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    US-Russia Space Cooperation to Go On Despite Soyuz Launch Mishap – Prof

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    According to NASA Administrator, Jim Bridenstine, the launch of manned Soyuz spacecraft will resume on schedule. The statement comes after last week’s Soyuz spacecraft launch failure. Radio Sputnik has discussed the prospects for Russia-US space cooperation with Professor Steven Freeland, Dean of the School of Law at Western Sydney University.

    Sputnik: What can you say about the US-Russia cooperation against the background of recent Soyuz launch failure and tensions between the nations in general?

    Steven Freeland: Your listeners would be aware that the US and the former Soviet Union and now the Russian Federation have cooperated for many, many decades in space activities of a scientific and exploratory nature, even during the height of the deep geopolitical tensions of the time. That has continued notwithstanding the relationship that, perhaps, might have been a bit tense terrestrially. This space cooperation continues to this day, and I don’t see this mishap in any way shape or form negatively impacting upon future cooperation. Obviously, both countries will ensure that technically the safety of the astronauts and cosmonauts involved and the safety of this mission will be maintained to the utmost rigor. I certainly envisage that this cooperation will continue notwithstanding, as you say, the fact that the relationship, generally, between the two countries is probably not at its highest.

    READ MORE: Roscosmos Plans to Restart Soyuz Launches From Nov. 28 to Dec. 3 — Reports

    Sputnik: Jim Bridenstine called for separating politics from space cooperation; do you think that is possible going forward and in keeping with all the national security concerns that we have arising from space programs?

    Steven Freeland: I think it’s a laudable call and space is so important for so many countries, in fact it’s really important to every country; and the major world countries are so heavily dependent upon their space capability and ability to access the data from their space efforts. Of course, politics, national security interests and strategic elements must play a part. It’s impossible in one sense to divorce politics and strategy from space; but on the other hand, notwithstanding politics, which is essentially politics on Earth, and notwithstanding difficult periods of relationships the cooperation in space, however, is continued, and it’s continued for the benefit of, in this case, both countries, the Russian Federation and the US, but also for a whole range of other countries as well.

    Everybody recognizes that when it comes to space, in the end all players essentially have to play by accepted norms and rules because in the end if that isn’t the case, then everybody is vulnerable and everybody suffers because everybody is dependent on space activities to a significant degree. I think, in the end, notwithstanding the rhetoric and some difficult periods in relationships between the countries, there has to be a realization that space is, in a sense, different; it is unique and the most powerful in space have the most to lose if people start to act irresponsibly in space. If (3:43)  self-interest too, they can ratchet up rhetoric and they can give the impression that they’re strong and they might be strong; but it’s in everybody’s interest not to cross certain lines in terms of the way they act. 

    The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.




    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

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