Will Russia Require NASA to Acknowledge Crimea Capture?

Long time Russian space observer James Oberg has penned a very interesting article at NBCnews.com which suggests that Russia is subtly attempting to get the U.S. government to acknowledge its absorption of the Crimea by shifting some mandatory cosmonaut training to that region.

From the article:

“Shifting the survival training to Russian-occupied Crimea will require foreign cosmonauts to accept travel there without Ukrainian visas, an explicit acquiescence to the new diplomatic status of the province. Refusal to attend survival training is equivalent to failing the training, which by existing training regulations is an automatic disqualification for flight certification. No Crimea trip, no space trip.”

It goes on to point out that not only will U.S. astronauts be drug into the issue, it will effectively snare European and Japanese astronauts bound for ISS, and even singer Sarah Brightman who is expected to begin training in January 2015 for her own trip to ISS.

One aspect which Oberg does not point out is that if the “Crimea Catch-22” becomes a real issue, it could change NASA;s own plans to continue with mixed flights, Russian and American/partner astronaut, aboard crew vehicles from both nations, even after the resumption of a domestic crew launch capability in 2017.

If Oberg is correct about both Russia’s action, its motivation, and the consequences, what does that say about other levers Vladimir Putin may be willing to take in the future where ISS is concerned?


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