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Senate Clears NASA to Buy Russian Spaceships
Space.com ^ | 21 September 2005 | Brian Berger

Posted on 09/22/2005 8:56:22 AM PDT by Dan Evans

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Senate approved Sept. 21 a bill that would clear the way for NASA to buy the Russian Soyuz vehicles it needs to continue to occupy the International Space Station beyond this year.

The bill was introduced Sept. 15 by Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) to provide temporary relief from provisions in the Iran Nonproliferation Act of 2000 that bar U.S. purchases of Russian human spaceflight hardware as long as Russia continues to help Iran in its pursuit of nuclear know-how and advanced weapons technology.

Lugar’s bill, S. 1713, changes the law to permit NASA to buy any Russian space hardware or services it needs for the International Space Station program until 2012.

The bill was approved the morning of Sept. 21 by unanimous consent, a Senate procedure that allows non-controversial legislation to bypass a floor vote.

The U.S. House of Representatives also is considering amending the Iran Nonproliferation Act to permit NASA to buy Soyuz vehicles, but it has yet to take any legislative action.

The House could either pick up and pass the Senate’s bill or introduce a bill of its own that would have to be reconciled with the Senate version before becoming law.

Without relief from the Iran act, NASA could soon find itself unable to send its astronauts to the space station for extended stays. A Soyuz capsule set to carry a new two-person crew – and one space tourist – to the station Sept. 30 is the last one Russia is obligated to provide at no charge to the United States under a bilateral agreement.

NASA and the U.S. State Department formally asked Congress in June to amend the Iran act to permit the United States to make use of Russian space technology in its space exploration plans.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events; Russia
KEYWORDS: cafta; nafta; nasa; outsourcing; space
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NASA wants to buy spaceships from Russia. How embarrassing.
1 posted on 09/22/2005 8:56:25 AM PDT by Dan Evans
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To: Dan Evans

Why is it embarassing?

It's not like the Russians are novices in space.


2 posted on 09/22/2005 8:59:15 AM PDT by Sometimes A River ("The leaves have broken on Lake Ponktran" - WKAT 1360 AM Miami Newsreader)
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To: Dan Evans

Soon we'll be outsourcing the government?


3 posted on 09/22/2005 8:59:20 AM PDT by Realism (Some believe that the facts-of-life are open to debate.....)
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To: neverdem; minerboy; anymouse; KevinDavis; Spiff

ping


4 posted on 09/22/2005 9:00:33 AM PDT by Dan Evans
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To: Dan Evans

Tangently related; anyone ever see the Russian version of the FamiCom (NES to us in the states)? It's the ugliest thing I'd ever seen. The Russians have no sense of asthetics.


5 posted on 09/22/2005 9:01:01 AM PDT by ClaudiusI
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To: Acts 2:38

Why is it embarassing?

It's not like the Russians are novices in space.

---

What is embarassing is that WE should be able to do this by our selves. Instead NASA is stuck on stupid because of top heavy thinking. NASA needs to get out of the administration mode and let the engineers loose!


6 posted on 09/22/2005 9:01:37 AM PDT by BoBToMatoE
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To: BoBToMatoE

I'm no big fan of NASA but if they can find something better and cheaper, let them do it.

Gov't doesn't exist to "create jobs," contrary to what many Republicans think.


7 posted on 09/22/2005 9:04:11 AM PDT by Sometimes A River ("The leaves have broken on Lake Ponktran" - WKAT 1360 AM Miami Newsreader)
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To: Dan Evans
The U.S. House of Representatives also is considering amending the Iran Nonproliferation Act to permit NASA to buy Soyuz vehicles

Don't know what nonproliferation of Iran has to do with Soyuz, but, the House has lower qualifications for membership.

8 posted on 09/22/2005 9:06:35 AM PDT by RightWhale (We in heep dip trubble)
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To: BoBToMatoE
NASA needs to get out of the administration mode and let the engineers loose!

NASA didn't learn that after Challenger. I doubt it will happen now.

9 posted on 09/22/2005 9:06:46 AM PDT by manwiththehands
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To: Dan Evans

*sigh* Looks like the end of an era.


