With partners like these…

Just as NASA is asking Congress to extend its authority to purchase Soyuz spacecraft after 2011, Russian officials are making statements that may raise a few eyebrows in the US. The Associated Press published Saturday comments made by Roskosmos head Anatoly Perminov after the Soyuz TMA-11 spacecraft made a ballistic reentry and landing several hundred kilometers off-course:

Later, Perminov referred to a naval superstition that having women aboard a ship was bad luck when asked about the presence of two women on the Soyuz.

“You know in Russia, there are certain bad omens about this sort of thing, but thank God that everything worked out successfully,” he said. “Of course in the future, we will work somehow to ensure that the number of women will not surpass” the number of men.

Challenged by a reporter, Perminov responded: “This isn’t discrimination. I’m just saying that when a majority (of the crew) is female, sometimes certain kinds of unsanctioned behavior or something else occurs, that’s what I’m talking about.” He did not elaborate.

5 comments to With partners like these…

  • DataPoint

    Is he hinting there will be no more women astronauts on the Soyuz?

  • Habitat Hermit

    Wouldn’t think so, this could be nothing more than a gaffe since it seems like he was trying to make a joke at first (based on a widespread and not particularly Russian naval superstition). Perhaps the joke misfired and the guy bumbled on trying to make some kind of escape for himself (if so I blame too little vodka ^_^) or perhaps the crew actually did something incorrect, who knows? (Certainly AP doesn’t).

  • MOPatriot

    The Russian Strategic Missile Forces does not allow women on their missile launch crews, they are not allowed to pilot the Soyuz, Russian Space Forces also do not allow women on control crews (as far as I know)…when was the last time you saw a Russian woman launched into space…1980s I think? This would be a good question to run by James Oberg.

  • DataPoint

    Here is Jim’s analyist of the landing. It seems the event was much worst then first reports. It also appears the locals help the crew and put out the fire long before the recovery team arrived.


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