Wednesday, May 21, 2014

General Warns Of US Space Vulnerability

May 20, 2014 6:56 pm

General warns of US space vulnerability

(FILES) This August 5, 2011 file photo s...(FILES) This August 5, 2011 file photo shows an Atlas 5 rocket as it launches from launch pad 41 at Cape Canaveral, Florida carrying NASA's Juno spacecraft on a mission to the planet Jupiter. Sea level rise is threatening the majority of NASA's launch pads and multi-billion dollar complexes famous for training astronauts and launching historic missions to space, scientists said May 20, 2014. From Cape Canaveral in Florida to mission control in Houston, the US space agency is busily building seawalls where possible and moving some buildings further inland. Five of seven major NASA centers are located along the coast. Experts say that proximity to water is necessary for safety and logistics when launching rockets and testing spacecraft. Many NASA centers have already faced costly damage from encroaching water, coastal erosion and potent hurricanes, said a report by the Union of Concerned Scientists. AFP PHOTO/Bruce WeaverBRUCE WEAVER/AFP/Getty Images©AFP
The head of the US Air Force’s space command says he is “very concerned” about the state of the country’s rocket industry in a sign of American anxiety over its dependence on Russia launch technology.
General William Shelton was speaking to the Space Symposium in Colorado after Russia’s deputy prime minister, Dmitry Rogozin, vowed to stop letting the US use Russia’s RD180 rocket motors for military satellite launches. The motors are used in the Atlas V rocket that the United Launch Alliance uses to lift the US’s most sensitive spy satellites into space.





While there are new, domestic space companies such as Elon Musk’s SpaceX and some US-built rockets that use only US technology, the Atlas V can lift heavier satellites and has a long record of reliability. ULA is a joint venture between Boeing and Lockheed Martinand has a monopoly on the US national security launch business.
Mr Rogozin also vowed to stop letting the US use the International Space Station after 2020.
It could take four to five years for US contractors todevelop a new motor with the same capabilities as the RD180. ULA has stockpiled enough motors to continue launches for two years if Russia makes good on its threat.
“I remain very concerned about the state of our rocket propulsion industrial base,” General Shelton said towards the end of his address.
With the help of the US Congress, the military was examining the possibility of developing a domestically produced rocket engine, he added.
But he went on: “As many of you know, a strong domestic industrial base is key to assured access to space.”
Gen Shelton had previously painted a picture of space operations that had been transformed since the cold war by the number of countries operating in space and by the potential for attacks on satellites.

US’s Russian space dependence highlighted

China Launches New Communication Satellite In Xichang
When a US National Reconnaisance Office satellite lifted off into the sky above Cape Canaveral on April 10, the rocket’s ultimate destination in space and the satellite’s purpose were all kept top secret. But there is a strong possibility that the intelligence satellite will be used to monitor the behaviour of the Russian military, which when the launch took place was massed on Ukraine’s eastern border.
Read more
The US was vulnerable, he said, because it relied for critical capabilities on a small number of large, complex satellites that if lost or destroyed by enemy action would severely harm the country’s intelligence-gathering. The military was planning to move to using larger networks of smaller satellites.
“This distributed approach we believe will minimise the impact of losing a single asset,” he said.
The US military might also buy space on commercial satellite launchers for some launches and there were new approaches to reaching space, including the Virgin Galactic system for space tourism.
Gen Shelton was “intrigued” by the possibility of competition for national security launches, he said. SpaceX’s entirely US-built Falcon rocket is working towards being certified for use to launch US national security satellites, as are the vehicles of Orbital Sciences Corporation, another company working in the field.
The general, nevertheless, stressed the importance of being fully competitive in space technology.
“The mainstay of space operations is assured access,” he said.
US vulnerability over the RD180 reflects the country’s decision on both cost and strategic grounds to rein in spending on rocket engine development after the end of the cold war and to embrace Russia’s space industry.
Russia continued to spend on the area and developed engines that required less fuel per pound of thrust than their US equivalents. Any new engine could come from plans that the National Aeronautic and Space Administration is already pursuing for new, manned space craft that will be able to carry astronauts ultimately to Mars.
Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2014. You may share using our article

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

New 'Interstellar' Book Will Go Behind the Scenes of Sci-Fi Film |

New 'Interstellar' Book Will Go Behind the Scenes of Sci-Fi Film |

'via Blog this'

Russia Moves To Oust US From International Space Station

Last updated: May 13, 2014 10:01 pm

Russia moves to oust US from International Space Station

International Space Station (ISS) is seen from NASA space shuttle Endeavour©Getty
Russia is to deny the US use of the International Space Station beyond 2020 and will bar export of critical rocket engines to the US, in a move that has highlighted American dependence on Russian space technology.
Dmitry Rogozin, Russia’s deputy prime minister, announced the measures in response to US sanctions against a series of Russian companies and officials over theUkraine crisis.




