Diplomacy between the United States' NASA agency and Russia's Roscosmos Space Agency persists, even amidst the ongoing war in Ukraine. Following the invasion of Ukraine by Russian soldiers in February 2022, the U.S. and world governments imposed sanctions on the Russian government but cooperation in outer space remains unaffected because half of the International Space Station (ISS) was built and is operated by Russia and the other half by the United States, Canada, Japan, and the European Union. NASA says that “each space agency responsible for managing and controlling the hardware it provides.”
“The station was designed to be interdependent and relies on contributions from each space agency to function. No one agency has the capability to function independent of the others,” said NASA. “For continued safe operations of the space station, the integrated crew agreement helps ensure that each crewed spacecraft docked to the station includes an integrated crew with trained crew members in both the Russian and U.S. Operating Segment systems.”
Despite the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war, NASA and Roscosmos have continued to uphold the barter deal agreement they initially established in December 2021, enabling the joint crews' launches to the ISS. As part of this agreement, the United States plans to continue sending American astronauts aboard the Russian Soyuz spacecraft, while Russian cosmonauts will be launched on American-made spacecraft. “NASA and Roscosmos fly integrated crews on U.S. crew spacecraft and on the Soyuz spacecraft to ensure continued safe operations of the International Space Station and the safety of its crew. Integrated crews have been the norm throughout the International Space Station Program,” stated agency representatives.
On June 16, NASA announced the upcoming SpaceX Crew-7 mission will launch Russian cosmonaut Konstantin Borisov alongside: NASA astronaut Jasmin Moghbeli, European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Andreas Mogensen, and astronaut Satoshi Furukawa from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). The crew will launch atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket aboard the Crew Dragon Endurance spacecraft from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The Crew-7 flight is currently scheduled for mid-August; it is SpaceX’s seventh operational ISS flight as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. SpaceX's Crew-5 and Crew-6 missions also gave a ride to a Russian cosmonaut to the orbiting laboratory.
It will be the first-ever spaceflight for Russian cosmonaut Konstantin Borisov who will serve as a mission specialist and has trained since 2018. It will also be the first trip to the ISS for NASA astronaut Jasmin Moghbeli who has been training for years as part of the agency’s 2017 Astronaut Candidate Class; she will serve as Crew-7 spacecraft commander. They will be guided by veteran ESA Astronaut Andreas Mogensen, who has extensive experience working in space and will serve as Crew-7 pilot. JAXA Astronaut Satoshi Furukawa is also an experienced flight engineer who has previously worked at the Space Station and will work as a mission specialist during the Crew-7 mission.
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Featured Image Source: NASA & SpaceX
About the Author
Evelyn Janeidy Arevalo
Evelyn J. Arevalo joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover news as a Space Journalist and SpaceX Starbase Texas Correspondent. Evelyn is specialized in rocketry and space exploration. The main topics she covers are SpaceX and NASA.