Russia to Charge US
$82 Million Per Seat on Soyuz Rockets
On March 5th, 2014 Fox News reported:
Today, Jones says, the two space partners (US-Russia) are more inter-dependent than ever. “What they lack for example, is all the control software that we use to point, maneuver and control the space station,” he says. “So, they would not be wise to deny us access, because they would be denying themselves access to all the utilities and supplies they need for the space station.”
Interesting, Inter-dependence: means that they actually work together to carry out common goals. But then that was over a year ago and things have changed.
Now Russia is charging the US $82 millions dollars per seat on a Soyuz Rocket to reach the International Space Station. Why? Because they can! But how can this be true? Well the US retired the Space Shuttle Program back in July of 2011, since then it’s been shifting the program from the public to the private sector. A good idea except for the fact they still needed a lift to get to the International Space Station.
The Two Super-Powers came together
This is were things start to get interesting, but let’s step back in time and look at how this all developed. At the end of the last cold war the two superpowers began to come together during general easing of the geo-political tensions between the Soviet Union and the United States. This process in the U.S. was called Détente and in Russian as разрядка (“razryadka“, loosely meaning “relaxation of tension”).
The Apollo-Soyuz Test Project made it possible to improve the relations between them. The project itself endeavored to amplify and solidify the improving relations between the United States and the Soviet Union.
The then Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev stated:
“The Soviet and American spacemen will go up into outer space for the first major joint scientific experiment in the history of mankind. They know that from outer space our planet looks even more beautiful. It is big enough for us to live peacefully on it, but it is too small to be threatened by nuclear war”.
On July 15th, 1975 the Soyuz and Apollo mission was completed by 3 American astronauts and 2 Soviet cosmonauts by the exchange of the first international handshake in space through the open hatch of the Soyuz. It was from this point that the tensions between the United States and the USSR began softened, the project created the path for future cooperative projects in space.
Being there in the Hard Times
Nine years later in 2004 President Bush announced that the then aging Space Shuttle program would be shut down with a new plan to return to the moon. Relations between the US and Russia at this time were good.
Bush was telling reporters that he’d looked into Putin’s eyes and “got a sense of his soul.
At this point NASA didn’t have an qualms about asking Russia for help in transporting US astronauts to and from the space station in the interim. Russia had set this tone after 2003 Space Shuttle Columbia disaster, they offered a ride during these hard times. Again an act of inter-dependence.
Forty years have passed since the docking of the Soyuz and Apollo capsules, co-operational efforts on ISS have taken place during this time, shared scientific experiments have happened, it was the beginning an embodiment of a new age of cooperative space exploration.
Possible better Relations for the Future
Recently both Roscosmos and NASA have decided to continue to coöperate despite tensions and sanctions imposed by the west on Russia.
The two have agreed to build a new space station for when the International Space Station (ISS) is retired in 2024. So until the end of 2017 Russia has agreed to give a lift to American astronauts to the tune of $82 million per seat.
Regardless of the cost and this new handshake, let’s all hope this continued endeavor might be the continuance of inter-dependence and possibly improve better relations in the future.