The twin moves against the space and satellite programmes represent one high-tech niche in which Moscow believes it has leverage over the US.
Mr Rogozin pointed out that, following the US’s retirement of its space shuttle fleet amid National Aeronautics and Space Administration cuts in 2011, the US was no longer able to send astronauts to the station on its own.
“The Russian segment of the ISS can exist independently from the US one, but the US segment cannot exist independently from the Russian one,” Mr Rogozin said.
The effective ban on exports of MK-33 and RD-180 rocket motors could be of greater significance to the US. The RD-180 powers the Atlas rocket used by the United Launch Alliance joint venture between Boeingand Lockheed Martin which puts the US’s most sensitive military satellites into orbit.
Mr Rogozin said the exports could continue if the US gave guarantees that the motors would not be used to launch military satellites. But, given ULA’s critical role in the US’s military satellite programme, such guarantees look unlikely.
“At the moment, US national security launches are heavily dependent on access to the Russian engine,” Loren Thompson, an analyst at the Virginia-based Lexington Institute, said.
As Moscow’s stand-off with Ukraine escalated in recent months into the worst falling-out with the west since the Cold War, both US and Russian diplomats had noted that the two powers continued to “do business” pragmatically in areas of global significance. “Space is obviously no longer part of that,” said one western diplomat.
Washington last month decided to revoke export licences for technology goods that can be used militarily by Russia and to refuse to extend new ones. Washington is also considering new restrictions on the export of high-tech equipment to develop Russia’s energy resources.
Moscow’s move against the ISS came in the form of a rejection of a US request to use the station beyond 2020. The ISS, jointly maintained by several countries, has been continuously manned by rotating missions for more than 13 years and is used for research, some of which is considered vital for further space exploration.
The move over the rocket motors comes after SpaceX, the space venture of Elon Musk, founder of Tesla Motors, asked a federal court to bar the ULA from buying RD-180 motors. SpaceX said the purchases breached US sanctions against Mr Rogozin, who is also head of Russia’s space programme. SpaceX, which already carries out some launches of less sensitive satellites for the US government, does not use Russian engines and would like to break into launching the most sensitive satellites.
ULA said neither it nor NPO Energomash, its Russian supplier, had been made aware of any restrictions. But, if reports of the move were accurate, they affirmed that SpaceX’s “irresponsible actions” had created “unnecessary distractions, threatened US military satellite operations, and undermined [the US’s] future relationship with the International Space Station”.
“We are hopeful that our two nations will engage in productive conversations over the coming months that will resolve the matter quickly,” ULA said.
ULA added that it could switch to a second vehicle – Boeing’s Delta rocket – which used US-built motors and could meet all its customers’ needs. It also had a two-year supply of RD-180 motors “to enable a smooth transition to our other rocket”.
Mr Thompson said the US military strongly favoured using ULA for its most sensitive launches because of its flawless record of putting satellites safely into orbit. Most other rocket systems continue to suffer regular launch failures that destroy vehicle payloads.
“The Ukraine crisis has made policy makers reflect on the wisdom of relying on Russia for any type of lift requirements, either manned or unmanned,” Mr Thompson said.
Three astronauts – one American, one Russian and one Japanese – were due to leave the ISS in the early evening on Tuesday US eastern time to return to earth. They were due to land near Dzhezkazgan in Kazakhstan. A further three astronauts – one American, one Russian and one German – are due to blast off for the space station from Kazakhstan on May 28.
The Russian segment of the ISS can exist independently from the US one, but the US segment cannot exist independently from the Russian one
- Dmitry Rogozin, Russia deputy prime minister
Assuming Russia does not reconsider, its decision on the ISS could strengthen China, which aims to have its own space station by 2020 and is currently excluded from the ISS – chiefly because of opposition from the US.
Mr Rogozin said Moscow would not impose sanctions of its own, and would not obstruct the work of US astronauts. However, he called the US an “unreliable” technology partner and said the government was therefore seeking to intensify work with other countries.
Roscosmos, the Russian space agency, is due to present new plans for space exploration to parliament. Mr Rogozin said it was looking to redirect funds from manned space flight to other, more promising areas and had been advised to seek co-operation with Asian countries.
Russia also threatened to switch off 11 GPS ground stations on its territory unless the US agrees to its request to establish a similar station for its own satellite position system Glonass in the US. The GPS ground stations would be suspended from June 1 and switched off on September 1 if a bilateral working group failed to reach consensus on the Glonass issue, Mr Rogozin said.
GPS, on which services such as navigation and mapping apps rely, would still work as its satellites continue to operate. But it would lose accuracy because the ground stations help correct the satellite data.
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  1. ReportSuny | May 14 12:12pm | Permalink
    Agree @Clearsight777
    Most European countries are far more 'freer', mature, and have some Class than the US.
    US's propaganda machinery has creatd this illusion that the US is the 'leader of the free world'.
  2. ReportSo Out of There! | May 14 12:09pm | Permalink

    My friend, I think you probably have better things to do than reply to the flack being directed at you by folks who clearly loathe your country. Why you should give a rodent's rectum if they do escapes me. My father taught me long ago.. "Never be seen wrestling with a pig. You'll just get dirty and the pig will enjoy it." :-)


    To remove the froth from your lips post-rant, withdraw your hanky from your pocket, bring it to your lips, and gently dab up the froth. (Gently! We don't want you to hurt yourself..) THERE! Now isn't that better. ;-)
  3. ReportClearsight777 | May 14 11:57am | Permalink

    Exactly who or what gave the USA the title of leader of the free world? The USA has always been and will always be the leader in its own corporate dominated interests only. It is not the leader of the free world nor is it the worlds policeman. Having lived for a long time in the USA I can truthfully state that the US population is constantly bombarded with TV, school, politicians making the statement it is the best and most free country in the world. Oh really! What about Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Holland. It is far far from being the best country in the world. Sickening hypocracy.
  4. ReportPod | May 14 11:55am | Permalink
    The USA can no longer operate in space without the help of Russia, five years after B. Hussein Obama changed the principal mission of NASA to "Muslim outreach".
  5. ReportSuny | May 14 11:54am | Permalink
    You should watch Wag the Dog, a 1997 movie with Great cast and a prophetic storyline.
  6. ReportL53 | May 14 11:28am | Permalink
    @nayob the use of Kremlin type labels in the propaganda is so RT. Reading the FT must be a painful exercise. Rest assured that with the present economic kleptocratic capitalistic system Russia will remain a laggard. A declining one.
  7. ReportL53 | May 14 11:22am | Permalink
    @Jeannick Your slightly out of full context comment ad hominem is so predictable in tune with the propaganda-like, and fully expected, comments here below.
  8. Reportnaoyb | May 14 10:57am | Permalink
    @Ealing | May 13 11:32pm
    @Harald Buchmann | May 14 10:14am .

    Your posts hit the nails on the head. We all know that Yats got to where he is due to US Neocons' machiavellian turns, starring State Dept. Asst. Victoria Nuland and US Ambassador to Kiev Pyatt, smoothed along by $5 billion of our tax dollars - if not more.

    Yats has turned out to be another bombastic John Kerry – does he now think that they’re of equal stature? The usurper “leading” Ukraine never fails to publicly upbraid Russia for the pickle that they’re in. What an egomaniac. Unelected Yats takes to calling Russian speaking Ukrainians “terrorists”, sicking jets, helicopters, tanks on them.

