Russian cosmonauts will be able to fly to the ISS on American spacecraft and NASA cosmonauts on Russian.
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US and Russian astronauts will share space aboard the same spacecraft after NASA and its Russian partner Roscosmos reached an agreement on travel sharing after months of discussions. It reports CNN.
Two seats on two separate launches of the Russian spacecraft Soyuz have been reserved for NASA astronauts, with the first scheduled to take off from a Russian spaceport in Kazakhstan in September. And Russian cosmonauts will join at least two future SpaceX missions to the International Space Station, marking the first time a Russian has boarded SpaceX’s new Crew Dragon spacecraft.
NASA has assigned astronaut Frank Rubio to the Soyuz mission in September, and astronaut Loral O’Hara will join the next Soyuz flight. Roscosmos will send cosmonaut Anna Kikina on a SpaceX flight in September, while Andrey Fedyaev will fly on another SpaceX mission in the spring of 2023.
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NASA and Roscosmos confirmed the agreement on July 15.
The swap agreement, which does not involve exchanging payments between countries, has hung over NASA and Roscosmos for months in the midst of growing tensions between the United States and Russia over the war in Ukraine.
NASA has repeatedly said that tensions on the ground have not affected the countries’ current cooperation in space, although the ISS, run jointly by NASA, Roscosmos and several other space organizations, has been the subject of war rhetoric from Russian politics.
In a statement, NASA said that the signing of a travel sharing agreement with Russia is crucial to ensure that the ISS “continues to operate safely.” If the Russian spacecraft Soyuz or SpaceX Crew Dragon encounters problems and is taken out of service, the swap agreement will ensure that both American and Russian cosmonauts still have access to the space station.
Remember that Biden and NASA showed the first images from the James Webb telescope.