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article imageUS-Russia tensions won't affect outer space operations, NASA says

By Layne Weiss     Mar 5, 2014 in World
Tensions between the United States and Russia on Earth will not affect operations on the International Space Station, NASA chief Charlie Bolden said Tuesday.
NASA astronaut Mike Hopkins and Russian cosmonauts Oleg Kotov and Sergey Ryazanskiy are scheduled to fly back to Earth aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft Monday (March 10), Space.com reports.
In 2011, NASA retired the space shuttle fleet, and ever since, the US has depended on Russia to transport its astronauts to the International Space Station, according to Medill.
On Tuesday, in response to Russia's recent incursions into Ukraine, the US Department of Defense suspended its military-to-military operations with Russia.
But according to NASA officials, despite the issues affecting Russian-US relations, the crewmembers aboard the Russian Soyuz spacecraft will return home Monday. Tensions affecting the political climate on Earth will have no effect in outer space.
NASA chief Charlie Bolden pointed out that space station crews have had to deal with political turmoil like this before.
"I think people lose track of the fact that we have occupied the International Space Station now for 13 consecutive years uninterrupted, and that has been through multiple international crises," Bolden said during a news conference according to Space.com. "I don't think it's an insignificant fact that we're starting to see a number of people with the idea that the International Space Station be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. It's not trivial. It has continued to exist and continued to function with people from a variety of cultures and beliefs, but we all are focused on the mission of the International Space Station."
“Joint space exploration, historically, has risen above some of the political tensions of the moment,” NASA spokesman Bob Jacobs wrote in an email Wednesday according to Medill. “Leaders across the world have seen the value in the peaceful exploration of space and have not used it to establish a political position.”
More about Usrussian relations, Ukraine, NASA, International Space Station
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