    The Maidan coup came about with armed protesters taking over government buildings as well.

    Meanwhile, with an educated citizenry, blessed with a wealth of resources, Russia will never be a laggard. I'll bet on that.
  9. ReportSianClaire | May 14 10:48am | Permalink
    Interesting (and somewhat predictable) development. Agree that whilst US and Russia tussle over the ISS, this leaves the door open for China to take the lead in the space race. When this happens, will it usher in a new era of the militarisation of space? Sometimes I feel as though science fiction is becoming reality!http://www.worldre...efaring-superpower
  10. ReportHarald Buchmann | May 14 10:14am | Permalink
    Smart move, Russia. American arrogance will be surprised to realize they can't do everything themselves.

    @Raps: how is one part of the world "Free"? Ever tried to get a visa for Europe if you are East Asian? Then you will realize how unfree the West is. Ever tried to post Al Qaida views online? Then you'll see how unfree Western internet is. It's all a matter of perspective, one is supporting one side, the other supporting the other. The West has killed more civilians in the 21st century than any other world region. Hope this will put you in perspective a little bit.
  11. ReportTaras | May 14 9:57am | Permalink
    Raps are you serious? the Free World of bombing(Iraq) and spying (Snowden)!
  12. ReportSuny | May 14 9:55am | Permalink
    In this day and age Sanctions are Medieval and the US is going about Sanctioning all and sundry like a Girl Scout leader.
    I agree with some below comments, US needs to grow up and have some 'mature' diplomacy.
  13. ReportRaps | May 14 9:22am | Permalink
    The United States of America should not depend on Russia for anything. US should increase pressure on Russia to due their aggressiveness over weaker countries like Ukraine & Georgia.

    If the Free World doesn't protect these countries now; when will they?

    I am not against Russia but bullying weaker countries because you can is unacceptable!

    The US, leader of the free world should lead. Now is the time!
  14. ReportSo Out of There! | May 14 9:14am | Permalink
    @ Kirkbride 2

    Still, for all its warts, Britain is a beautiful country with an absolutely gorgeous countryside - from Penzance to the Isle of Skye, and from New Quay to Grimsby - and absolutely lovely people. It was my home for 10 years, and I deeply miss my friends there and the beauty of the countryside (get out of the cities, find a place in the countryside, and enjoy the exceptional beauty of your country!). It hurt me to leave.. I just couldn't find a way to stay without being poor when I retired!

    @ the rest of the thread contributors...

    At any rate, no one needs to instruct me in my own country (America's) faults. I know them better than my foreign friends can, and most educated Americans do as well. We do have a capacity for self-reflection and self-criticism as a nation. When we act upon that, we improve our country and our people's well-being. It's worth noting, though I did not vote for him, only about 12% of our population is African American, and a man of colour has been elected TWICE to the highest office in the land.
  15. ReportJeannick | May 14 9:13am | Permalink
    @ L53
    uncle John has a mail man called Alfred that heard from Joe's niece Jeannick that the comment section in the FT sometimes late in the night is filled with incredible long stories about Britain supplied by someone that does no longer lives there and questions if is there a perfect country? "

    Jeezzz your weed is goooood !
  16. ReportBuddenbrook | May 14 8:47am | Permalink
    We could swap statistics all day long. Yes, the US does spend about $2000 per capita on "defense" and the UK roughly $1000.

    Also, according to the WHO the US spent more on health care per capita ($8,608) and as percentage of its GDP (17.2%), than any other nation in 2011.

    But, of 17 high-income countries studied by the National Institutes of Health in 2013, the US had the
    lowest life expectancy, but, the highest or near-highest prevalence of infant mortality, heart and lung disease, sexually transmitted infections, adolescent pregnancies, injuries, homicides, and disability.
    Probably not among those earning a "proper professional income" though.

    And don't forget nearly one in three African American males aged 20–29 are under some form of criminal justice supervision - in prison, on parole or on probation (source: NAACP).
  17. ReportRegula | May 14 8:41am | Permalink
    Russia hitting back: GPS soon not more precise than Glonass! So much for one American edge in technology. Ironically, the US denied Russia the right to have its ground station in the US on the basis that it would enable Russia to spy on the US. But at the same time, the US has its GPS grounds stations in Russia and doesn't think Russia should be worried about US spying. - Talking of unequal standards: the one area of US excellence.
  18. Reportandreiru-paid | May 14 8:37am | Permalink
    Surely the two countries will come to an agreement by 2020. But if not then if the US can fund its hyper active foreign activities so will it find funding for development of its own engines. No biggie. They claim to have landed a man on the moon after all and many times over at that. That cost an arm and a leg.
  19. ReportKirkbride 2 | May 14 8:30am | Permalink
    @so out of there

    I agree with your "rant"

    I have just come back ( what a mistake!) after 30 years out of the UK and everything you say about it is true.
  20. Reportjbx | May 14 8:28am | Permalink
    It would be interesting to have an article on whether the ISS is very significant or not in the current long term space strategies of western nations, mainly USA of course. It's become a common place to hear that manned space flight was actually about proving something to the Russians rather than anything much to do with science. Has the ISS made a lot of important scientific progress in a quiet way, and is it likely to continue so to do? (I have no idea).
  21. ReportDanTheRocketScientist | May 14 7:35am | Permalink
    The Space Shuttle may not have been the greatest, but retiring it without a follow-on was really dumb. I hope Musk and SpaceX can get the Dragon capsule man rated post haste!
  22. ReportSo Out of There! | May 14 6:53am | Permalink
    @ Alfred Nassim

    I'm privileged to have any number of British friends who I know also agree wholeheartedly with my "rant." I'm gratified that you enjoyed it.

