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Russian space chief: Sanctions could threaten the space station

Russian space program chief said Saturday that the International Space Station's future is in jeopardy after the United States and the European Union missed a deadline for meeting Russian demands to lift sanctions against Russian hardware and enterprises.

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Russian space chief: Sanctions could threaten the space station

Roscosmos' head Dmitry Rogozin told reporters that Roscosmos is currently preparing a report about the prospects for international cooperation at the station. This report will be presented to federal officials "after Roscosmos has finished its analysis."

Rogozin suggested on Russian state TV, that Western sanctions could affect the operation of Russian spacecraft servicing ISS cargo flights. Some of these sanctions predate Russia's current military operations against Ukraine. Russia also sends manned missions into the space station.

He stated that the Western partners are dependent on the space station, and said they "cannot manage the station without Russia" because Russia is the only one who can supply fuel for the station.

Rogozin stated that only the engines of the cargo craft were capable of correcting the orbit of the ISS, keeping it safe and free from space debris.

Rogozin wrote later Saturday on Telegram that he had received replies from Western counterparts promising to encourage "further cooperation on the ISS & its operations."

He reiterated that "the restoration and normal relations among partners in the ISS (and other joint (space), projects is possible only if the complete and unconditional removal" of sanctions was achieved, which he called illegal.

One of the last areas of cooperation between Moscow, Western countries and space is still available. When Russia launched its military operations in Ukraine last month it began negotiations with the United States and Russia to resume joint flights to the Space Station. This prompted unprecedented sanctions against Russian-linked entities.

The U.S., Russia and China have been cooperating in space so far. After a record 355 days at International Space Station, a NASA astronaut was able to board a Russian flight back to Earth with two cosmonauts.

Mark Vande Hei and the Russian Space Agency's Pyotr dubrov (who also spent the last year in space) landed in Soyuz capsules in Kazakhstan. After touchdown, wind blew the capsule on its side and the trio emerged in the afternoon sun.

Vande Hei returned home following the usual procedures. A small team of NASA doctors and other staff were present for Vande Hei's touchdown. They returned home with him immediately.


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