Russians will not ‘risk their lives’ on a US spacecraft

Russian cosmonauts will not fly on board US spacecraft because of safety concerns, according to Dmitry Rogozin, head of Russia’s national space agency Roscosmos. He added that they have not yet reached an agreement with NASA (the US national space agency) on sharing seats on each other’s ships.

Roscosmos: The Russians will not 'risk their lives' on the American spacecraft - 1

International Space Station ISS. (Photo: NASA/Getty)

Rogozin says NASA is pushing for a seat-sharing agreement because Americans don’t want it “spend their flying skills on Russian ships”. Under this initiative, the Russian Soyuz MS will carry an American and in return a Russian will get a seat on the American ship. NASA intends to make a six-month rotation between the ships of the privately owned American manufacturer, SpaceX’s Crew Dragon and Boeing’s Starliner.

However, according to Mr. Rogozin, the Starliner spacecraft is in “critical condition”.

“The first time it flew, it crashed. The second time it didn’t fly at all. The delay for the next launch lasted more than two years now. Now, they are trying to operate it again. But we certainly won’t put any of our astronauts on board, we can’t risk their lives.” he told the TV channel Rossiya 24.

Although Boeing successfully launched the first Starliner in December 2019, a software problem prevented it from docking at the ISS (International Space Station). In August 2021, the Starliner performed an unmanned test flight but had to stop it after the crews discovered a problem in the valve linked to the ship’s propulsion system. The ship’s next unmanned launch is scheduled for May 19.

Rogozin also claimed that the SpaceX ship had problems. “We believe in our ships… Major troubles are on the way on Musk’s ship, including a sewer failure… This is a life support system, no joke, It’s a matter of human health. If such problems continue to occur, it is very difficult for us to decide whether to have a rescheduled flight for the time being.”he said.

According to RTuntil recently, NASA has not been able to reach the ISS, but has relied on Russia for help since the landing of the space shuttle fleet in 2011. It has paid Roscosmos about $81 million per seat aboard Russia in 2018. In May 2020, the Crew Dragon, a reusable spacecraft developed by Elon Musk’s private company SpaceX, sent two Americans into space in a US-made vehicle. Released for the first time in 9 years.

In 2021, it was announced that Anna Kikina, the only woman in the Russian cosmonaut crew, could fly on SpaceX’s Crew Dragon, if a seat-sharing agreement was finalized. But the situation was “significant changes” since Russia began its military campaign in Ukraine, according to Rogozin. He mentioned sanctions from the US, adding that it is too early to make a decision on the program with NASA at the moment.

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