Space Continues To Be A Front In U.S.-Russian Tensions

First it was suspension of space cooperation between the U.S. and Russia  (the International Space Station is an exception, at least according to NASA).  Now the tension between the U.S. and Russia hits another part of space activity – but one that has definitive impact on the ground.

In May Russia threatened to shut down 11 GPS receivers based in Russia unless the United States installed similar receivers for the Russian global satellite positioning system – GLONASS.  Now, there have been negotiations to have the GLONASS receivers placed in the United States since before the recent crisis (though Congress is not likely to agree).  Much like the United States is doing with some of its actions, Russia is looking for opportunities to tweak the United States.  Each country is, perhaps, thinking that the cuts of a thousand nuisances will force the other to change their foreign policy objectives around Crimea.

Effective June 1st, according to Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dimitri Rogozin, GPS stations in Russia can no longer be used for military purposes.  Perhaps that will mitigate the concerns of many scientists that they would have access to that GPS data cut off (initially Russian officials were considering turning the receivers off).  Per Rogozin, the U.S. has until September 1 to agree to place the GLONASS stations, or the country will shut the receivers down.



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