Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko, flying on the International Space Station, is being criticized by some U.S. observers for using a digital camera equipped with an 800-mm. telephoto lens and a video camera to image what a Russian official said were “after-effects of border conflict operations in the Caucasus” on Aug. 9, soon after the Georgian army pushed into East Ossetia. Using the space station for military purposes violates the ISS cooperation agreement between NASA and the Russian space agency. The Russians say the images were “requested to support potential humanitarian activities in the area including serious water resource management issues.”  – 1 Sep 08 Aviation Week & Space Technology (subscription may be required)

Kinda makes one ponder the thinking behind loss of US access to the ISS between the end of the Shuttle missions in 2010 and start of the Constellation flights.