ACCESSION NUMBER:328337 FILE ID:ECO304 DATE:02/23/94 TITLE:OFFICIAL CITES SAFEGUARDS TO PROTECT U.S. SPACE TECHNOLOGY (02/23/94) TEXT:*94022304.ECO ECNASALD SPACE /te OFFICIAL CITES SAFEGUARDS TO PROTECT U.S. SPACE TECHNOLOGY (Spy case raises concern over U.S.-Russian program) (690) By Jim Fuller USIA Science Writer Washington -- A U.S. official says safeguards are in place to protect the vital interests of the United States if the Russians withdraw their participation in the construction of an international space station. Daniel Goldin, administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), told the House Subcommittee on Space February 23 that the agency has a backup plan for building the space station without Russian involvement, and has specific protocols and prohibitions to bar the transfer of sensitive technology or information. "At the same time we welcome greater Russian involvement with us and our international partners, we are also proceeding with prudence," Goldin said. "We have to learn to trust the Russians, and they'll have to earn our trust," he added later. "We are committed to protect American technology and have set safeguards in place" that are being coordinated with the U.S. Departments of State, Commerce and Defense. He said those same safeguards to protect U.S. sensitive technology also apply to the other partners in the space station project -- Japan, Canada and the European Space Agency. Goldin's comments followed expressions of concern by some members of the subcommittee about pursuing a new space station program with Russia following the recent arrest of a senior official of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) accused of passing secrets to the former Soviet Union and later the Russian government over an eight-year period. Representative F. James Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin, a long-time supporter of the space station, said the arrest of the CIA official has raised serious questions about whether Russia is a trustworthy and reliable partner. 1 Sensenbrenner said he was especially concerned about the current plan that calls on the Russians to provide the critical elements needed for the planned space station to become an orbiting laboratory. The congressman challenged NASA to come up with a design that does not depend on Russia for the space station's "rudimentary flight capability." "This is not to say I seek a design without Russia, just a design where Russia is optional and not critical to the success of the space station and the U.S. space program," he said. Representative Dick Zimmer of New Jersey, a long-time opponent of the space station, expressed his concern by asking, "Do we really want our space program to be hostage to our relationship with a nation that still practices espionage against us?" The latest plan calls for attaching two Soyuz spacecraft to the international station as emergency crew return vehicles. It also calls for using the Russian Salyut spacecraft to provide propulsion, guidance and attitude control for the station. Russian involvement in the building of the space station marks a major shift in the U.S. and Russian space programs, which have competed with each other ever since the Soviet Union began the space race in 1957 by launching the Sputnik satellite. Goldin told the subcommittee that NASA intends to work with Russia through "incremental engagements." He said the first phase of the new program was completed recently when Russian Sergei Krikalev became the first cosmonaut to be launched into space aboard a U.S. shuttle. In March 1995, U.S. astronaut Norman Thagard is scheduled to ride a Russian rocket into orbit and spend three months aboard the Russian Mir space station. Possibly as many as 10 shuttle crews are then scheduled to dock with the Russian station during the period from 1995 to 1997. Goldin said the Mir missions will give the United States extremely valuable on-orbit experience and knowledge about safety issues. He said the Russians have been operating Mir safely since 1986, providing a long-term experience in space NASA simply does not have. Goldin added that there is something else at stake besides a more robust and safer space station. "If we close the door on our partners and the Russians, it may be decades before it opens again," he said. "The signal we would send to our partners and others would be unmistakable." NNNN .