PICTURED: NASA Administrator Bill Nelson.
In a hostile interview with Der Spiegel, NASA Administrator Bill Nelson stood his ground in the belief that cooperation with Russia must continue for the advance of human progress into the stars, as the journalist challenged his “440 mile high” view of continued co-working/habitation on board the International Space Station.
“There is a space station up there in space that is jointly operated by Russians and Americans,” said Nelson. “and that will continue in a peaceful and professional way”.
When asked if space can divorce itself from politics down below, Nelson responded that “yes it can, and it does”.
“Look at history,” he argued. “In the midst of the Cold War, when the Soviet Union and the United States were mortal enemies and their nuclear weapons could be used at any time, a U.S. and a Soviet spacecraft met in space in 1975. Peaceful cooperation continued even after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Our space shuttle docked with the Russian space station Mir”.
“And then we decided to build the International Space Station together. Both countries are needed for operations, the Russians for propulsion, the Americans for power. We will continue to have a very professional relationship between cosmonauts and astronauts to keep this station alive”.
The International Space Station is currently expected to continue orbiting until 2030, when it may just fall down into the ocean. Between that and the present day, much more needs to be done to keep the ISS running smoothly, and soon a Russian astronaut will ride aboard a SpaceX Dragon capsule to the ISS, at the same time an American rides aboard a Russian-made Soyuz spacecraft.
There have been comments by Nelson’s opposite number in Russia about the end of participation in the ISS program, but Nelson pointed out that many short and long-term plans by Roscosmos, the Russian space agency, are still progressing on schedule.