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“What happens if Russia refuses to fly U.S. astronauts?”

“What happens if Russia refuses to fly U.S. astronauts?”

The problem: the situation in the Ukraine. If tension between the U.S. and Russia worsens then Russia might suspend carrying American astronauts to and from ISS.

The fault here belongs with Congress and George Bush, who decided in the 2000s to let the shuttle retire before its replacement was ready. In addition we can blame Congress in the 2010s for forcing NASA to spend billions on the unaffordable Space Launch System rather than focus on getting humans into space cheaply and quickly.

Conscious Choice cover

Now available in hardback and paperback as well as ebook!


From the press release: In this ground-breaking new history of early America, historian Robert Zimmerman not only exposes the lie behind The New York Times 1619 Project that falsely claims slavery is central to the history of the United States, he also provides profound lessons about the nature of human societies, lessons important for Americans today as well as for all future settlers on Mars and elsewhere in space.

Conscious Choice: The origins of slavery in America and why it matters today and for our future in outer space, is a riveting page-turning story that documents how slavery slowly became pervasive in the southern British colonies of North America, colonies founded by a people and culture that not only did not allow slavery but in every way were hostile to the practice.  
Conscious Choice does more however. In telling the tragic history of the Virginia colony and the rise of slavery there, Zimmerman lays out the proper path for creating healthy societies in places like the Moon and Mars.


“Zimmerman’s ground-breaking history provides every future generation the basic framework for establishing new societies on other worlds. We would be wise to heed what he says.” —Robert Zubrin, founder of founder of the Mars Society.


All editions are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all book vendors, with the ebook priced at $5.99 before discount. The ebook can also be purchased direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit, in which case you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.


Autographed printed copies are also available at discount directly from me (hardback $24.95; paperback $14.95; Shipping cost for either: $5.00). Just email me at zimmerman @ nasw dot org.


  • Pzatchok

    First Russia looses a huge amount of cash from NASA.

    So much so that they might just not be able to launch as many flights of their own.

    And as for launching our own people.

    Nasa is the one slowing down the development of a crew capsule.
    By making more demands on the manufacturer than they had when they first launched astronauts.
    Escape rockets? Seriously? If the dang thing blows up and the capsule survives then just have an automatic parachute deployment system. If it doesn’t survive then why have them at all?
    Its about as probable for use as the escape system for exiting the space shuttle by individual parachute.
    We do not have escape systems in 747’s so why in this?

    As for crew accommodations, why does it have to be any more than what we had for Gemini?
    Basically little more than air to breath and seats that fit a space suited passenger.
    They only need to be in it for at MOST 12 hours.

    The Russians are already using a what, a 6 hour ground to station trajectory now? Can’t we do the same?

    If they really wanted to they could convert a cargo module to carry two guys inside a few months. The cargo module has already proven itself capable of returning safely. The biggest hurdle in the past.

  • mike shupp

    JSC serves as ground control for ISS, communicating with the crew, monitoring telemetry, simulating procedures before the astronauts start EVAs, etc. So if the Russians refused to haul up US astronauts, the tit-for-tat response would be for JSC to go on strike, and let the Russians try to run ISS on their own. Which probably wouldn’t appeal.

    So the bottom line is that space operations aren’t going to be immediately influenced by events in the Ukraine. Maybe folks in the DoD will tinker with ITAR requirements a bit, maybe Charles Bolden decides not to talk too much about going to Mars with the Russians as partners, but thise are matters for the future, not today. Which probably is as things should be — there are some continuities in behavior which have to be expected. No one expects that western airliners will be refused permission to land at the Moscow airport, for example,. and no one on the internet expects to find all the Russian websites off limits, and so on. It’s a very interconnected world, after all. Baring full-scale war, there will always be vestiges of peace, which hopefully will expand and assume increased prominence as tempers die down.

    So sanity would have it. Of course, Norman Angell rather famously said something like this in a best selling book just about a century ago and we all know how that turned out ….

  • Robert Clark

    Maybe NOW Congress will get some sense and finally fund commercial crew to the levels needed to get astronauts to space on our own vehicles, years after everybody else realized it.

    Bob Clark

  • Edward

    “We do not have escape systems in 747′s so why in this?”

    It is rare that 747s blow up, but rockets blow up more frequently, despite the significantly lower rocket launch rate.

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