Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner, chairman of the House Science Committee, said yesterday in Moscow that Russia should either live up to its obligations in the International Space Station project or get out of it. He was touring the Khrunichev Design Bureau, which is the prime contractor for Russia’s contribution to the station — a cargo module and a vital services module. Khrunichev has been hampered by a shortage of funds. During their recent Washington meeting Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin assured U.S. vice-president Al Gore that the government would turn over $100 million to the Russian Space Agency by the end of this month and another $250 million by the end of the year. This would allow Khrunichev and other contractors to get paid and to get to work on the service module, which has fallen a year behind schedule.
Sensenbrenner has long been suspicious of the Russian government’s promises to finance the project. At a recent House hearing on the space station he said that earlier pledges from Russian officials — including Chernomyrdin — had been “worthless.” (Aviation Week and Space Technology, February 17). Sensenbrenner got another pledge on Wednesday, this time from First Deputy Prime Minister Aleksei Bolshakov. (Interfax and Itar-Tass, February 19)
Calm but Firm Reactions to Russian Policy Doctrine.