Three Russian cosmonauts left the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan today to join two fellow Russians, two Americans, and one German aboard the ISS. And while tensions are high between the three countries on Earth, NASA has high hopes that the astronauts can work together in space.
At a Glance
- Three Russian cosmonauts joined NASA astronauts on the International Space Station today.
- The new ISS members will take over for three crew members who will head home on March 30th.
- Despite tensions on Earth, relations are strong between countries who partner on ISS.
- However, the agency is working on contigency plans just in case.
- NASA believes the space organizations will continue to work together through the ongoing Russian invasion.
Russian Cosmonauts Have Cooperated with Americans on the ISS Since the Cold War
The Kazakhstan flight comes as two Russians and an American plan to head home at the end of the month. However, it also comes as international relations continue to deteriorate during the ongoing Russian invasion.
Here on Earth, boycotts and sanctions are hitting Russia from the US and members of NATO. But in outer space, things seem to be operating as usual.
And NASA Administrator Bill Nelson is optimistic that space relations will remain strong. Though, the administration is working on a backup plan just in case things go awry.
“The interesting thing is, even back in 1975 during the Soviet Union, the Cold War, we were able to have cooperation in civilian space with the Russians, in (the) Apollo-Soyuz (project). And that has continued,” he said today per CBS News.
According to Nelson, the fact that a new batch of cosmonauts is on their way to ISS to meet the U.S. astronauts is proof enough that there is a “professional relationship” in space travel and exploration efforts.
“It’s consistent, and it’s going to stay,” he added.
Russian Cosmonauts and NASA Astronauts Give Warm Welcomes As New Members Join ISS
And footage of the shuttle docking today showed that the ISS crewmembers agree with Nelson’s statements. NASA television captured the moment that the Russians joined their friends on the station. And everyone shared hugs, handshakes, and smiles during their greetings.
All ten people living on the station know each other from pre-flight training.
In 12 days, the three crew members set to leave the International Space Station will “handover” their spots to the new roommates. Oleg Artemyev, Denis Medvedev, and Sergey Korsakov will then take over for Anton Shkaplerov, Pyotr Dubrov, and Mark Vande Hei.
Last Tuesday, Vande Hei officially spend 340 days in space, which brake the U.S. record for single spaceflight. By the time he returns to Earth, he will have accumulated 355 days in the cosmos.