US and Russia agree to swap seats on space station flights

The US might have imposed financial sanctions in opposition to Russia over the warfare in Ukraine, however in area, the 2 nations are discovering methods to proceed working collectively. NASA and Roscosmos have signed a long-awaited settlement to swap seats on flights to the Worldwide Area Station. After the area shuttle program shut down, NASA relied on Russian Soyuz flights for years to ferry its astronauts to the orbiting lab. That’s, till SpaceX succeeded in getting the Crew Dragon licensed for human spaceflights. Now, the company will once more be securing seats on the Soyuz, whereas Russian cosmonauts will probably be flying aboard SpaceX Crew Dragon flights.

NASA stated in a press release offered to The New York Instances,

“Flying built-in crews ensures there are appropriately educated crew members on board the station for important upkeep and spacewalks. It additionally protects in opposition to contingencies similar to an issue with any crew spacecraft, critical crew medical points or an emergency aboard the station that requires a crew and the car they’re assigned to return to Earth prior to deliberate.”

In different phrases, the settlement will be certain that each the US- and the Russian-operated segments of the station won’t ever be unmanned in case of canceled flights or different emergencies. The company additionally stated that the primary built-in flights will happen in September, with Anna Kikina being the primary Russian cosmonaut to fly on a Crew Dragon. She will probably be joined by NASA’s Nicole Mann and Josh Cassada, in addition to Japan’s Koichi Wakata. In the meantime, NASA astronaut Frank Rubio will probably be heading to the ISS aboard a Soyuz flight. Within the spring of 2023, Russia’s Andrei Fedyaev and NASA’s Loral O’Hara may even be swapping seats. No cash will change palms beneath the settlement, in contrast to previously when NASA paid Roscosmos round $56 million a seat.

The announcement comes similtaneously Dmitry Rogozin’s dismissal as the pinnacle of Roscosmos. Rogozin had made controversial statements and selections for years, however particularly in current months following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. After the European Area Company formally backed out of the ExoMars joint mission with Russia, for example, Rogozin stated he ordered the Roscosmos crew to cease working with the European-made robotic arm on the ISS. Roscosmos, beneath his management, additionally distributed pictures of cosmonauts holding the flags of pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine. NASA issued a press release afterward, saying it “strongly rebukes utilizing the Worldwide Area Station for political functions to help [the] warfare in opposition to Ukraine.”

The Instances stated Kremlin’s spokesperson clarified that Rogozin’s dismissal has nothing to do along with his efficiency. In response to AreaLatvia-based information outlet meduza reported that Rogozin could be assigned as Putin’s chief of employees or as an administrator overseeing the Ukraine territories Russia had occupied, however neither rumor has been confirmed simply but.

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