The crew, led by veteran cosmonaut Oleg Artemiev, along with Denis Matvesev and Sergei Korsakov, took off at 15:55 GMT for a three-hour flight to the ISS, where they would meet a team of two Russians, four Americans and one German, according to images transmitted by NASA.
Until recently, space cooperation between Russia and the West was one of the few areas that did not suffer much from sanctions imposed against Moscow after Crimea’s annexation of the Ukrainian peninsula in 2014. However, some tensions had arisen, especially after Russian President Vladimir Putin appointed nationalist Dmitry Rogozin to head the Russian space agency Roscosmos in 2018.
The latter regularly shows its support for “a special military operation” to Russia in Ukraine and has claimed that the recently introduced Western sanctions against Moscow could lead to the collapse of the ISS.
Suspension of ExoMars
“At the moment, there is no indication that our Russian allies want to do things differently. That’s why we plan to continue operating as we do today.”
In the latest bottleneck in space cooperation, the European Space Agency (ESA) announced on Thursday that it has suspended the Russian-European ExoMars mission and is exploring options for the launch of four more missions due to the offensive in Ukraine. Dmitry Rogozin criticized “a very bitter event” and said that Russia could carry out this mission on its own “in a few years”.
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