The Soyuz Launch: Will This Be the Only Way to Reach the ISS in 2010?

Posted by Michael Pinto on Oct 1, 2009 in Science |

What shown above is both wonderful and terrifying if you’re a fan of NASA. On one hand any successful launch of a spacecraft is a good thing — and in this case the September 30th launch of the Soyuz Expedition 21 is a vital link to the International Space Station. On the other hand with the upcoming retirement of the Space Shuttle fleet this might be the only way for Americans to get into orbit. In a sense we’re lucky that Russia still has a decently funded space program, but on the other hand not having a backup plan is always a bad idea.

It's time to stop clowning around about NASA

It's time to stop clowning around about NASA

Right now the Shuttle is planned to be retired in 2010, which is just a few months away. While relations between Russia and the United States have improved a great deal with the start of the Obama administration with international politics things can change rather quickly. Granted that we live in a different world than during the Cold War era, but the fast breaking war between Russia and Georgia which was just last year is a reminder that things can change rather quickly.

Between the economy and two wars it’s more than understandable that the government isn’t focused on NASA. However what kills me is that every day I see my fellow fanboys (and fangurls) spend money on science fiction goodies — would it kill us to give just a little bit of cash and time to lobby congress and the White House for what’s in our interests?

This Soyuz included space tourist Guy Laliberté taking a trip to the ISS; frankly if there are millionaires willing to invest in the vacation of a lifetime why can’t we convince the very same class that they should get political about getting NASA the funding that it needs?

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