NASA’s chief confirms it: Without Russia, the $140 billion space station would be lost.
NASA's Administrator Charles Bolden acknowledged Wednesday there is no back-up plan to fly the International Space Station if Russia cuts off U.S. access to space.
"We would make an orderly evacuation," Bolden said during a U.S. House Appropriations subcommittee hearing. Because both countries are dependent upon one another, the $140 billion station would be lost.
It was a frank admission from Bolden who, during the last year as U.S. and Russia diplomatic relations have deteriorated, has sought to sidestep the question. Bolden has maintained that NASA and its counterpart agency in Russia, Roscosmos, have a cordial working relationship. So far Russia has, indeed, kept its commitments to NASA.
Bolden's comments came during a tense 10-minute showdown with the space and science subcommittee's new chairman, John Culberson.
The Houston Republican, comparing Russia President Vladimir Putin to the country's former dictator, Joseph Stalin, pressed Bolden several times before finally getting a direct answer.
"You are forcing me into this answer, and I like to give you real answers," Bolden finally said. "I don't want to try and BS anybody."