    But I wonder if it's really fair to suggest the US is "making trouble between Europe and Russia"? The US is as often regaled, along with Russia, China and others, with quite florid EU rhetoric regarding Europe's "normative power" and civilizational expectations of others. The EU holds itself up as a model to others - Europe's moral giftedness is self-professed. Europe lectures the rest of the world endlessly on the importance of subjecting any and all disputes to international law (or probably preferably to the European Court of Justice and the EU's human rights tribunals in The Hague). How can Europe expect to have any credibility with anyone when repeated fundamental violations of public international law - namely the inviolability of territorial sovereignty of states - see a European response that is the rough equivalent of scratching themselves and passing gut wind? London alone could strangle Russian finance by halting underwriting of the bonds of Russian firms! But it would cost concerns in the City money... In the face of a flagrant violation of the territorial integrity of a European state Europe has to respond in a fashion that hurts the aggressor, else return to the 19th c with the understanding that European security is now an illusion.
  23. ReportEaling | May 14 6:53am | Permalink
    @So Out of There!

    "I found that listening to a British persons observations on anything American invariably put me in mind of the impressions of a dog that is watching television."

    @Joe Johnson

    "-One in four American believe that the sun revolves around the earth according to a recent American Science Foundation study.
    -57% of Republican don’t believe in evolution according to a Pew research poll."

  24. ReportE. Scrooge | May 14 6:44am | Permalink
    @Alfred Nassim, your analysis is very interesting, but you seem to forget some basic fundamentals. You seem to think that the Russian's are universally liked by their neighbors. Fact, very false assumption. Ask all the former Soviet Satellite nations. Maybe the outright rejection of being part of the Russian economic and political corruption by these nations hasn't crossed your radar yet? Why did they join NATO and the EU, and not Russia?
  25. ReportApt-get | May 14 6:32am | Permalink
    I wonder how many of Putin's inner circle bought stock in SpaceX and other companies that are set to benefit from these sanctions.....
  26. Reportreader | May 14 6:26am | Permalink
    The international space station was intended as a post cold war collaborative project between a newly liberated Russia and its former enemy the US, as a signal of their new friendship. This move shows that Russia is no longer a free country but has become the fiefdom of a man suffering from short man syndrome and a lack of foresight.
  27. ReportLeah Harvey | May 14 6:19am | Permalink
    How much money does this move save the US?
  28. ReportE. Scrooge | May 14 6:19am | Permalink
    Russia is basically a nation of raw materials to feed the Chinese and European manufacturing machines. And as Russian products are of low value added, except for the oil and natural gas percentage skim into the pockets of the Putinista's former KGB elitists, (now that's value added). The Russian economy will move back towards a higher and higher percentage of military spending. Its is quite possible the Chinese military buildup will bankrupt Russia a second time. Russia has very little hope of being able to keep up with their Chinese neighbors, and will likely have to come grovelling to the EU and to NATO to become part of a larger more diversified partnership to share the military costs down the road, or should military spending bankruptcy come first. Putin is thinking with his ego and with distorted historical stigmatism. Putin would do better to forget his deluded remake of the former Soviet Union or Russian empire, and join NATO. But, the crushing level of official corruption in Russia would make that almost impossible even if he wanted to join NATO.
  29. ReportMiPOV | May 14 6:13am | Permalink
    Obama must be the most brilliant president ever. Use the Ukraine issue to reboot the US space program.
  30. ReportRob Spanjaard | May 14 6:10am | Permalink
    Oh no, first Russia grabs Crimea and now the Space Station.
    Maybe world leaders should actually focus on some real issues like radical Islam.
  31. ReportAndao | May 14 5:45am | Permalink
    Well, Putin just doubled NASAs budget overnight. I don't see that as being enough to bleed America dry, so what is he getting at? Russia previously had uncontested dominance in space launches, and now that will change.

    I don't understand the seemingly widespread belief that China and Russia are natural buddies who will rule space together. They almost went to war in 1969...and this was when they were Communist allies! China has been reverse engineering Russian tech for years and will outclass them soon in their own technology. Russia ruining its relationship with Europe will only lead to greater dependence on China as a market for natural resources, with Russia eventually becoming a de-facto Chinese vassal.

    Except for perhaps US/Canada, countries with long land borders don't have a great history of getting along well. The winner here will be India, who will get cheap space launches from competing Russian and US interests.
  32. ReportAlfred Nassim | May 14 5:42am | Permalink
    "And then there's the story about mercenaries (US) in Ukraine. The source of the story is German"


    That is to be expected. Par for the course. They always go back to the same "Standard Operating Procedure". At one time, they only used it in Latin America. It has been so successful that they are now introducing it to Europe.

    The problem with using Western mercenaries in Ukraine is that these guys are doing it for the money - by definition. And in order to spend that money, you have to stay alive - obvious I would have thought. Now Ukraine is not the same as Congo, Colombia, Afghanistan, Iraq and many other "theatres".


    The Russian have thousands of people in Ukraine - including police and army - who are on their side. They speak the local language and know everyone going back 4 generations. On the other hand, everyone knows that the Americans are there for the short-term. Frankly, I cannot wait for some of these guys to be paid to flip or to get kidnapped so that we can hear their stories on Youtube. I would love to know who was shooting protesters and police in Maidan.

    The locals are being uncooperative, and democracy needs to be managed, if necessary with the help of mercenaries.

    @So Out of There!

    I agree with 100% of your rant. Bravo!

    I am sure you are one of those who think that the USA should look after its own people first. The best way to do so is by not trying to make trouble between Europe and Russia. The Russians want to do business with Europe and the vast majority of Europeans want to do likewise. There is no reason why the USA should want to sit on the valves sending gas to Europe through Ukraine.
  33. ReportL53 | May 14 5:36am | Permalink
    @johnsreid What a lovely link it is. Reads something like this: uncle John has a mail man called Alfred that heard from Joe's niece Jeannick that the comment section in the FT sometimes late in the night is filled with incredible long stories about Britain supplied by someone that does no longer lives there and questions if is there a perfect country?

