Sunday, May 22, 2005

USA THREATENS TO JUMP SHIP THE WORLD LAUGHS

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First the Space Shuttle blew up right over Palestine, Texas. Then NASA mucked around for more than a year and the last Shuttles sit idle. Then the oxygen generator at the Space Station quit. It was made by the Russians. Well, like a bad landlord/tenant story, it spirals downwards. No, cockroaches aren't running amok, yet. And no, a girlfriend didn't move in without notifying the landlord. It is just a little dispute over paying the rent and who has the car keys.

Earth to America: Russia has the car keys right now.
NASA may have to partially abandon the International Space Station if the Bush administration can't figure a way around a law that prevents the United States from paying Russia for future flights to the orbiting outpost.

"If we don't have (an) agreement with the Russians, then we won't be able to have people in space for long periods of time," said U.S. Rep. Sherwood Boehlert, R-N.Y., chairman of the House Science Committee.

Boehlert said he and other congressional leaders want a new agreement for more Russian Soyuz flights, but not if it means backing down on concerns that Russia may be passing along weapons secrets to Iran.

The Iran Nonproliferation Act bans U.S. payments to Russia for services related to the $100 billion international station unless the president confirms Russia is working to prevent its scientists and engineers from passing weapons technology to Iran.

Exempted from the 2000 ban were 11 flights of the Russian-built Soyuz spacecraft to and from the station.

The three-person Russian capsules have been the only way for the U.S. to rotate astronauts aboard the $60 billion station since the shuttle Columbia disaster in February 2003. And, for the life of the station program, the Soyuz has been the only escape system for the crew.
Ahem. Time to laugh. Hahahaha. Indeed. We could tell the Russians off, can't we? Then they won't give us hitchikers any more lifts but so what? We won't pay the rent, anyway and will go home, back to earth, in a huff. "Don't let the door hit your ass," yell the Russians as we beg for one last ride.

Wot? Eh? This is our space program. Right, we are goin to move over to Mars. We can't go to the Space Station but by jimminy we will go to Mars. Like a teen thrown out of the house, we stamp around and yell about going to LA with a few dimes in our pocket.

This is what disturbs me the most. America's rulers acting like we are on top of the world and everyone is begging for us to do things with them and we can dictate terms. So we play hard ball. Only we threw away our baseball bat in Iraq. So we get bashed over and over again. If we abandon the Space Station you can bet, others will happily move in and use it. This is why the threat is stupid. If we mean this threat, it is only to make the Russians laugh to death. So much for the Great Space Race!

Tell me, who won?
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