Feature

No longer a giant in space.

The week's news at a glance.

Russia

Viktor MyasnikovNezavisimaya Gazeta

The Russian space program is all but dead, said Viktor Myasnikov in Moscow’s Nezavisimaya Gazeta. This country launched Sputnik, the first artificial satellite, and it sent Yuri Alexeyevich Gagarin into space as the first human to orbit the Earth. But those glory days are over. More than half of Russia’s satellites are lifeless hulks. At a recent session of the upper house of parliament, the military informed “flabbergasted senators” that Russia now relies on foreign space technology for even the most basic tasks. We use Canadian weather satellites to track storms across our territory and American global positioning satellites to route and land our planes. Most appalling, our “missile attack early warning systems” are “hopelessly outdated.” So much for the nuclear deterrent. Yet the government’s solution is “to pour $2 billion into a lunar expedition program,” which may or may not ever land a spacecraft on the moon. The Russian people love the idea of going to the moon, so “to hell with real national interests.”

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