US, Russia to resume space missions despite Ukraine war tensions

by | Sep 21, 2022 | World

The joint flight comes after Russia recently said it would withdraw from the space station after 2024 amid tensions with the west over the Ukraine war.A US astronaut and two Russian cosmonauts are set to blast off to the International Space Station (ISS) on a Russian-operated flight despite soaring tensions between Moscow and Washington over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
NASA’s Frank Rubio and Russia’s Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitry Petelin are scheduled to take off from the Russia-leased Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 13:54 GMT on Wednesday, according to Russian space agency Roscosmos.
Rubio will become the first US astronaut to travel to the ISS on a Russian Soyuz rocket since President Vladimir Putin sent troops into pro-Western Ukraine.
In response, Western capitals including Washington have hit Moscow with unprecedented sanctions and bilateral ties have sunk to new lows.
The ISS was photographed by Expedition 56 crew members from a Soyuz spacecraft [File: NASA/Roscosmos/Handout via Reuters]
However, space has managed to remain an outlier of cooperation between the two countries.
Following Rubio’s flight, Russia’s only active female cosmonaut Anna Kikina is expected to travel to the orbital station in early October onboard a SpaceX Crew Dragon.
She will become only the fifth professional woman cosmonaut from Russia or the Soviet Union to fly to space, and the first Russian to fly on board a spacecraft of SpaceX, the company of US billionaire Elon Musk.
With both flights set to go ahead, Russian cosmonauts and Western astronauts have sought to steer clear of the conflict that is raging back on Earth, especially when in orbit together.
Speaking a few weeks ago, NASA’s Rubio called it “an incredibly important mission” and said he had become “good friends” with his …

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