    Meanwhile in space some poor astronauts are wondering if they will be home for Christmas 2020. They have been reassured that the deluded megalomaniac in the Kremlin will have been replaced by then and no worries!
  34. Reportjohnsreid | May 14 5:05am | Permalink
    And then there's the story about mercenaries (US) in Ukraine. The source of the story is German, and it involves intelligence leaks. More US ineptitude? http://abonnes.lem..._4414868_3214.html
  35. ReportSo Out of There! | May 14 5:04am | Permalink
    @Alfred Nassim & Joe Johnson et al

    There are few things more tedious than listening to (or reading) non-US nationals holding forth anything to do with the US. I spent 10 years living and working in Britain. I escaped last year to make and keep a proper professional income for a change and avoid the guaranteed old aged poverty that was coming my way when if I stayed. While I miss many dear friends there I enjoyed over the years, I found that listening to a British persons observations on anything American invariably put me in mind of the impressions of a dog that is watching television. The pooch surely sees colour and motion, but has not a chance of understanding what he is seeing.

    Britain has fallen so far so fast over the last century that it has developed an entire national discourse of impending American decline as a salve to national pride. It's obvious to any American that spends any time there, and it's frankly pitiable. Britain's national media (especially Auntie) clearly have a charter to make Britons feel good about being British - and routinely perform a hatchet job on anything American. Folks, I'm an economic refugee FROM your country. Do please work your own problems, not Americas problems - real or imagined.

    One in six British households has no person living within, aged 18 to 64, them that have EVER held a job. No one in the country except perhaps City of London bankers and NHS medical professionals is paid a proper professional wage. A pound sterling has no more purchasing power in Britain than a dollar does in the US and people are taxed 22% up to GBP37K or so and 40% on anything over. People must be punished for having the temerity to make a lower middle class income. Petrol was GBP1.4 per litre when I left. Council taxes on my rented house were GBP1700 per year. GBP450 a month to the National Insurance. The housing stock is among the oldest, smallest, most shabby in Europe and it costs 6 to 8 times the average annual wage. I'm kicking myself for not selling the cardboard box my refrigerator was packed in. I could have taken it to London and sold it for GBP50K easily. :-) Your idle classes are legion in number and your taxation of your otherwise hard working people is putative. You call this "fairness." As the generation with defined benefit pensions slowly become deceased, the next generation faces the spectre of mass old-age poverty.

    When you talk to Mr. Joe Permanently-idle-on-benefits and ask him why he doesn't get a job he say "I can't be bothered, mate." I'd hear this and think to myself, "You can't speak English either, son. To do so you'd have to occasionally close your mouth and form a consonant. The once proud British Navy has no aircraft carrier. You are relying upon a defence pact with France. The last war France won outright was the war of Spanish Succession. You trashed your formerly excellent system of polytechnics that once trained British youth in useful skills that commanded reasonably high wages into "universities" featuring degrees in "media studies"..

    Look, my British friends, you are perfectly lovely people, but you've been very badly governed for a very long time and if anyone has squandered the national wealth on destructive socialism it's Britain. You definitely have plenty of your own problems to adequately concern you. And since you increasingly cannot project force abroad, you have no real reason to much concern yourselves with "abroad".. You can tell yourselves whatever you like, but you can't fool those of us who have lived among you for a decade or more. My screen name here is not an accident... So what do you say? Instead of trying to irritate your American allies with ignorable sniping of dubious to no relevance to their lives, views or outlooks - why not roll up the sleeves and dig in to start fixing Britain. Stiff upper lip! Musn't grumble....
  36. Reportjohnsreid | May 14 5:02am | Permalink
    Readers might also be interested on a Nato view of what is happening in Ukraine.http://abonnes.lem..._4415125_3210.html
  37. Reportjohnsreid | May 14 4:51am | Permalink
    The US appears to have achieved little more with its sanctions than making a rod for its own back, but then we were warned about this some time ago. http://blogs.reute...nctions-dont-work/
  38. ReportYazid | May 14 4:34am | Permalink
    I don't like the idea that politics intervenes in space. But the Russian's intentions to isolate US in space is acute and over equal to US sanctions on Russia.
  39. ReportL53 | May 14 4:17am | Permalink
    @Joe Johnson A compare and contrast with the wonderful country under discussion, Russia would be most welcome. But no question, many of these favourable countries are located in the EU, no wonder that Ukraine and a few other would love to join, rather than that sinking economy, Russia.

    @Alfred Nassim You are right both the Americans and the Russians operate a capitalist system. The American system, and most of Western countries - including Japan - have an open system, including rule-of-law and freedom of speech - that allows for innovation to take place. The Russian capitalist system benefits 110 individuals and appeases nearly 50% of the population that are still bureaucrats. Do not expect much innovation in such system.
  40. ReportAlfred Nassim | May 14 3:58am | Permalink

    Thank you for the information. I know a bit about it as I have two nephews over there who went to places like Williams College, Amherst College, Chicago Law School and Harvard Business School. I know that well-off parents game the system to "fill in the boxes". Kids have to do "voluntary" work and similar pretend activities. May the greatest hypocrite win!

    I am just trying to point out how messed up the system over there is. They are profoundly ignorant about other cultures and think that is a badge of honour.

    The Russians are very different. They believe in reinforcing success and letting failure wilt. In the military, successful units get the reinforcements, for example. NATO does not take a Darwinian approach. The same applies in education. If you like, the Russians are the Capitalists and the Americans the Socialists. Forget about the rhetoric.

    "American Dependency: The Soup Line is Open"

  41. ReportSo Out of There! | May 14 3:49am | Permalink
    I can't imagine it will take much time for the US to dust off already developed rocket technology and pull together the requisite launch capacity. This is anomalous. Russia has some launch capacity as ICBMs required its development during the Cold War. Otherwise, a casual glance at Russia's export manifest illustrates that Russia is largely what it was when the Bolsheviks took charge - a potato and cabbage patch with oil and gas. Russia exports very little that doesn't bubble up from the ground or can be dug out of the ground. Putin is a 19th c knuckle walker. His "foreign policy" is the domestic equivalent of walking into someone's home, squatting and defecating on the living room rug. Time to strangle him financially. Just seize the financial flows windpipe with the US/EU dominated banking sectors and squeeze until he stops kicking, or until the mafiya he runs over there frags him...
  42. ReportAlfred Nassim | May 14 2:42am | Permalink
    @Joe Johnson

    The real scandal about US public schooling is not only poor educational outcomes, but their cost. It would amaze many British readers to learn that the cost of a day school in New York is half that of a boarding school like Eton, Harrow, Winchester or Stowe.

