Russia refuses to join NASA’s Artemis lunar program for China

NASA Administrator Jim BridenstineJames (Jim) Frederick BridenstineHouse’s appropriators cut NASA’s moon landing funds; Will the Senate do better? NASA names DC headquarters after the agency’s first black engineer Mary W. Jackson. He is tirelessly forming an international coalition to support Artemis’s return to the moon program. Recently, Bridenstine signed a Joint Exploration Statement of Intent (JEDI) with Japan on Artemis as well as the International Space Station (ISS). Other countries that are courted as part of the Artemis Coalition include Canada, the member states of the European Union, Great Britain, Israel, India and Australia.

Russia, being a primary partner with the United States on the ISS, would come naturally to Artemis. However, it seems that Russia, in an apparent sting attack, has decided to include itself by the effort to return to the moon. According to Ars TechnicaRussian space chief Dmitry Rogozin was quite caustic about the idea of ​​Russia joining the Artemis Coalition, describing the United States’ mission to return to the moon as a “political project,” and one that resembles NATO. .

Rogozin would prefer that Russia join China as a space partner. For a variety of reasons, the move would seem crazy from the point of view of Russia’s national interests.

When president Bill clintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson Clinton Bill and Hillary Clinton on the death of John Lewis: “We have lost a giant” Made in America “will not be as simple as Larry Hogan’s hopes sound MORE brought Russia as a full partner in the ISS, saved the project from cancellation. Democrats in Congress, who had been relentlessly trying to phase out the space station, suddenly understood that it had both a geopolitical and an economic and scientific purpose. As a result, the ISS is orbiting Earth now, producing technology and science. discoveries It serves as an example of what international cooperation can do in space.

In fact, by providing American astronaut trips on the Soyuz, after the end of the space shuttle program, Russia can be said to have saved the ISS twice. Both Russia and NASA have benefited from the ISS alliance.

Ironically, by rejecting a role in Artemis and launching into China, Russia may have saved the return to the moon program just as it did with the ISS. The reason has a lot to do with a peculiar aspect of American domestic politics.

Republicans in Congress have proclaimed that the Democratic stinginess regarding Artemis, most recently seen in a House funding bill that cut The administration’s request serves China’s space interests. They have pointed out that China’s drive to become the only superpower on Earth has a spatial component. Search to dominate space and its resources at the expense of the rest of the world. So far, those Republican warnings have fallen on deaf Democrats.

Now that a Sino-Russian spatial axis may be forming, the dynamics can change. By ignoring China, Democrats have seen the Russian threat not as much as President Reagan in the 1980s as Joe McCarthy in the 1950s. In fact, Democrats have spent the entire Trump presidency advancing the theory of the conspiracy that the president Donald TrumpDonald John Trump, Pelosi and Blumenaur condemn Trump’s “heinous abuses of power” against Oregon protesters. Federal agents deployed in Portland had no riot control training: NYT Trump administration sought to block funding for CDC, contact tracing, and testing on new relief law: MORE report is the russian president Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinHillicon Valley: Russian hackers are back in the spotlight with a vaccine investigation attack | Twitter says 130 accounts targeted in this week’s cyber attack | Four fired, dozens suspended in CBP investigation of racist and sexist Facebook groups Graham publishes recently declassified documents on Russia’s investigation that Russian hackers are once again in the spotlight with a vaccine research attack MORE‘s Manchuria candidate.

It’s silly, but Democrats seriously believe it. However, because they think Russia is an existential threat to the United States almost 30 years after losing the Cold War, they must view with alarm the new Sino-Russian space axis and the prospect of Space Race 2.0. In fact, any move to deprive Artemis of funds could be seen as Russian collusion.

We’re kidding, more or less, but the fact is, Rogozin is making a serious mistake in launching NASA in favor of the Chinese. With the arrival of the commercial crew, Russia has lost a lucrative revenue stream that you enjoyed providing travel to and from the ISS.

If the Russians think they are going to get the respect of China, they better think again. Xin Jinping has a deep contempt for anyone other than Han Chinese. If Rogozin doubts this, he should ask the Uighurs. NASA, on the other hand, has always expressed appreciation for Russia’s contributions, even when Rogozin made jokes about Americans coming to the ISS with a trampoline.

Meanwhile, taking the rest of the world to the moon, NASA will reap a great deal of soft political power and it will help the United States maintain its status as a global superpower. Russia can be part of that effort and reap the benefits, but only if it realizes where its best interests lie.

Mark Whittington, who writes frequently about space and politics, has published a political study on space exploration titled Why is it so difficult to return to the moon? as much as The moon, Mars and beyond. He blogs at Curmudgeons Corner. It is published in the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, The Hill, USA Today, the LA Times, and the Washington Post, among other places.