Cyprus Mail
RussiaTech & ScienceUSAWorld

NASA, Russian space agency sign deal to share space station flights – Roscosmos

file photo: crew members attend a training session ahead of their expedition to the international space station in star city
FILE PHOTO: Cosmonauts of the Russian space agency Roscosmos Pyotr Dubrov, Oleg Novitskiy and NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei

 NASA and Russia’s space agency Roscosmos have signed a long-sought agreement to integrate flights to the International Space Station, allowing Russian cosmonauts to fly on US-made spacecraft in exchange for American astronauts being able to ride on Russia’s Soyuz, the agencies said Friday.

“The agreement is in the interests of Russia and the United States and will promote the development of cooperation within the framework of the ISS program,” Roscosmos said in a statement, adding it will facilitate the “exploration of outer space for peaceful purposes.”

NASA and Roscosmos, the two-decade-old space station’s core partners, have sought for years to renew routine integrated crewed flights as part of the agencies’ long-standing civil alliance, now one of the last links of cooperation between the United States and Russia as tensions flare over the war in Ukraine.

The first integrated flights under the new agreement will come in September, NASA said, with US astronaut Frank Rubio launching to the space station from the Moscow-leased Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan alongside two cosmonauts, Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitry Petelin.

In exchange, cosmonaut Anna Kikina will join two US astronauts and a Japanese astronaut on a SpaceX Crew Dragon flight to the orbital laboratory, launching from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The two agencies had previously shared astronaut seats on the US shuttle and the Russian Soyuz spacecraft.

After the shuttle’s retirement in 2011, the US relied on Russia’s Soyuz for sending American astronauts to the space station until 2020, when SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule revived NASA’s human spaceflight capability and began routine ISS flights from Florida.

Kikina, an engineer and the only woman in Russia’s active cosmonaut corps, is set to be the first Russian to fly SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule. She has been training for the mission at NASA’s astronaut headquarters in Houston while the agreement was under negotiation.

The US space agency has said having at least one Russian and one American aboard the space station is crucial to keeping the laboratory running.

“Flying integrated crews ensures there are appropriately trained crew members on board the station for essential maintenance and spacewalks,” NASA said in a statement on Friday.

Shortly before the agreement was announced, President Vladimir Putin replaced the head of Roscosmos, Dmitry Rogozin, with Yuri Borisov, a former deputy prime minister and deputy defense minister.

Related Posts

Crews in Florida race to rescue those trapped by Hurricane Ian

Reuters News Service

Germany steps up pressure for EU to impose sanctions on Iran

Reuters News Service

UK’s Labour has 33-pt lead over ruling Conservatives – YouGov poll

Reuters News Service

US charges ex-Army major and his wife over alleged plot to leak military health data to Russia (Update)

Reuters News Service

More than half of Russians feel anxious or angry about mobilisation, poll indicates

Reuters News Service

Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport to limit passenger flow until March

Reuters News Service