America, Russia and the ISS

In RIA Novosti today, political commentator Andrei Kislyakov assesses what he calls the "prospects for Russian-American ISS cooperation, despite the shuttle's vague future."

"The U.S. 2000 law on non-proliferation of missile technologies regarding Iran prohibits NASA from paying Russia's Federal Space Agency or bartering ISS goods and services, until the U.S. administration persuades Congress that there are no leaks of missile technologies from Russia to Iran.

The Americans seem to realize that their shuttles are unreliable, yet they continue to stick with the ISS. Griffin and U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice sent a letter to U.S. lawmakers in the middle of July with a request to amend the law.

If the requested amendments are introduced, Russian-American ISS cooperation will continue to develop on a commercial basis. The Russian space industry will be relieved of the extreme financial burden associated with the ISS after the Columbia crash.

If lawmakers reject the request, Russia will have to revise its plans for manned missions in space. But in any event Russia and the U.S. are doomed to cooperation as the two leading space powers."
(See also, Probe post on The Iran Nonproliferation Act issue.)

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