Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Conflicting News Stories

Every day I put together the Space News Clips for the Space Foundation, so I look though many different news sources. One interesting aspect of looking at various international sources, is that sometimes you find conflicting stories. For example, today a Chinese newspaper noted that Russia was thinking of taking advantage of the U.S. plan to end its Moon program, and make Russia become the new leader in human space flight. A U.S. paper (NY Times), on the other hand, reported that Russia was also planning to give up its Moon plans, and would keep its policies well aligned with the U.S. It's likely Russia is actually considering both possibilities - or different people within Russia are advocating each of these directions - but it's still interesting to see how reading the news in China vs. America would have a big impact on what you think Russia is thinking.

(People’s Daily Online) February 3, 2010
Russia should establish its position as a leader in manned space exploration, with the United States considering ditching its plans to return to the moon, a senior Russian scientist said. U.S. President Barack Obama on Monday sent Congress a budget proposal that grounds the U.S. mission to return to the moon. Yury Kara, an expert at the Russian Academy of Cosmonautics, said Obama's proposal served as a golden chance for Russia to sparkle in space exploration. Russia would be the only country able to ferry astronauts to the International Space Station within five to seven years, he said.

(New York Times) February 2, 2010
The Russian space agency has no plans to fly to the Moon and will not be shifting this position now that President Obama has asked NASA to abandon a second American Moon program, the head of the agency suggested in comments to Interfax. The exploration goals of the two space agencies would “fully coincide” if America drops its Moon program, the director, Anatoly N. Perminov said. “Our near-term program has not included any plan for settlement on the moon,” he said. “We shouldn’t rush from side to side.” No longer rivals, the two space programs are closely entwined through work on the International Space Station and will become more so when Russian rockets will become, at least for some time, the only means of putting American astronauts into orbit if the space shuttle fleet is retired as expected this year.

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