Today at 15.54 Norwegian time, three cosmonauts took off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
American Frank Rubio sat in the rocket with Russian Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitry Petlin.
In doing so, Rubio became the first American to go to the International Space Station since Putin started the war in Ukraine on February 24 of this year.
– This is a very important task. Cooperation with Roskosmos (Russian Space Agency, ed.) is good. Rubio added: I have become a good friend of my Russian colleagues Newsweek 2 weeks ago
After a three-hour flight, the trio arrived at the International Space Station around 19 – Norwegian time.
The three astronauts will run the space station for six months. They appear to be among the last to have the chance to visit the International Space Station.
– I think it’s important that when there are high tensions elsewhere, that we continue to collaborate on space travel. Rubio said of the trip that it is a form of diplomacy and partnership where we can find common interests and accomplish great things together.
After President Vladimir Putin started the war in Ukraine, relations with the United States and the West were catastrophically bad, and many feared that this would have consequences for space cooperation.
Russia announce At the end of July, they will withdraw from the station from 2024. They will focus on building their own station.
The end of 26 years of collaboration
Russia’s withdrawal from the International Space Station marks the end of a 26-year-old collaborative project between five different space agencies:
- NASA (USA).
- Roscosmos (Russia).
- European Space Agency (ESA) (Europe, including Norway).
- Japan Aerospace Research Organization JAXA.
- Canadian Space Agency CSA.
Since 1998, the 109-meter-wide spacecraft has welcomed more than 250 astronauts from 20 different countries.
Space X will send four new astronauts in October
Rubio, Prokopyev and Betlin will be joined by four more cosmonauts early next month.
Among those four are two American NASA astronauts, a Japanese female astronaut, and a Russian female astronaut, Anna Kikina.
Kekina is Russia’s only active female cosmonaut. She became the fifth woman from Russia and the former Soviet Union to visit the International Space Station.
The group will travel to the International Space Station aboard a SpaceX Crew Dragon rocket in early October. Then the launch will take place in Cape Canaveral, Florida.
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