    "They Spend WHAT? The Real Cost of Public Schools"


    "The newspaper's sources claim the school teaches its kindergarteners in rat-infested trailers and has movies playing daily for all grades, while Sills (the principal) barely ever shows up"

    Personally, I think these schools are designed to teach kids _not_ to think for themselves. It is so much easier to control non-thinking people. The elites of America can always import smart people from India and China with the help of the H1B program.

    I guess they will now send out a RFP ("Request for Proposals") to the Chinese asking them how to replace these engines.
  43. ReportWild Cat | May 14 2:42am | Permalink
    Oh dear, has US finally woken up yet on other side of multipolar outer space?
  44. ReportNjegos | May 14 2:19am | Permalink

    Yes, the brain-damaged Bush seems to have plucked the expression from Mussolini. Fine ideological pedigree.
  45. ReportJoe Johnson | May 14 2:17am | Permalink
    The imprudent decisions of the American ruling elite over the past 20 + years have been undermining the Republic. When will Americans wake up from their mountebanks-induced stupor?

    - US sudents are14th in reading,17th in science and 25th in math among the developed countries.
    -The US is 34th in infant mortality and 24th in life expectancy among the developed countries
    - The US has the the highest health care costs among the developed countries.
    - The US has the highest rate of gun-related injuries among the developed countries.
    - The US has the highest rate of youth homicides and suicides among the developed countries.
    - The US is near the bottom in income equality among the developed countries.
    - The US is near the bottom near the bottom among the developed nation in quality of its infrastructure (D+ rating by American Society of Civil Engineers).
    -An American family at the 20th percentile of the income distribution makes significantly less money than a similar family in Canada, Sweden, Norway, Finland or the Netherlands.
    -One in four American believe that the sun revolves around the earth according  to a recent  American Science Foundation study.
    -57% of Republican don’t believe in evolution according to a Pew research poll.
    -Less than one-third of elementary and high school students showed proficiency in geography according the the US Education Department in 2011
    -Americans scored second to last on overall geographic knowledge, trailing Canada, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Japan and Sweden," according to a study by National Geographic.
    -A recent study from Princeton University argue that over the past few decades America's political system has slowly transformed from a democracy into an oligarchy, where wealthy elites wield most power.
  46. ReportL53 | May 14 1:45am | Permalink
    I am so fascinated by these comments. Especially reading about 'The Big Lie'. Who wouldn't be more qualified to know what a 'lie' is than the prominent members of the Kremlin's propaganda machine. Going from space technology to oil exploration and gas supplies, and other 'off-topic' issues, ideally completely unrelated. Nothing stands in the way to give the West a bit of a blast.

    Of course in the end it is 'The economy'... and that one is not heading for space in Russia. Already prior to the little czar's show of the magical 4 olympic rings and his land grabbing in Crimea the economy started looking more than a failed submarine. Let alone building that they cannot even build ships. The economic failure can be traced back to the Kremlin. The systems is build and set up to fail. More to come sooner than later.
  47. ReportAlfred Nassim | May 14 1:34am | Permalink
    "O con noi o contro di noi" - "you're either with us or against us"


    You are not poking fun at Bush, or were you?

    I can't help noticing here and elsewhere that the American public was not prepared for the fact that their space program - and military satellites - are largely dependent on Russian engines. The Big Lie is always so much more effective than lots of little ones.

    Another obvious one that is going to really hurt is when they find out that fracking does not replace the decline of conventional oil production. The fact that there is a humongous figure for "proven reserves" is almost irrelevant. What counts is "production". There is nothing that is going to begin to replace the declines on the horizon for places like Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Algeria and so on. What is the American public going to do when they can no longer motor to work?

    It is only by knowing the energy background to these conflicts that one can understand what is really going on. America is desperate to grab Russia's resources. They thought that Ukraine was the gateway.
  48. | May 14 1:34am | Permalink
    Many fail to see the grave ramifications of this situation. End of partnership with the USA, essentially means beginning of the partnership with China and India.
  49. ReportThoughtProvoker | May 14 1:32am | Permalink
    What a great example of politicians standing in the way of the progress and cooperation.

    Russians will now will forge close ties with Asia, a region that is much closer to it culturally and politically, and holds a much greater economic promise than the US can offer. The US should not be surprised, in the simplest terms, what goes around comes around.

    On the other hand, similarly to Russia's reaction to sanctions, including its re-focus on building out its domestic economy across the financial sector, manufacturing and science, US will find a way to build its own engines and whatever else might be required.

    So in itself, this exchange of sanctions means little in isolation. However, this is one of the symptoms of a much bigger problem. The US is failing to recognize that the sociopolitical and economic landscape of the world around it has evolved. The emergence of the economic and political powerhouses such as China and India, along with Brazil and Russia, calls for a different sort of political engagement on part of the US. To put it bluntly, the US' propensity to flex its muscle does it no favors in terms of dealing with those parts of the world which have now grown its own muscle. The US' habitually dictatorial approach is rapidly loosing its relevance and prompts a resistance which is bound to meaningfully backfire economically and politically over the next decade.

    Other things aside, the potential impact on the USD, particularly its weakening status as the reserve currency and as the 'medium of exchange' deserve some serious forward looking thinking. A number of countries are already transacting in their own currencies. Simply put, should this trend accelerate, the US stands to loose the phenomenal level of flexibility in its monetary policy which it has enjoyed thus far, which made the QE possible largely without hurting the currency. For a country with a high levels of external debt, and for the investors who hold Treasuries as part of their defensive strategies, this will have significant ramifications. This is the kind of thing the politicians need to be thinking about.
  50. ReportHarold Godwinson | May 14 1:32am | Permalink
    Anyone hear the echoes of a previous cold war coming through?

    Russia will lose this one as they lost the last, economically.

    This is a gift to Obama and NASA. Expect a variation on JFK's "man on the moon speech" after Sputnik was launched.