10 posted on 09/22/2005 9:08:48 AM PDT by Dallas59 (“You love life, while we love death.” - Al-Qaeda / Democratic Party)
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To: Acts 2:38
Why is it embarassing?

It's embarrassing because we should be making our own spacecraft and because NASA is considering doing business with a regime that is doing joint military exercises with China.

11 posted on 09/22/2005 9:12:37 AM PDT by Dan Evans
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To: Dan Evans

Buying Russian spaceships? Why, is there a shortage of cast iron in this country?


12 posted on 09/22/2005 9:14:32 AM PDT by LIConFem (A fronte praecipitium, a tergo lupi.)
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To: Acts 2:38
Gov't doesn't exist to "create jobs," contrary to what many Republicans think.

It certainly doesn't. But, I have a bad feeling about this. Of course they're not novices in space, but for us to rely on them for transportation to the ISS sounds like a bad idea. I'd no sooner want to rely on them for military aircraft. If we can't manufacture and provide our own spare parts, I get the willies. I'm sure it's a reasonable stopgap measure, but let's not take it too far.
13 posted on 09/22/2005 9:15:38 AM PDT by andyk (Go Matt Kenseth!)
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To: Acts 2:38

America used to be the leader in final frontier technology. Now we've been reduced to buying equipment from our competitor. It's embarassing.


14 posted on 09/22/2005 9:16:00 AM PDT by Rebelbase (The Mainstream Media is "Stuck on stupid". (Gen. Honore))
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To: Acts 2:38
Gov't doesn't exist to "create jobs," contrary to what many Republicans think.

NASA was created to develop our aerospace technology not to develop Russia's aerospace technology.

15 posted on 09/22/2005 9:16:21 AM PDT by Dan Evans
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To: Realism

"Soon we'll be outsourcing the government?"

We already ARE....with the signing of EVERY new "TREATY"....such as GATT, CAFTA, amd NAFTA.


16 posted on 09/22/2005 9:16:24 AM PDT by taxed2death (A few billion here, a few trillion there...we're all friends right?)
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To: Dan Evans

Just shut NASA down - this organization is a national disgrace and continues to be a shame for all Americans.

Shut it down.

Start over.

Let the private sector do it - if the government want to play - then write checks and demand results.


17 posted on 09/22/2005 9:18:19 AM PDT by Jake The Goose
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To: Dan Evans

There goes that giant sucking sound again, and no, that sound is not caused by an american built rocket. This time it is rocket scientists losing their jobs. The outsourcing continues. [sigh]


18 posted on 09/22/2005 9:18:45 AM PDT by Kevin OMalley (No, not Freeper#95235, Freeper #1165: Charter member, What Was My Login Club.)
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To: Acts 2:38
I'm no big fan of NASA but if they can find something better and cheaper, let them do it

Groovy. The Chinese built Long March launch vehicle can be substituted for all U.S. launch vehicles; it works OK, most of the time. They can now orbit people too. That works most of the time as well. What's a little wreck or two occasionally? The U.S. does it.

Hell, they can build and fly pretty much anything we can, given a couple of years to copy something. Why slow them down, for that matter? Just hand over the blueprints, let them do it all - military space, aeronautics, everything! It'll all be "cheaper".

And we can get bureaucrats and politicians real cheap from them while we're at it - why not government by the Chinese Communists? They're efficient, hard working, effective at what they do (they don't waste time with niceties like "Trial by Jury" and other silly Anglo-Saxon concepts). Everything for a guy like you to be happy about!

Don't Worry, Be Happy! Surrender to your new ChiCom Contract government! You'll be happy you did....

19 posted on 09/22/2005 9:19:19 AM PDT by Regulator (Of Course, they might have a problem with a guy who uses Biblical references for himself)
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To: Kevin OMalley
We can't even point our finger anymore.


20 posted on 09/22/2005 9:19:34 AM PDT by Rebelbase (The Mainstream Media is "Stuck on stupid". (Gen. Honore))
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To: Dan Evans

Those were the days.

21 posted on 09/22/2005 9:23:37 AM PDT by Southside_Chicago_Republican (As a dog returneth to his vomit, so returneth a fool to his folly.)
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To: BoBToMatoE
NASA needs to get out of the administration mode and let the engineers loose!

I'd take that one small step further and say that NASA needs to be taken out of the Administration altogether, and let the engineers go!

