SpaceX will fly Russian cosmonauts to the ISS under new NASA deal with Russia’s space agency
NASA’s deal with Roscosmos means SpaceX will launch Russian cosmonauts to the ISS this year.
In September, Anna Kikina will be the first Russian to launch on SpaceX’s Crew Dragon, per Reuters.
Meanwhile, US astronaut Frank Rubio will fly from Russia’s Cosmodrome launch site, NASA told Reuters.
Elon Musk’s SpaceX is set to fly Russian cosmonauts to the International Space Station (ISS) this year under a new NASA deal with Russia’s space agency, Roscosmos, according to Reuters.
NASA and Roscosmos told Reuters on Friday they have signed an agreement to exchange flights to the ISS. This means that US astronauts will be able to fly to Russia’s Soyuz, while cosmonauts ride on American rockets.
“Flying integrated crews ensures there are appropriately trained crew members on board the station for essential maintenance and spacewalks,” NASA said in a statement to Reuters.
NASA told Reuters the first flights under the new deal will launch in September. US astronaut Frank Rubio will fly from Russia’s Cosmodrome launch site in Kazakhstan to the ISS, NASA told the publication. In exchange, cosmonaut Anna Kikina will launch on SpaceX’s Crew Dragon from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, it added.
Kikina will be the first Russian to travel in the Crew Dragon capsule, which has so far visited the ISS 31 times. Crew Dragon started flying to the ISS in 2020 after the US Space Shuttle Program ended and NASA relied on Soyuz rockets to send its astronauts to and from the space laboratory.
“The agreement is in the interests of Russia and the United States and will promote the development of cooperation within the framework of the ISS program,” Roscosmos said in a statement to Reuters. The agency also said it will allow for the “exploration of outer space for peaceful purposes.”
The agreement follows Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues, leading to tensions between the White House and the Kremlin.
SpaceX, NASA, and Roscosmos didn’t immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
Not long after the deal was announced, Russian President Vladimir Putin fired Dmitry Rogozin as Russia’s space chief, the Kremlin announced on Friday. There was no reason given for his dismissal. Yuriy Borisov, who was recently dismissed as deputy prime minister, was announced as the replacement for Rogozin.
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