    "I therefore ask the Congress, above and beyond the increases I have earlier requested for space activities, to provide the funds which are needed to meet the following national goals:"

    Fill in the goals as your desires dictate.
  51. ReportJ_R | May 14 12:49am | Permalink
    This just demonstrates why sanctions are unworkable and dangerous.
  52. ReportNjegos | May 14 12:47am | Permalink

    You hit the nail on the head. The real problem is that we are so arrogant. We think we have all the answers so why even bother to put ourselves in someone else's shoes? The burden is always on the locals affected by our hare-brained interventions to understand us, not the other way around. The result is that we are totally uncomfortable with and even feel threatened by people who don't think like us. No wonder our outlook is converging with that of Mussolini "O con noi o contro di noi".

    I have commented on this elsewhere and I think it goes back to the American idea, a variation on an old colonial maxim, that inside every foreigner in an American trapped and screaming to be liberated. It was expressed in less vulgar fashion during the British Empire of course: the natives yearned to be proud and civilised British subjects.

    The problem is that our leaders just don't seem to learn from their mistakes. They consider themselves exempt from the hard lessons of history. Doesn't that mean our democracy has failed? I continue to expect the worst.
  53. ReportHammer and Pickle | May 14 12:19am | Permalink
    The Kremlin is clearly widening its front as the Russian Duma has declared the Ukraine a Humanitarian Disaster Area.
    Yes, on the subject of Space and the Cosmos, there is no real political opposition left in the Russian democratically elected legislative body.
  54. ReportConcerned 101 | May 14 12:13am | Permalink
    The new frontier is no longer space. Space has always been politicized from it's early beginnings. The new frontier should be biotechnology (new medicines) and clean energy. This would help industry and consumers, improve our health and environment, and even create good jobs. What a novel idea !

    Ohh, John Kennedy where are you ? We need your determination and vision that got us to the moon.
  55. Reporthookway | May 14 12:00am | Permalink
    This is obviously a full blown cold war, and way the USA and Europe are going they might well end up on the losing end of it, without leadership, moral grounds or international support - a couple of delusional has-been powers.
  56. ReportEinarBB | May 13 11:42pm | Permalink
    Dividend Hunter - - According to SpaceX, the first trial launch of the Falcon Heavy, will be in 2015. They estimate 117.000 lb to LEO and 46.700 lb to GTO. Sure Saturn V was even mightier, but this is nevertheless nothing to sniff at. Their share prices probably have risen already by millions. As this will somewhat knock down the number of parties competing in the sat launch business. And, SpaceX make their own engines, so they can solve that engine problem that's all of a sudden, cropped up. I think SpaceX, should send Putin a thank you letter.
  57. ReportEaling | May 13 11:32pm | Permalink
    It's really irrelevant, and I don't want this to be a distraction, but given all the comments from the pro-US/EU contributors in the past few weeks, about how sanctions would quickly bring Russia to its knees etc, this must come as something of a shock. Russia has always been portrayed as a failed state entirely reliant on natural resources and essentially backward in any economic and technological sense. Ooops.

    But I repeat, that's really not important. US commentators may be surprised, but this "revelation" doesn't matter in the least. The fact sensible people must address is that the US have supported the imposition of a seriously suspect regime in Kiev, which has proven itself vehemently and violently opposed to ethnic Russian elements in the east and south of the country, which is, of course, the probable reason for US support. But this Kiev attitude is why these areas are so scared of the "Yats" government, and have acted as they did. For those who still doubt, and, happily, there are few of you left outside the editorial board of the FT, try to put yourselves in the shoes of ethnic Russians after the pronouncements of the Kiev government when it took control.

    And then ask yourselves, after the approval by Kiev of bounty hunters to sort out pro Russian "subversives", whether you would take any course other than that adopted by the ethnic Russians or, indeed, the Russian speakers in the east. Even if you support an utterly anti Russian posture, you must be able to recognise why people in east Ukraine are terrified of Kiev. If you can't see that, then IMHO you can only be in total denial.
  58. Reportwar_man | May 13 11:13pm | Permalink
    We may not have a space program, but we have 50 million on food stamps!
  59. ReportADEQUATE THINKER | May 13 11:09pm | Permalink
    Kathrin is again actively denies truth - Russia does NOT to oust US from “International Space Station”. The reason why it is in brackets - US denies China access to space.

    There is plenty of opportunities, but there should be partnership. Russia bent backward to support US paranoia against China. Seemingly it is not enough....

    Russia has no choice but to try to find feet around. Earlier last year “The New York times reported” : “The United States has stations (GPS) around the world, but none in Russia.” :

    This is just simple misleading time after time, after time……
  60. ReportNjegos | May 13 11:06pm | Permalink
    Perhaps this signifies that Russia knows that they will be blamed for impeding the upcoming elections in the Ukraine so there is no point in waiting for the formal declaration from the US, ie. might as well get a good hard punch in.
  61. ReportNjegos | May 13 11:00pm | Permalink

    Russia will never join NATO. NATO is an American-run alliance of international scofflaws. What interest would Russia's have in ruining relationships with most of the Muslim world, NATO's favourite target?
  62. ReportProclone | May 13 10:56pm | Permalink
    Time for an article about what the ISS has been good for. The Space Shuttle was meant as a way to orbit for manned missions to Mars. When that fell through, the ISS became the justifying destination for the Shuttle. I'm well aware of discoveries from space telescopes and unmanned Mars rovers, but I can't think of any from the ISS. Please, someone at the FT should take this as an opportunity to examine the worthiness of the ISS
  63. Reportgmgartner | May 13 10:45pm | Permalink
    Let Russia join NATO! NATO already has members that hate each other, Greece and Turkey, and helped to pacify their relation. Russia joining NATO would just be on a bigger scale. (You have to conqueer other countries by other means than reckless force and confrontation.)
  64. ReportAlfred Nassim | May 13 10:45pm | Permalink
    The Russians understand full well that the USA is trying to separate Europe from Russia. The Americans made a grab for Kiev in order to be able - via their proxies - to control Europe's gas supply. They keep on saying that the Russians will cut off the gas or cut off the oil when everyone knows that the Russians - and the USSR before it - have always been very dependable suppliers. When the Germans invaded Russia in Operation Barbarossa, German tanks columns kept on encountering Russian trains bringing raw materials to Germany.