Private industry and privately funded research is the way to go.

If space travel is sufficiently worthwhile, inspiring, or entertaining, it will happen because donors and investors will voluntarily pay for it.

.

22 posted on 09/22/2005 9:28:38 AM PDT by repentant_pundit (For the Sons and Daughters of Every Planet on the Earth)
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To: Dan Evans

IIRC, now the Russian space program has a beter safety record that us.


23 posted on 09/22/2005 9:30:09 AM PDT by Centurion2000
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To: andyk

The silver lining is that the Shuttle program can finally be let go and NASA can put their resources into the new program. The construction of the ISS is about done anyway, not finished, just done.


24 posted on 09/22/2005 9:33:29 AM PDT by RightWhale (We in heep dip trubble)
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To: Acts 2:38

"I'm no big fan of NASA but if they can find something better and cheaper, let them do it. "

"If the ride is mo fly, then they must buy"


25 posted on 09/22/2005 9:34:22 AM PDT by Pessimist
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To: Acts 2:38
Gov't doesn't exist to "create jobs," contrary to what many Republicans think.

I am sure that that is just a rumor started by the 75% of the population that depends on the public dole for their jobs. People like farmers, the military, police, homeland defense, civil contractors, any industry collecting Medicare/Medicaid/perscription drug benefits, Anyone working on a highway project, NASA, The military industrial complex, those dependent on Fannie Mae and FDIC, those dependent on publicly subsidized illegal labor... oh yeah, there are still a few craftsmen making products for ordinary people - but, we are about one hiccup short of a command economy.
26 posted on 09/22/2005 9:36:53 AM PDT by ARCADIA (Abuse of power comes as no surprise)
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To: Centurion2000
IIRC, now the Russian space program has a beter safety record that us.

Is that figured in deaths per flight or failures per launch?

27 posted on 09/22/2005 9:40:02 AM PDT by Dan Evans
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To: repentant_pundit
Private industry and privately funded research is the way to go.

They won't go. Not enough short-term profit in it for me. Better to trade energy futures and speculate in real estate. To hell with creating or learning anything.

If space travel is sufficiently worthwhile, inspiring, or entertaining, it will happen because donors and investors will voluntarily pay for it.

Right on. "Entertainment Nation" strikes again. Better to stay home and pop the pills. Cheaper that way. I can keep more of my money in my decrepit, stoned-out hands.

28 posted on 09/22/2005 9:43:31 AM PDT by Gekko The Great (Money, money, money. The god of all gods...)
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To: Realism

Outsourcing the government???? Excellent idea. At least we could fire our employees.


29 posted on 09/22/2005 9:46:00 AM PDT by cynicom
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To: Acts 2:38
I'm no big fan of NASA but if they can find something better and cheaper, let them do it.

Right. I'm with you. Cheaper is always better. If we can save a few pennies here and there to pinch in our decadent fingers, who gives a crap about being a technologically strong nation? Who cares about being even a strong nation? Hell, who even cares about being a nation, as long as I can keep more of my money for myself? Hey, we're alike, you and I. Money, money, money, the soul and center of everything...

30 posted on 09/22/2005 9:48:07 AM PDT by Gekko The Great (Money, money, money. The god of all gods...)
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To: Rebelbase

Dick is obviously making something "perfectly clear" to the commies.


31 posted on 09/22/2005 9:49:01 AM PDT by LiveFree99
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To: Gekko The Great

During the industrial revolution, scientific research was funded by wealthy patrons. That is changing because our tax structure makes it increasingly difficult to make money as our income increases. If government weren't taking 40% of our wealth, most of space research would be funded by private investors.


32 posted on 09/22/2005 9:51:07 AM PDT by Dan Evans
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To: Acts 2:38
I'm no big fan of NASA but if they can find something better and cheaper, let them do it.

NASA recently gave Burt Rutan $6 million to generate some paper on a new design for vehicles to service the ISS. Burt actually built a prototype and tested it for the same price.

