Will Ukraine Crisis Hurt Space Station Relations?

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March 6 (Bloomberg) -- Leroy Chiao, a former NASA astronaut, discusses how the Ukraine crisis may impact U.S.-Russia space station relations on Bloomberg Television's "Street Smart." (Source: Bloomberg)

Issues here for nasa?

Thank you for having me on the show.

That's a great question.

The fact is there's a technical fact that the space station needs both americans and russians cooperating on the ground and in space.

We need to have crew members of both nations on board for it to be operated successfully.

As because the systems are basically tied together.

A lot of the critical systems have to work together.

It is not practical for russia to say they are not going to take our astronauts to the station anymore, no matter how bad the political situation gets.

Might it, though, and sort of push a little bit on nasa's budget, which has been cut so much?

I mean, might this make a case?

Well, sure.

What we've seen is not surprising.

Many of us lamented the fact that we retired the shuttle when we did.

My personal opinion is that we should have kept operating the shuttle for a few more years.

But we are where we are.

We heard mr.

Must talk about the price going up, and that is a fact.

The price has been going up, and that is what happens when you've got a monopoly on the situation.

Hopefully, that will change soon , and sooner rather than later.

We are developing the commercial capabilities to be able to launch astronauts into space, and the next generation as well.

Really come up with mostly only know what we know about the space station by watching "gravity." what i'm getting at it is, why do we need the international space station?

The iss, as you know, is the most visible, and frankly, most audacious construction project ever undertaken.

It involves nations not only russia and the united states, but the japanese space agency and canadian space agency.

We are pushing the boundaries of research that are difficult to do here on earth, that is, research done in the absence of gravity.

We have a lot of very promising pharmaceutical and medical type developments that are going on at the station.

Some of those could start help -- helping to cure diseases here on earth.

But the innovation is used for all kinds of research.

Fluid physics in the absence of gravity.

We are also using it as a test bed to develop more robust spacecraft to go farther and deeper into space.

And we've got to solve the medical problems, speaking of farther and deeper into space -- we've got to solve the biomedical problems of keeping an astronaut healthy on a trip to mars, or even a more immediate destination.

And we have to be able to test the countermeasures that are being developed to keep us healthy up there.

Perhaps the space station has been turned around and somehow used for a mourner farias kinds of means -- what is the possibility of, perhaps the space station being turned around and somehow used for a more the farias -- nefarious kind of mean?

We have sharp people on both sides of the u.s. and russia.

If push came to shove, i'm sure they would be able to figure out a way to operate in a degraded mode, a kind of crippled mode keeping it going.

But that would not be sustainable for the long haul.

You would not get much useful work done, so what would be the point of that?

As far as nefarious, there are no weapons on board the space station.

You could use the space station as a weapon itself, but you would not have very good aim.

As you saw from when they decommissioned the space station mir, there was concern about its tracking -- about it striking a landmass.

It ended up in the ocean.

Thanks so much.

We really appreciate it.

This does make me want to re-watch gravity.

This text has been automatically generated. It may not be 100% accurate.

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