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In a vague announcement with unclear ramifications, a NASA memo today suspended “all contact with Russian government officials,” though it exempted all activities in connection with ISS.
Given Russia’s ongoing violation of Ukraine¹s sovereignty and territorial integrity, until further notice, the U.S. Government has determined that all NASA contacts with Russian Government representatives are suspended, unless the activity has been specifically excepted. This suspension includes NASA travel to Russia and visits by Russian Government representatives to NASA facilities, bilateral meetings, email, and teleconferences or videoconferences. At the present time, only operational International Space Station activities have been excepted. In addition, multilateral meetings held outside of Russia that may include Russian participation are not precluded under the present guidance.
It appears they are suspending all NASA activities with Russia except ISS, which means that the most important and the bulk of the cooperative work will continue. However, it does mean that the Obama administration has decided to politicize NASA’s operations with Russia in a way that has not been done since the fall of the Soviet Union.
I will be doing a segment on John Batchelor tonight on this developing story.