Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Russia, US to Continue Cooperation in Manned Space Programs After Crew Dragon’s Launch

Crew Dragon launch. Credit: SpaceX

Russia and the United States will continue cooperation in manned and resupply space programs after the launch of the US Crew Dragon spacecraft to the International Space Station (ISS), spokesman for Russia’s State Space Corporation Roscosmos Vladimir Ustimenko told TASS on Monday.

The Crew Dragon spacecraft developed by SpaceX was launched to the orbital outpost on March 2 and docked for the first time to the space station on March 3. The spacecraft is expected to undock on March 8 and splash down in the Atlantic Ocean after its descent by the parachute.

If the spacecraft’s descent proceeds in a normal regime, it will travel to the orbital outpost with NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley on its board in July. After that, NASA will make a decision on certifying the Crew Dragon for regular flights to the ISS.

"The negotiations [on cooperation] with NASA are now underway. Both organizations are interested in further cooperation. This cooperation will continue both in manned and resupply programs and on the ISS," the Roscosmos spokesman said.

In the future, cosmonauts and astronauts will be able to fly aboard both Russia’s Soyuz and US spacecraft. The talks on this issue are currently in their "active phase" but no specific agreement has been reached yet, the spokesman said.

Roscosmos Executive Director for Manned Programs Sergei Krikalyov earlier told TASS that the Crew Dragon should undergo tests and comply with safety and reliability requirements before Russian cosmonauts can travel aboard it.

Only Russian Soyuz spacecraft have been used since 2011 to deliver cosmonauts, astronauts from the United States and other countries to the ISS. In the United States, SpaceX and Boeing are developing new spacecraft for manned flights.

Credit: TASS

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