Setbacks In Soviet Space Program Worry U.S. Collaborators, NASA

WASHINGTON—U.S. space scientists, frustrated by delays caused by the explosion of the shuttle Challenger, have increasingly pinned their hopes on joint experiments with a thriving Soviet space program. But serious technical problems in recent Soviet missions, combined with unprecedented domestic concern over the cost of the Soviet space program, now threaten to dim once-bright opportunities for scientific collaboration in many areas. Ironically, the recent Soviet setbacks also have s

Christopher Anderson
May 28, 1989

WASHINGTON—U.S. space scientists, frustrated by delays caused by the explosion of the shuttle Challenger, have increasingly pinned their hopes on joint experiments with a thriving Soviet space program. But serious technical problems in recent Soviet missions, combined with unprecedented domestic concern over the cost of the Soviet space program, now threaten to dim once-bright opportunities for scientific collaboration in many areas.

Ironically, the recent Soviet setbacks also have spawned fears that Congress may back away from its own financial commitment to space exploration. A crippled Soviet, space program poses less of a threat to U.S. leadership in space, so the logic goes; and requires fewer dollars to compete against.

The most serious of the recent Soviet mishaps, in terms of its effect on joint efforts, was the mechanical failure of Phobos 2 in April. The accident occured just as the probe was finally approaching its target— the Martian moon Phobos—after...

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