Organizing Notes

Bruce Gagnon is coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space. He offers his own reflections on organizing and the state of America's declining empire....

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Location: Bath, Maine, United States

The collapsing US military & economic empire is making Washington & NATO even more dangerous. US could not beat the Taliban but thinks it can take on China-Russia-Iran...a sign of psychopathology for sure.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Remembering my moments with Russian cosmonaut

Just across the road from the Cosmos Hotel is the Russian space museum - a five minute walk through an underground tunnel.  The metro station is right next to the museum.

It was instructive to see how they portrayed their national space flight history and I was impressed with the international character of the museum.  They had several displays of US and other international space missions - something I've not seen in US space museums which only showed American exploration of the heavens - all part of the US domination of space ethic.

Of particular interest to me was the section of the museum that featured the process of cosmonauts returning to Earth in tiny capsules via fiery reentry with a dramatic parachute landing in the far reaches of the nation.

The recent failed Soyuz mission of a Russian rocket to bring a cosmonaut and a US astronaut to the International Space Station (that cost over $100 billion to build) brought this to mind because the crew return capsule parachuted to Earth in an emergency landing in Kazakhstan.  It's spectacular stuff.

NASA currently depends on Russian Soyuz launch systems to ferry crew members to the station. It's one of the few areas where Russia and the US still cooperate.

Another key reason for wanting to go to the museum was to look for a photograph of the cosmonaut Georgy Grechko who flew on several space flights including Soyuz 17, Soyuz 26, and Soyuz T-14. Grechko came to speak at a peace in space conference I organized in the early 1980's while working for the Florida Coalition for Peace & Justice.

Grechko was the only Russian cosmonaut that I am aware of to ever come to such a conference in the US.  He made it known in advance that he wished to take a tour of the Kennedy Space Center while in the area so I called NASA and passed on the request.  They (much to my surprise) approved the visit and told me to bring him to the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) where the Space Shuttles were maintained in between voyages.

As it turns out we were running a bit late that day so I was speeding as I rushed onto the vast KSC property.  A KSC security car put on his flashing light and pulled my car over.  Grechko told me not to worry that he'd take care of the situation as the officer approached the car.  I rolled down the window and Grechko leaned over and told the cop, "I am Russian cosmonaut."  The cop, rather in an unfriendly way, said "I don't care who you are" and proceeded to write me a speeding ticket. Grechko was shocked.

We eventually got to the cavernous VAB and it was clear that they were expecting us.  As we entered the facility all around us workers stopped what they were doing to see the Russian cosmonaut enter.  It was quite thrilling to see Grechko strut into the middle of the place holding his head high as he represented his country - the enemy during that Cold War period coming into the heart of the competitors secret space program.

I'll always remember the moment with great pride.  One small step for peaceful international relations.



Blogger Unknown said...

Best brother on the planet! Walk on!

10/18/18, 7:48 AM  

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