Here's the website.

http://www.transformspace.com/

33 posted on 09/22/2005 9:52:59 AM PDT by Moonman62 (Federal creed: If it moves tax it. If it keeps moving regulate it. If it stops moving subsidize it)
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To: BoBToMatoE
We can't fly the space shuttle until the external fuel tank foam shedding problem is fixed (again!). We don't have an off-the-shelf equivalent of the Soyuz design in production (or even ready for production). NASA will not finish designing and flight certifying the successor to the space shuttle, the Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV), until about 2012.

I image you could try to put Apollo back into production but updating the design, converting all the drawings for use in CAD/CAM, perhaps developing an ISS docking adapter, and actually getting ready for series production of the space craft (and launch vehicles) ain't going to be cheap. It's not quite the equivalent of designing and building the CEV but darn close.

The Soyuz is a PROVEN space craft that the US has flown on in the past. We can purchase it with the confidence we'll be able to fulfill our ISS obligations. So we are stuck buying from the Russians until NASA can solve its shuttle problems. Yeah, it's somewhat embarrassing to have to purchase foreign but the Russians have been our (admittedly underfunded) partners in ISS for a while now and will be only too glad to crank out all the Soyuz's we need until we can get back on our feet - with a broad smile and for a price, that is.

The only other alternative NASA has is to shutdown our portions of the ISS for an unknown period and hope the cash-strapped Russians don't either abandon the ISS entirely or turn the thing into a branch of the Hilton hotel chain before we can get back up there.
34 posted on 09/22/2005 9:55:54 AM PDT by Captain Rhino ("If you will just abandon logic, these things will make a lot more sense to you!")
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To: Acts 2:38
It's not like the Russians are novices in space.

First, would you buy a Russian made car?
Second, have you seen the Russian space program's safety record?

35 posted on 09/22/2005 9:59:40 AM PDT by EricT.
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To: BoBToMatoE

We are just never going to consider (Are we??) that "little" things like this are part of a much larger picture of globalism, weakening all sense of national identity. There will be no United States or Russia before long, but a global system under which the United States will have no sovereign will, not sovereign initiative, no sovereign economy (Hello, NAFTA, CAFTA, GATT, etc.), no sovereign exploration spirit, no sovereign defense posture, NO SOVEREIGN EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT, just NO sovereignty.


36 posted on 09/22/2005 10:01:53 AM PDT by Free Baptist
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To: Acts 2:38

Russia has a LOT more man-hours in space than we do and they have a wealth of practical knowledge about things that go wrong. NASA is smart not to ignore that knowledge.


37 posted on 09/22/2005 10:35:11 AM PDT by Clock King ("How will it end?" - Emperor; "In Fire." - Kosh)
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To: Gekko The Great

"Better and cheaper" doesn't mean "Cheaper is always better."

Value and price don't mean the same thing.


38 posted on 09/22/2005 10:48:56 AM PDT by Sometimes A River ("The leaves have broken on Lake Ponktran" - WKAT 1360 AM Miami Newsreader)
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To: RightWhale
The silver lining is that the Shuttle program can finally be let go and NASA can put their resources into the new program.

Good point.
39 posted on 09/22/2005 10:54:27 AM PDT by andyk (Go Matt Kenseth!)
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To: Centurion2000
IIRC, now the Russian space program has a beter safety record that us.

Overall, I'd say probably not. More recently, that's probably true. For the first twenty to thirty years, their program was highly secret, and failures were not made public. Only recently have we become aware of some of the tragic losses of the Soviet space program.
40 posted on 09/22/2005 10:57:40 AM PDT by andyk (Go Matt Kenseth!)
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To: Captain Rhino
The only other alternative NASA has is to shutdown our portions of the ISS for an unknown period and hope the cash-strapped Russians don't either abandon the ISS entirely or turn the thing into a branch of the Hilton hotel chain before we can get back up there.

That sounds perfect to me. Let the worthless POS take a dive into the Pacific. If NSA wants to do something worthwhile, then I am all for it, but ISS is not anywhere near my definition of worthwhile. It's only purpose has been to provide a destination for the shuttle; no shuttle = no purpose.
41 posted on 09/22/2005 11:02:12 AM PDT by ARCADIA (Abuse of power comes as no surprise)
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To: BoBToMatoE
NASA needs to get out of the administration mode and let the engineers loose!

