US astronaut Mark Vande Hei is slated to share a ride back from the International Space Station (ISS) aboard Russia’s Soyuz capsule later this month, despite tensions over the war in Ukraine, NASA said on Monday.
Russia-US cooperation aboard the orbital research outpost, currently home to four Americans and two Russians from the European Space Agency, remains free of tension.
“We both need each other to operate the International Space Station,” Joel Montalbano, manager of NASA’s ISS program, said.
Sanctions could “destroy” Russia-US ISS teamwork
The longstanding Russia-US collaboration in space was called into question last month when Dmitry Rogozin, head of Russian space agency Roscosmos, suggested US sanctions imposed against Russia over its invasion of Ukraine could “destroy” ISS teamwork.
When US President Joe Biden announced high-tech export restrictions on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s government on February 24, he declared they were designed to “degrade” Russia’s aerospace industry, including its space program.