Executive Intelligence Review


U.S. and Russia Suspend Sanctions in Order To Continue Space Cooperation

Aug. 2, 2018 (EIRNS)—Since 2011, NASA astronauts have ridden to the International Space Station aboard Russia’s Soyuz rockets, and all applicable sanctions have always been waived. Russian RD-180 engines for the Atlas V rocket, which carries payloads for NASA and the U.S. Air Force, have been delivered without interruption. The sale of the engines keeps American rockets flying and Russian space factories in business. When a new round of sanctions was levied against Russia, including against Russian figures with positions in defense and space, President Vladimir Putin signed the law on June 4, “On Measures of Influence [Counteraction] in Response to Unfriendly Actions of the United States of America and Other Foreign States,” allowing the government to take retaliatory measures. But so far, none has been proposed. NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine pointed out last week, that more important than the practical matters of rocket engines and Soyuz rides, U.S.-Russian space cooperation “is our best opportunity to dialogue when everything else falls apart.”

Two days ago a major step forward was taken, when NASA and the U.S. Air Force certified Russia’s RD-180 rocket engines to be used for the first time on manned flights. They will be in the first stage of the Atlas V rocket, which will carry Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft to space with a crew. Yesterday Russian engine maker Energomash and United Launch Alliance, which launches the Atlas, signed an agreement for the purchase of six more Russian engines. The Russian government decided not to invoke Russia’s anti-sanctions law. Refusing to sell the engines would not only halt the Boeing crew program, but would also damage Russia’s domestic engine building industry, the Space Policy Institute’s Ivan Moiseyev told Pravda.