    The Junta in Kiev has not wasted any time appointing the son of the US vice president to an important role. How else can you explain that?

    "Hunter Biden, son of US VP Joe Biden, is joining the board of directors of Burisma Holdings, Ukraine’s largest private gas producer. "

    These sanctions by Russia are clearly intended to riposte the Americans without in any way harming the Europeans. Sadly, the people running the EU are in league with the Americans against their own citizens - for example, by blocking the construction of South Stream which bypasses Ukraine.

    I note that a lot of readers seem to think that NASA only has to flick a few switches and it would be the same organisation as that which sent men to the moon. That is history and was only achieved thanks to the large number of German scientists imported after WW2. Most engineering students in the USA are Asians. Smart American want to study finance or medicine - government sinecures.
  65. ReportDonWilliams | May 13 10:38pm | Permalink
    Hmmm. So how do US Astronauts Rick Mastracchio and Steve Swanson get home?

    The Russian Soyuz craft is both ISS lifeboat and the return craft.

    (A Chinese knockoff was used by Sandra Bullock to return home in the movie Gravity -- the Chinese appreciate good work. Even if all the electronics go out and ground comms is lost you can still use the periscope to align the craft correctly and fire rockets at the right time to land in one of several emergency
    areas. If need be you can even do a ballistic reentry. Lovely design)

    Maybe NASA can finally give MOOSE (Man Out of Space Easiest) a test drive. Invented here in Philadelphia by GE, we never could find someone crazy enough to try it:
  66. ReportChristopher Mahoney | May 13 10:12pm | Permalink
    Who was the NASA genius who decided that the Saturn-V was obsolete?
  67. ReportSAM714 | May 13 10:09pm | Permalink
    The backers of the F1B rocket engine should send the Russians a thank you note for putting paid to the Atlas V and Antares/Taurus II rockets as practicable alternatives to using the HLV with liquid-fueled F1B booster engines both to service the ISS and to boost heavy payloads to where-ever to do whatever.
  68. ReportL53 | May 13 9:56pm | Permalink
    @Dividend Hunter is not a question of what cannot be done, but the capacity to do it. Trust me it is just a matter of time and $.
  69. ReportDividend Hunter | May 13 9:48pm | Permalink
    @ War-Man
    @ Bob from North Carolina

    The decision to not develop a successor to the Space Shuttle was made before Obama took office. The cost of this bipartisan false economy is now evident.

    @atomi pommi
    @ Einar BB

    The private space industry here in the U.S. presently can launch a maximum payload of 1000 pounds. That is one-sixtieth (sixtieth, not sixteenth) of the launch capacity of the Apollo moon rocket of the late 1960s. If developing the latter sort of capacity is to be left to the private space industry, we may be waiting a very long time.
  70. ReportFarshore-Swimwell | May 13 9:41pm | Permalink
    Bob from North Caroline,
    You couldn't have missed the point more effectively had you assumed this page showed the TV schedules. The world requires co-operation. Superpowers require it more than most.
  71. ReportChinawatcher | May 13 9:39pm | Permalink
    The US has three shuttle programs running at a low level, that it will now surely escalate.

    The Sierra Nevada Corporation has a seven-seat, winged space vehicle. Although it resembles the old shuttles, it is much smaller. Elon Musks Space X and Boeing also have advanced designs.

    Cold war redux and the US will win - again.
  72. ReportFC leung Ki | May 13 9:32pm | Permalink
    It would be a shock to many readers of this column that the US has become lacking in space stationing and military satellite launching technologies. But this dependence would not last long.
  73. Reportkenezen | May 13 9:27pm | Permalink
    So President Obama has proven once again he can spend on trips for his wife and himself but, not for our astronauts. We beat up Russia forgetting we are obligated to use their rockets because our president was unintelligent and has no foresight to world safety in the next decade. He did not care about America's future just his own! He to be emperor with no clothes (Or brain!)
  74. ReportStanislaus | May 13 9:21pm | Permalink
    Russia's strong ties with the West (due to common Caucasian origin, European culture) have become a drag recently as the Western civilization is entering the stage of secular decline. These sanctions will prove to be a very welcome nudge for Russia to permanently re-focus on Asia. The Russia-China synergies are huge. Siberia will become the world's food basket and a much more livable place thanks to the global warming and Chinese invesment.
  75. ReportCathus | May 13 9:20pm | Permalink
    Russian Billionaires and American Billionaires will continue to send their kids to the same British boarding schools! You poor guys will defend the US and Russia while being looted!
    In any case, the US is without any shuttle or ship and Russia has this technology and capacity! Russia is not Saudi Arabia!
    George Bush is an example of machismo and so Goldman Sachs is an example of corruption
  76. ReportSparky1 | May 13 8:54pm | Permalink
    Self serving comments galore here. US is a paper tiger, and cannot get into space anyway, now that the shuttle is stuffed. Russia could turn the gas off, but lets try to bully them?
  77. ReportCasual_Observer | May 13 8:54pm | Permalink
    Good riddance. The US could use the economic stimulus of restoring jobs to the aeronautical industry. There is no point in sharing technological expertise if it's just going to be used against us. Let's see if American industry and citizens care more about corporate profits and not paying taxes to invest in their own country. They may not care more than their own pocketbooks.
  78. ReportSwift_Zeus | May 13 8:22pm | Permalink
    Good - stimulus for the US space programme. No country tries harder than Russia (except maybe North Korea) to alienate itself from the international community, and once again they have come out with a blinder.
  79. ReportL53 | May 13 8:20pm | Permalink
    Everybody knows that the space station is becoming increasing obsolete anyway. There goes another piece of potential future revenue for the Kremlin. For those still wondering if Russia is unaffected by sanctions... Russia is slipping bit by bit further down the slippery slope of a failed economy.

    Just wondering how a country that cannot even build his own war ships is going to build itself a future in space?
  80. ReportAtomi Pommi | May 13 8:11pm | Permalink