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In Space, U.S.-Russian Cooperation Finds a Way Forward

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The next time SpaceX launches the Falcon 9 rocket on the International Space Station, one of the astronauts on board will be Russian.

NASA and Russian spacecraft Roscosmos agreed on Friday to give American-made spacecraft a seat for Russian astronauts in exchange for NASA astronauts to orbit on Russian Soyuz rockets. Announced that it has reached.

Also on Friday, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree dismissing Dmitry Rogozin, who has led Roscosmos, the state-owned company that oversees Russia’s space activities since 2016.

Russians and Americans in orbit have maintained close cooperation despite the collapse of relations between the two countries after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February. The relationship also endured Rogozin’s repeated warlike remarks on Russian news media, Twitter and Telegram accounts.

In April, Rogozin said he demanded that Russia lift economic sanctions and submitted a proposal to the Russian government to leave the space station.

After the European Space Agency officially withdrew its cooperation with Russia this week by sending a robot rover to Mars, Rogozin said Russian astronauts at the space station stopped using robotic arms made by Europeans. , Aschbacher, the director of the European Space Agency, who said he cast derogatory words in Joseph, and Josep Borrell Fontelles, the Supreme Foreign Policy Officer of the European Union.

“Next, I’m instructing the ISS crew to stop working on the European ERA manipulator,” Rogozin wrote on the Telegram channel. “Let Ashbacher himself and his boss Borrell jump into space and at least do something useful for their lives.”

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry S. Peskoff argued that the move had nothing to do with Rogozin’s achievements and promised that the former coach would be hired again soon.

“This has nothing to do with the problem,” Peskoff said on Friday, according to the Russian state news agency. “Soon Rogozin will be hired and will start a new job.”

Rogozin’s successor is Yuri Borisov, who will take over Roscosmos after his own expulsion as Deputy Prime Minister overseeing the Russian military-industrial complex. Mr. Borisov has been a senior government official for many years and was previously the Deputy Minister of Defense. Unlike Rogozin, he is not known to be a public fire brand.

NASA officials have insisted that the space station’s operations remain normal and that Rogozin’s comments would normally be passed without comment.

But last week, NASA issued a statement condemning Russia after Roscosmos distributed photos of three Russian astronauts on the space station. Flag of pro-Russian separatists In two states of Ukraine.

On Friday, NASA resumed emphasizing cooperation.

“By skipping the integrated crew, we will be able to board the station with properly trained crew for critical maintenance and EVA,” NASA said in a statement. .. “Also, contingencies such as crew spacecraft issues, serious crew medical issues, or emergencies at stations where crew members and their assigned vehicles need to be returned to Earth sooner than planned. Protect from. “

For example, in the absence of a crew exchange agreement, if a problem causes a new Soyuz to be launched, at some point all Russian astronauts on the station will return to Earth, leaving the Russian segment of the station unattended. Will be. It can endanger all stations.

“The stations are designed to be interdependent and rely on the contributions of each space agency to function,” NASA said. “No institution has the ability to function independently of other institutions.”

Under the agreement, there is no exchange of money between NASA and Roscosmos.

From 2006 to 2020, NASA paid Russia an average of $ 56 million in seats and took 71 astronauts to the space station. After the retirement of NASA’s Space Shuttle in 2011, Soyuz was the only way NASA astronauts could get into orbit. That need ended when the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft became operational in 2020.

Russian astronaut Anna Kikina is the next NASA astronaut, Nicole Aunapu and Josh Cassada, and Japan’s Koichi Wakata to the space station currently scheduled for September. Board Crew 5, a SpaceX mission. Another Russian astronaut, Andrey Fediaev, will be a member of the crew of the next SpaceX mission next spring.

NASA astronauts, including Francisco Rubio and Loral O’Hara, will be part of the crew for future Soyuz launches.

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