Thursday, February 12, 2009

Don't try suing the Russians

While there is a question of culpability, the fallout continues from Tuesday’s collison between the Cosmos 2251 (dormant for the past 10 years).

Aviation Week and Space Technology included this speculation:

James Lewis, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said he is “interested to know, does Iridium have a case against the Russians?” Clearly, he said, there was some negligence involved on someone's part. “I don't think we want this one to go away quietly, like ‘Oops, this was just a natural event.’ ”
I would advise Iridium LLC CEO Matt Desch not to file suit, since enemies of Russia have a tendency to be assassinated, even overseas.

Predictably, the Russians are blaming Iridium:
Igor Lisov, another prominent Russian space expert, said he did not understand why Nasa's debris experts and Iridium, the owner of the American communications satellite, had failed to prevent it, since the Iridium satellite was active and its orbit could be adjusted.
Interestingly, a Google news search for the satellite collision brings up a video from the government-sponsored Russia Today. The network promises a Russian perspective, but the Google-indexed report (on its YouTube channel) includes only information from its US correspondent. A second report is also based on US interviews, with only a brief interview with a civilian Russian scientist near the end. People are still asking whether the Cosmos had a nuclear reactor, like other Russian satellites.

So the Russian government isn’t talking, even to its own house organ. It appears that glasnost was rejected as an alien concept by Soviet leaders and their Russian successors.

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