Russia Direct: Ukraine crisis may spur a new space race between Russia and the U.S.

A new Monthly report released by Russia Direct in May warns Russia and the United States against sliding into another space race over the Ukrainian crisis.

The Ukrainian crisis and the resulting economic sanctions might spur a new space race between Russia and the U.S., putting an end to the post-Cold War collaboration between the countries, according to a new Monthly report released by Russia Direct on May 5.

“Ever since the Cold War era, relations between Russia and the United States in the space exploration sector have repeatedly experienced ups and downs,” wrote the author of this memo, Sergey Oznobishchev of the Institute for World Economy and International Relations (IMEMO).

The author of the report reviews seven key areas of U.S.-Russia space cooperation including collaboration on the International Space Station (ISS), the mutual provision of technical services in space activity (e.g. the launch of U.S. spacecraft using Russian rockets), usage of U.S. instruments for Russian satellites, deliveries of Russian liquid rocket propulsion systems for U.S. launch vehicles, and U.S.-Russia public-private collaboration.

“The lesson is clear for both Russian and U.S. policymakers: Failure to preserve and extend current areas of cooperation in space exploration would have a significantly negative impact for both sides,” he writes. “In a worst-case scenario, it could lead to a renewal of the Cold War space race, filled with duplicative space projects from both nations, all of which require enormous outlays that could have been reduced through wider cooperation.

Oznobishchev pins hopes on future cooperation on the International Space Station and sees it as “the cornerstone” of such cooperation.

Where else can Russia and the U.S. cooperate in space exploration? Can their collaboration in space mitigate the mutual tensions and distrust? Subscribe and download the full version of the report to find out.

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