Technology

Miffed Over Sanctions Russia Threatens To Disrupt GPS Navigation

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht

The Russian government is threatening to end cooperation with America on space exploration, including maintenance of the GPS system, in response to Ukraine sanctions.

Deputy Prime Minister Dimitry Rogozin said Russia is worried about developing "high-tech projects with such an unreliable partner as the United States, which politicizes everything."

Last month the U.S. announced it would deny export licenses for any high-tech items that could aid the Russian military effort in Ukraine and revoke existing licenses. 

Rogozin said GPS ground station in Russian territory would be shut down on June 1, unless the U.S. agrees to allow Russia to put similar stations for GLONASS in the U.S.

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The policy would keep NASA, which has no shuttle program of its own, from accessing the International Space Station until 2020. The supply of RD-180 and NK-33 engines used on Atlas V rockets by the U.S. military uses for sending military and commercial satellites into space would be blocked.

The news comes less than a week after Russia announced its $800 million plan to build a permanent colony on the moon by 2030.

Making good on these threats would likely hurt Russia just as much as the U.S., Engadget reported.

Transporting passengers to the ISS and selling NK-33 and RD-180 engines nets hundreds of millions of dollars for the country and loss of GPS stations would make the system less accurate for users in Russia, too, not just the rest of the world.

Sources: Engadget, Space Politics