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FW: Learn More About Soyuz & Progress

Submitted by Arthur - N1ORC

Soyuz Launch April 25th,2003


The exact impact of the Columbia tragedy on the station program is yet
to be determined; however, every possible recovery plan would require
Russia to play an active role in the project in the foreseeable future.

In the wake of the Columbia accident, the Shuttle fleet could be
grounded from several months to several years, in which case the Russian
Soyuz spacecraft would be used either to return the current crew of the
International Space Station to Earth, or to replace it with a fresh
shift of astronauts and cosmonauts. In addition, the Russian Progress
cargo ships might play an increased role in delivering supplies to the

During a pressconference on February 1, NASA officials said that the
station crew had enough supplies onboard until June 2003. According to
top Russian space officials, the station has capability to fly unmanned
for prolonged periods of time.

Until recently, a number of US officials and "analysts" of all sorts
criticized NASA for letting Russia into "the critical path" in the ISS
project. The Columbia tragedy underscores how shortsighted this
criticism has been, as the Russian participation becomes the only
factor, which can now prevent the station from plunging back to Earth.
Moreover, the international nature of the ISS program is likely to be a
major driving force behind the effort to resume Shuttle missions.

Anatoly Zak

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