What they need to do is CUT the engineers lose and by their services from the private sector. Engineers with poor management are a money pit (I am one) and NASA has show it does a poor job in that area.
42 posted on 09/22/2005 11:41:47 AM PDT by TalonDJ
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To: Dan Evans

This is great! It opens the doors to NASA buying other space services from our own private sector.


43 posted on 09/22/2005 11:42:50 AM PDT by TalonDJ
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To: Dan Evans
If government weren't taking 40% of our wealth, most of space research would be funded by private investors.

I doubt it. Too long of a wait for the payoff. Too much risk of getting nothing in return. Better to invest in entertainment companies and casinos. Heck, I could greenmail a company into a quick-flip $20 mil or so in a month's time, and you think I'm going to spend a dime on something that might take 20 years to pay off? Forget that! Better to buy up companies, fire their workers, and sell off the assets to foreign bidders. That's the business model in vogue today in this country. Get with the program, dude...

44 posted on 09/22/2005 11:50:17 AM PDT by Gekko The Great (Money, money, money. The god of all gods...)
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To: Dan Evans
The bill was introduced Sept. 15 by Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Richard Lugar (R-Ind.)

They don't call him Dick for nothing.

45 posted on 09/22/2005 12:18:06 PM PDT by Rockitz (Geena YES, Hill NO!)
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To: andyk
Overall, I'd say probably not. More recently, that's probably true. For the first twenty to thirty years, their program was highly secret, and failures were not made public. Only recently have we become aware of some of the tragic losses of the Soviet space program.

Cosmonauts losses:

In space: 1+3=4 cosmonauts (during athmosphere reentering). This tragedies were well known to the Soviet public.

On earth: 1 cosmonaut (blast of pure oxygen in the prototype capsule, the same that happened to Apollo - 1 ?).

Gagarin, the first man that was in the space, died during the training flight on MIG jet.

46 posted on 09/22/2005 12:24:16 PM PDT by RussianJew
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To: Dan Evans
It's embarrassing because we should be making our own spacecraft and because NASA is considering doing business with a regime that is doing joint military exercises with China.

I suspect you are not aware of it, but the United States Army will be having a large scale military excercise with the Russian Army in the Moscow region in 2007.
47 posted on 09/22/2005 12:30:30 PM PDT by GarySpFc (Sneakypete, De Oppresso Liber)
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To: RussianJew
You're talking only about cosmonauts. I'm referring to accidents or deaths involving the space program itself, which applies to the use of their technology. Keep in mind, I already noted that the more recent program of Russia has been more safe than ours.

Two launches to Mars on the 13th and 15th of October had failed while he was preparing to make a big propaganda speech at the United Nations bragging once again about the superiority of the Communist system. His appointed lackey, Field Marshal Nedelin, was told to launch a vehicle to Mars, or else. When the countdown reached zero, the huge SS-6 rocket did not ignite. Feeling the pressure from Khrushchev, Nedelin disobeyed all safety regulations concerning rocket misfires and sent the technicians out to work on the rocket. Korolev was extremely safety conscious and he argued with Nedelin about sending the engineers out to accomplish maintenance on the unstable space vehicle. In an action of bravado, Nedelin took his entire staff and some chairs to sit by the rocket as it was being inspected by the technicians. Korolev and a deputy Yangel went into a blast shelter to have a cigarette when the rocket exploded. Instantly, Nedelin, his staff, their chairs, and over 100 technicians on the rocket were incinerated in the worst accident in the history of the Soviet space program. Rather than admitting that such an event occurred, the Soviet Press claimed that Nedelin was killed in an aircraft accident.

You can find that here.
48 posted on 09/22/2005 12:32:54 PM PDT by andyk (Go Matt Kenseth!)
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To: EricT.
First, would you buy a Russian made car?
Second, have you seen the Russian space program's safety record?


They purchase many American cars, and have our factories manufacturing them in Russia. Furthermore, I wonder how you will feel about riding in the new Boeing 787 and 747 Advanced, which are both designed at Boeing's Design Center in Moscow.
49 posted on 09/22/2005 12:35:15 PM PDT by GarySpFc (Sneakypete, De Oppresso Liber)
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To: andyk

I can confirm this. It is widely known in the industry.


50 posted on 09/22/2005 12:37:43 PM PDT by Rockitz (Geena YES, Hill NO!)
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