Americans and Russians will fly to the ISS when war rages in Ukraine

An American astronaut and two Russian cosmonauts are set to depart for the International Space Station on Wednesday on a Russian-operated flight, despite rising tensions between Moscow and Washington over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

NASA’s Frank Rubio and Russia’s Sergei Prokopiev and Dmitriy Pyatelin plan to lift off from the Russian-leased Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 13:54 GMT, according to the Russian space agency Raskosmos.

Rubio will become the first American astronaut to go to the ISS on a Russian Soyuz rocket after President Vladimir Putin sent troops to western Ukraine on February 24.

In response, Western capitals, including Washington, imposed unprecedented sanctions on Moscow, and bilateral relations fell to a new low.

However, space managed to stay on the side of the cooperation of the two countries.

After Rubio’s flight, Russia’s only active female cosmonaut Anna Kikina is expected to go to the orbital station in early October aboard a SpaceX Crew Dragon.

She will become only the fifth professional female cosmonaut from Russia or the Soviet Union to fly into space, and the first Russian woman to fly aboard SpaceX, the company of American billionaire Elon Musk.

With both flights scheduled, Russian cosmonauts and Western astronauts have sought to stay out of the conflict raging on Earth, especially when they are in orbit together.

As a result of cooperation between the USA, Canada, Japan, the European Space Agency and Russia, the ISS is divided into two parts: the US orbital segment and the Russian orbital segment.

– Russia leaves the ISS –

The ISS currently depends on a Russian propulsion system to maintain its orbit about 250 miles (400 kilometers) above sea level, with the American segment responsible for electricity and life support systems.

However, tensions in the space sector have risen since Washington announced sanctions against Moscow’s aerospace industry – prompting warnings from former Russian space chief Dmitry Rogozin, an ardent supporter of the war in Ukraine.

Rogozin’s recently appointed successor Yuri Borisov later confirmed Russia’s long-considered move to leave the ISS after 2024 in favor of building its own orbital station.

The American space agency NASA called this decision an “unfortunate event” that will interfere with the scientific work carried out on the ISS.

Space analysts say building a new orbital station could take more than a decade, and Russia’s space industry – a matter of national pride – will not be able to thrive under tough sanctions.

The ISS was launched in 1998 during a period of hopeful cooperation between the US and Russia following their Cold War space race competition.

At that time, the Soviet space program was flourishing. It boasted a number of achievements, including sending the first man into space in 1961 and launching the first satellite four years earlier.

But experts say that Roscosmos is now a shadow of its former self and has suffered a series of setbacks in recent years, including corruption scandals and the loss of a number of satellites and other spacecraft.

Russia’s long-standing monopoly on manned flights to the ISS is also gone, to SpaceX, along with millions in revenue.



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ESA astronaut Samantha Cristofaretti became Europe’s first female ISS commander

Paris (ESA) September 15, 2022

ESA astronaut Samantha Cristofaretti will soon assume the role of commander of the International Space Station, replacing Expedition 67 crew member Oleg Artemyev. Since the start of her Minerva mission in April 2022, Samantha has served as the United States Orbital Segment Manager (USOS), overseeing activities in the station’s US, European, Japanese, and Canadian modules and components. Taking the new position, she will become the fifth European commander of the space station … read on Americans and Russians will fly to the ISS when war rages in Ukraine

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