when Yeltsin announces to Clinton his successor, Vladimir Putin.

In a conversation with Clinton from September 1999, Yeltsin describes Putin as “a solid man,” adding: “I am sure you will find him to be a highly qualified partner.”

A month later, Clinton asks Yeltsin who will win the Russian presidential election.

“Putin, of course. He will be the successor to Boris Yeltsin. He’s a democrat, and he knows the West.”

“He’s very smart,” Clinton remarks.

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New Satellite Images Reveal Aftermath Of Israeli Strikes On Syria; Putin Accepts Offer to Probe Downed Jet

The images reveal the extent of destruction in the port city of Latakia, as well as the aftermath of a prior strike on Damascus International Airport.

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Via Zerohedge


An Israeli satellite imaging company has released satellite photographs that reveal the extent of Monday night’s attack on multiple locations inside Syria.

ImageSat International released them as part of an intelligence report on a series of Israeli air strikes which lasted for over an hour and resulted in Syrian missile defense accidentally downing a Russian surveillance plane that had 15 personnel on board.

The images reveal the extent of destruction on one location struck early in attack in the port city of Latakia, as well as the aftermath of a prior strike on Damascus International Airport. On Tuesday Israel owned up to carrying out the attack in a rare admission.

Syrian official SANA news agency reported ten people injured in the attacks carried out of military targets near three major cities in Syria’s north.

The Times of Israel, which first reported the release of the new satellite images, underscores the rarity of Israeli strikes happening that far north and along the coast, dangerously near Russian positions:

The attack near Latakia was especially unusual because the port city is located near a Russian military base, the Khmeimim Air Force base. The base is home to Russian jet planes and an S-400 aerial defense system. According to Arab media reports, Israel has rarely struck that area since the Russians arrived there.

The Russian S-400 system was reportedly active during the attack, but it’s difficult to confirm or assess the extent to which Russian missiles responded during the strikes.

Three of the released satellite images show what’s described as an “ammunition warehouse” that appears to have been completely destroyed.

The IDF has stated their airstrikes targeted a Syrian army facility “from which weapons-manufacturing systems were supposed to be transferred to Iran and Hezbollah.” This statement came after the IDF expressed “sorrow” for the deaths of Russian airmen, but also said responsibility lies with the “Assad regime.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also phoned Russian President Vladimir Putin to express regret over the incident while offering to send his air force chief to Russia with a detailed report — something which Putin agreed to.

According to Russia’s RT News, “Major-General Amikam Norkin will arrive in Moscow on Thursday, and will present the situation report on the incident, including the findings of the IDF inquiry regarding the event and the pre-mission information the Israeli military was so reluctant to share in advance.”

Russia’s Defense Ministry condemned the “provocative actions by Israel as hostile” and said Russia reserves “the right to an adequate response” while Putin has described the downing of the Il-20 recon plane as likely the result of a “chain of tragic accidental circumstances” and downplayed the idea of a deliberate provocation, in contradiction of the initial statement issued by his own defense ministry.

Pro-government Syrians have reportedly expressed frustration this week that Russia hasn’t done more to respond militarily to Israeli aggression; however, it appears Putin may be sidestepping yet another trap as it’s looking increasingly likely that Israel’s aims are precisely geared toward provoking a response in order to allow its western allies to join a broader attack on Damascus that could result in regime change.

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“Transphobic” Swedish Professor May Lose Job After Noting Biological Differences Between Sexes

A university professor in Sweden is under investigation after he said that there are fundamental differences between men and women which are “biologically founded”

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Via Zerohedge


A university professor in Sweden is under investigation for “anti-feminism” and “transphobia” after he said that there are fundamental differences between men and women which are “biologically founded” and that genders cannot be regarded as “social constructs alone,” reports Academic Rights Watch.

For his transgression, Germund Hesslow – a professor of neuroscience at Lund University – who holds dual PhDs in philosophy and neurophysiology, may lose his job – telling RT that a “full investigation” has been ordered, and that there “have been discussions about trying to stop the lecture or get rid of me, or have someone else give the lecture or not give the lecture at all.”

“If you answer such a question you are under severe time pressure, you have to be extremely brief — and I used wording which I think was completely innocuous, and that apparently the student didn’t,” Hesslow said.

Hesslow was ordered to attend a meeting by Christer Larsson, chairman of the program board for medical education, after a female student complained that Hesslow had a “personal anti-feminist agenda.” He was asked to distance himself from two specific comments; that gay women have a “male sexual orientation” and that the sexual orientation of transsexuals is “a matter of definition.”

The student’s complaint reads in part (translated):

I have also heard from senior lecturers that Germund Hesslow at the last lecture expressed himself transfobically. In response to a question of transexuallism, he said something like “sex change is a fly”. Secondly, it is outrageous because there may be students during the lecture who are themselves exposed to transfobin, but also because it may affect how later students in their professional lives meet transgender people. Transpersonals already have a high level of overrepresentation in suicide statistics and there are already major shortcomings in the treatment of transgender in care, should not it be countered? How does this kind of statement coincide with the university’s equal treatment plan? What has this statement given for consequences? What has been done for this to not be repeated? –Academic Rights Watch

After being admonished, Hesslow refused to distance himself from his comments, saying that he had “done enough” already and didn’t have to explain and defend his choice of words.

At some point, one must ask for a sense of proportion among those involved. If it were to become acceptable for students to record lectures in order to find compromising formulations and then involve faculty staff with meetings and long letters, we should let go of the medical education altogether,” Hesslow said in a written reply to Larsson.

He also rejected the accusation that he had a political agenda – stating that his only agenda was to let scientific factnot new social conventions, dictate how he teaches his courses.

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