Cosmonauts Reach Space Station After Russian Warning

NASA administrator plays down comment about supplying rocket engines
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 18, 2022 5:05 PM CDT
Cosmonauts Reach Space Station After Russian Warning
In a photo released by Roscosmos Space Agency, chief Dmitry Rogozin speaks with the Russian cosmonauts Friday.   (Roscosmos Space Agency via AP)

A trio of Russian cosmonauts arrived at the International Space Station on Friday, the first new faces in space since the start of the Russian war in Ukraine. Russian space corporation Roscosmos cosmonauts Oleg Artemyev, Denis Matveyev and Sergey Korsakov blasted off successfully from the Russia-leased Baikonur launch facility in Kazakhstan in their Soyuz MS-21 spacecraft at 11:55am EDT Friday. They smoothly docked at the station just over three hours later, joining two Russians, four Americans, and a German on the orbiting outpost, the AP reports.

The blastoff marked the first space crew launch since Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24. The war has resulted in canceled spacecraft launches and broken contracts. Roscosmos chief Dmitry Rogozin has warned that the US would have to use "broomsticks" to fly into space after Russia said it would stop supplying rocket engines to US companies. Many worry that Rogozin is putting decades of a peaceful off-planet partnership at risk, most notably at the International Space Station. NASA Administrator Bill Nelson played down Rogozin’s comments, saying: "That’s just Dmitry Rogozin. He spouts off every now and then. But at the end of the day, he's worked with us."

On Thursday, the European Space Agency confirmed that it is indefinitely suspending its ExoMars rover mission with Roscosmos because of Russia’s war in Ukraine, per the AP. NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei—who on Tuesday broke the US single spaceflight record of 340 days—is due to leave the International Space Station with two Russians aboard a Soyuz capsule for a touchdown in Kazakhstan on March 30. In April, another three NASA and one Italian astronaut are set to blast off for the space station.

(Read more International Space Station stories.)

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