The United States and Russia have always had a turbulent, bumpy relationship. They just can’t agree on anything it seems. However, despite being at sharp odds with each other over Ukraine, Syria, and Edward Snowden these two countries whooped in victory in unison after a Russian rocket successfully launched Friday carrying with it the much-needed supplies for the International Space Station.
There had two failed attempts in the past – one American, one Russian. But this lift off sounds victory on all sides. Future space cooperation is now in the making.
Yes, the US is threatening Russia with even tougher sanctions over its aggressive stance toward Ukraine. And some Russian officials have recently resurrected Soviet-sounding, “we will bury you” warnings of nuclear confrontation – incineration was one term used – if the US persists in sending heavy weaponry to the former Soviet republics on Russia’s western border.
However, at the same time, they have found solid common ground. Ever since the retirement of America’s space shuttle fleet in 2011, the international space station has had to rely on Russian spacecraft for getting fresh crews to the orbiting station. Friday’s successful launch of a Russian Soyuz rocket, carrying more than three tons of food, water, living supplies, and equipment, followed the explosion just five days ago of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket shortly after liftoff from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
“Third time’s the charm, I hope,” NASA astronaut Scott Kelly said from the space station in a NASA agency interview just a few hours before Friday’s liftoff. “We are hoping to get this one, obviously,” added the retired Navy captain, who is in the middle of a yearlong space station assignment. Currently the six-person station has a three-person crew – Mr. Kelly and two Russian cosmonauts.
Kelly had tweeted to the world on Sunday, the day the SpaceX rocket exploded, “Today was a reminder spaceflight is hard” – before adding, “Tomorrow is a new day.” And it seems like it just is!
Russian space travel looked to be in trouble when former Roscosmos chief Vladimir Popovkin’s warned in 2012 that the country’s space industry risked being uncompetitive within three or four years without “urgent measures.” However, this successful attempt seems to put Russia back on the space map.