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Russia threatens to pull out of space station partnership

Sharon Gaudin | May 15, 2014
Russia, a critical partner in the operation of the International Space Station, is threatening to stop its work on the station by 2020.

"We've had a longstanding relationship with Roscosmos for decades," Allard Beutel, NASA's news chief, told Computerworld on April 3. "It's in everyone's best interest to safely continue maintaining the space station. We won't do anything to disrupt that and we don't expect Russia will either."

Beutel, however, admitted that NASA does not have a specific plan in place if Russia at some point refuses to transport U.S. astronauts to or from the space station.

So far, Russia has upheld its commitment to transport international astronauts to the space station and back.

On Tuesday, a Russian Soyuz space capsule ferried back to Earth three astronauts — one Russian, one Japanese and one American — who had spent six months aboard the space station. The capsule landed safely in Kazakhstan.

Three more astronauts — an American, a Russian and one from the European Space Agency — are scheduled to launch onboard a Soyuz capsule on May 28.

Russia, the U.S., Europe, Japan, and Canada are the main countries cooperating to work on and manage the space station.

 

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