It is a good thing that President Donald Trump nurtured the public-private collaboration on space ventures, which gives our country options.
The international divorce between Russia and the West is getting more hostile each day.
Coca-Cola, Starbucks, and McDonalds officially removed themselves from the Russian market.
And while Russians may miss Happy Meals and lattes, US and European space projects may be taking a hit soon.
…[T]he Russians have terminated commercial Soyuz launch operations at the European Space Agency’s launch site in Kourou, French Guiana, and cut-off sales and support for Russian rocket engines used in U.S. rockets.
“In a situation like this we can’t supply the United States with our world’s best rocket engines,” Reuters quoted Dmitri Rogozin, head of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, as saying. “Let them fly on something else, their broomsticks, I don’t know what.”
SpaceX founder Elon Musk posted that quote on Twitter under the title “American Broomstick,” reminding Rogozin that SpaceX has the capability to launch equipment and astronauts to the station from U.S. soil aboard American rockets.
However, this dance goes both ways. OneWeb, a British satellite maker, canceled launches reliant on Russia.
OneWeb, a satellite internet company partly owned by the British government, has canceled an upcoming satellite launch using a Russian rocket and suspended all future launches that relied on Russia, the company announced on Thursday after a tense public standoff with Roscosmos, Russia’s space agency.
Also on Thursday, Roscosmos announced it would stop selling rocket engines to American companies.
The moves, both fallout from Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, stand to further isolate the Russian space agency from its Western space partners, and limit Russia’s private space activities dramatically. OneWeb’s loss of a reliable rocket provider for launches also poses novel challenges for the company as it had aimed to complete its constellation of 648 satellites in orbit later this year.
OneWeb was rescued from bankruptcy in 2020 by the British government and other investors. It was scheduled to launch 36 satellites aboard a Russian Soyuz rocket from Kazakhstan on Friday. The company has sent roughly 400 satellites to orbit since 2019, every time using Soyuz, a workhorse rocket that’s been active since the days of the Cold War space race.
In the near-term, the impacts will be minor. US-based United Launch Alliance’s (ULA) has already taken possession of a current order of rockets as well as using Blue Origin systems.
ULA, a private space transport company, is in the process of abandoning its line of Atlas rockets in favor of a new line of rockets, called Vulcan, that will use engines made by Jeff Bezos’ US-based rocket company Blue Origin. It’s not clear when that rocket will be ready to fly.
It is a good thing that President Donald Trump nurtured the public-private collaboration on space ventures, which gives our country options such as SpaceX. and Blue Origin.DONATE
Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.