Friday, April 22, 2011

And, retiring the Shuttle was a good idea, because?

A few weeks ago, in the shadow of Discovery's final flight, we heard the cost of Soyuz seats was going up.  I don't think anyone was surprised.  But, I felt better when NASA noted that the increase was in line with inflation. [Please comment if my facts are off.]  Today, Keith Cowling  posts about a report that the Russians won't allow private US spacecraft from docking with the ISS until they are satisfied that the new ships confirm to safety standards.  Keith notes:
What a great way to continue a monopoly on access to the ISS. Curiously, the "digital" Soyuz was allowed to dock despite its ongoing problems.
I am all for proving the new-space craft are safe before carrying people much less docking with the ISS.  The rub, of course, is that I'm not sure all the involved US factions have a consensus of what 'proof' should consist of, much less what the Russians may want. While my positive side wants to believe that the Russian position may merely be that they want a reasonable amount of visibility into the safety process, the negative side thinks we might as well turn the keys over now. Maybe that's the cold medication talkin'.