A Soyuz rocket unites the United States and Russia on board, en route to the ISS

SPACE – An American astronaut and two Russian cosmonauts took off on Wednesday, September 21 for the International Space Station (ISS), a trip that represents a rare sign of cooperation in the midst of tensions linked to the offensive in Ukraine.

Nasa’s Frank Rubio and Sergei Prokopiev and Dmitry Peteline of Russia’s Roscosmos space agency blasted off aboard a Soyuz rocket from Russia’s Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 3:54 p.m. (Paris time) .

Frank Rubio is the first American astronaut to travel to the ISS on a Russian rocket since troops from Moscow began entering Ukraine on February 24. The West has meanwhile adopted a series of unprecedented sanctions against Moscow. The space industry was also targeted, but space remained, somehow, an area of ​​cooperation between Moscow and Washington.

Stay away from conflict on Earth

After Wednesday’s flight, Anna Kikina, Russia’s only female cosmonaut in active service, is due to travel to the orbital laboratory for the first time in early October aboard a Crew Dragon rocket from the American company SpaceX. She will be the fifth Russian female professional cosmonaut to go into space, and the first woman to fly aboard a ship from billionaire Elon Musk’s firm.

With these two planned flights, the astronauts and cosmonauts of each country, in particular those having to go into orbit, wanted to stay away from the tensions caused by the conflict which rages on Earth. The result of a collaboration between the United States, Canada, Japan, the European Space Agency and Russia, the ISS is divided into two segments: one American and one Russian.

The ISS currently depends on a Russian propulsion system to maintain its orbit, some 400 kilometers above sea level, while the American segment handles electricity and life support systems.

Moscow wants to leave the ISS

Space tensions rose after Washington announced sanctions against Russia’s aerospace industry, prompting warnings from Russia’s former space chief and unconditional supporter of the intervention in Ukraine, Dmitry Rogozine.

Dmitry Rogozin’s recently appointed successor, Yuri Borissov, later confirmed Russia’s decision to leave the ISS after 2024 in favor of creating its own orbital station. However, he has not set a specific date. The US space agency called the decision a “unfortunate development” that will hamper scientific work on the ISS, launched in 1998 at a time of hope for cooperation between the United States and Russia.

See also on The HuffPost:

Leave a Comment