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Nelson: NASA cooperating with Russian colleagues despite tensions

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NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said Friday the agency is cooperating with Russian colleagues despite tensions that have built up amid Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

The assurance comes as some countries have canceled missions in space with Russia and the head of Russia’s space agency threatened to stop giving the U.S. rocket engines for flights. 

“That’s just Dmitry Rogozin. He spouts off every now and then. But at the end of the day, he’s worked with us,” Nelson said in an interview with The Associated Press, referring to the head of Russia’s space agency.

“The other people that work in the Russian civilian space program, they’re professional. They don’t miss a beat with us, American astronauts and American mission control.”

Over the past three weeks, tensions between the U.S. and Russia have hit a peak as Russia continues its assault on Ukraine, with President Biden calling Russian President Vladimir Putin a “war criminal.”

“Despite all of that, up in space, we can have a cooperation with our Russian friends, our colleagues. The professional relationship between astronauts and cosmonauts, it hasn’t missed a beat,” Nelson told the AP on Friday. “This is the cooperation we have going on in the civilian space program.”

The comments match those made by NASA’s space station program manager, Joel Montalbano, on Monday. He said relationships with Russia in terms of space exploration have not changed. 

The European Space Agency said Thursday it has canceled its own plans with Russia to put a rover on Mars following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Tags Astronaut Bill Nelson Dmitry Rogozin European Space Agency International Space Station Joe Biden NASA Space station Vladimir Putin

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