Ledyard King and James Dean USA TODAY Published 11:00 p.m. UTC Aug 27, 2018 WASHINGTON - NASA Administrator James Bridenstine is all but guaranteeing his agency will soon be back in the business of carrying humans into low-Earth orbit in 2019. "Without question, by the middle of next year, we'll be flying American astronauts on American rockets from American soil," he told USA TODAY in an exclusive interview at NASA headquarters. "We're so close." The pronouncement indicates the confidence the agency has in the two aerospace companies – SpaceX and Boeing – contracted under its Commercial Crew program to ferry astronauts to the International Space Station. The last space shuttle – Atlantis – carried a crew to the orbiting lab in 2011. Since then, NASA has been hitching rides on Russia's Soyuz rockets. The cost to U.S. taxpayers is $82 million a seat. Washington's reliance on Moscow for rides to the space station the … [Read more...] about NASA chief: ‘Without question,’ U.S. rockets will launch astronauts from U.S. soil next year
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WASHINGTON – Pointing to growing threats and competition from Russia and China, the White House on Thursday announced ambitious plans to create the U.S. Space Force as a sixth, separate military warfighting service by 2020. The proposal taps into the American public’s long fascination with space – but with a military focus. The plan faces daunting hurdles and requires congressional approval. Military leaders and experts have questioned the wisdom of launching an expensive, bureaucratic new service branch. Vice President Mike Pence announced the new force during a Pentagon speech, fleshing out an idea that President Donald Trump has extolled in recent months as he vowed to ensure American dominance in space. Pence described space as a domain that was once peaceful and uncontested but has now become crowded and adversarial. “Now the time has come to write the next great chapter in the history of our armed forces, to prepare for the next battlefield where … [Read more...] about Pence outlines U.S. Space Force plan for ‘next battlefield’
The U.S. announced new sanctions on Russia Wednesday, saying it’s made a final determination that Vladimir Putin’s government was responsible for the March 4 nerve-agent attack on former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter in the U.K.The State Department said in a statement that under the 1991 Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination Act, Russia was found to have “used chemical or biological weapons in violation of international law or had used lethal chemical or biological weapons against its own nationals.”The sanctions added to pressure on the ruble that began earlier in the day, when Russian media published the full text of a separate U.S. bill seeking “crushing sanctions” for election meddling. The currency sank toward its weakest close since November 2016.The State Department said the sanctions tied to the use of chemical weapons are expected to take effect around August 22.The new penalties will limit exports to … [Read more...] about U.S. Sanctions Russia Over Nerve-Agent Attack on Ex-Spy in U.K.
Russia has signed a deal to sell previously banned space rocket engines to the United States at a time of heightened tensions between the two countries.U.S. lawmakers banned the use of the Russian engines for military and spy satellite launches after Moscow annexed the Crimean peninsula in 2014. The ban was partially lifted due to the United Launch Alliance (ULA) space contractor's reliance on the Russian-built engine for lifting its rockets into space. “We signed a contract where we will supply six more RD-180 engines to our partners in 2020,” the head of Russia’s Energomash enginemaker, Igor Arbuzov, told the state-run RIA Novosti news agency on Tuesday.Following a NASA and Air Force quality compliance audit in 2017, Arbuzov said ULA planned to test-launch its Atlas V rocket equipped with the Russian engine this November, with manned flights scheduled for February 2019.The Kommersant business daily reported in 2017 that ULA and Energomash had been engaged in … [Read more...] about U.S. Space Contractor Signs Deal to Continue Buying Russian Rocket Engines
U.S. President Donald Trump has vowed to maintain U.S. dominance in space as China, Russia, and other countries make advances in the race to explore the Moon, Mars, and other planets. "America will always be the first in space," Trump said in a speech at the White House on June 18, accompanied by Vice President Mike Pence and the National Space Council advisory body he created last year. "My administration is reclaiming America's heritage as the world's greatest space-faring nation," Trump said. "We don't want China and Russia and other countries leading us. We've always led." While the United States has dominated in space since the 1969 moon landing, China recently has made significant advances, while Russia -- which at the beginning of the space age in the 1950s had the world's most advanced space progam -- recently has mostly stagnated amid budget cutbacks. Trump said he wants to stay ahead of strategic competitors like China and Russia, but he said he wants to nurture the space … [Read more...] about Trump Vows To Keep U.S. Ahead Of China, Russia On Space Endeavors