Posted on July 13, 2011 by steve
The American taxpayer. Via MIT Technology Review:
With the U.S. manned space program grounded following the last mission of the space shuttle, the Russian Soyuz spacecraft is the only avenue into space for NASA astronauts. And, in an unprecedented arrangement for NASA, U.S. taxpayers will now provide the Russian government with the extra cash it needs to build a new-generation manned vehicle to replace the 40-year-old Soyuz.
Just as in 1993, when the Russian space agency suddenly found itself in the driver’s seat of the stalled U.S.-led space station program by providing crucial elements of the outpost from their own stillborn Mir-2 project, Moscow space officials can again hardly believe their luck. The retirement of the U.S. space shuttle before its replacement is ready means a lucrative deal for Russia to transport all crews to the International Space Station in the next several years.
However, as the Russian space agency’s officials are celebrating this windfall, the leaders of the Russian space industry are far from resting on their laurels—they are pushing ahead with plans for a new spacecraft and launcher.
One more example of the government spending money with nothing to show for it.