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Tuesday, May 01, 2007

RUSSIA: "Do ya wanna go to the moon, America?" U.S.: "No, thanks."

Russia sells weapons to Venezuela and Iran, gives money to Hezbollah and Hamas, kicks American firms out of the energy sector and spews out anti-U.S. rhetoric daily. Yet, it is "shocked, shocked" when not invited to America's parties. The Associated Press reports:

The chief of Russia's space agency said that the United States has rejected a proposal by Moscow to explore the moon jointly, a Russian news agency reported. NASA announced in December that it would establish an international base camp on one of the moon's poles, permanently staffing it by 2024. Officials with Russia's Federal Space Agency, Roscosmos, later said they had hoped to join NASA's program with Russian technology and experience. But Roscosmos chief Anatoly Perminov was quoted by the Interfax news agency Sunday as saying that the United States had rebuffed the offer. "We are ready to cooperate but for some reasons the United States has announced that it will carry out the program itself," he was quoted as saying. "Strange as it is, the United States is short of experts to implement the program," Interfax quoted him as saying. [LR: Apparently not THAT short] There was no immediate comment by NASA to the report. Perminov also said Russia had signed a $1 billion contract with NASA for Russian cargo ships to deliver goods to the international space station over the next three years — an indication he said of the competitiveness of Russia's space services. "If we had been uncompetitive, such contracts would not be signed," Perminov was quoted as saying. Russian space craft have been the workhorses of the international space station program, regularly shuttling cargo and people to the orbiting station — in particular after the U.S. space shuttle fleet was grounded following the Columbia disaster in 2003. NASA will end the shuttle program in 2010 with plans to return to the moon in a new vehicle.

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