Bill Nelson said he didn’t want “this to stop.”
The cooperation between the United States and Russia in space is unique and exceptional, and it should not stop. This was stated in an interview published with the newspaper Politico, the head of NASA Bill Nelson, who previously held the first telephone conversations with the head of Roscosmos Dmitry Rogozin.
“If you talk to employees of the Russian space sector, they want this cooperation with the Americans to continue. So I talked to Rogozin about it. I said: “This is a unique relationship in which we can peacefully cooperate, no matter what kind of rivalry we have on Earth.” We are partners in space, and I don’t want this to stop,” Nelson said.
“We saw, for example, that quite recently they [Russia] had some kind of module that they are going to launch to the International Space Station, which, in my opinion, is a pretty good sign that they are not going to abandon it in four years,” the NASA director added.
“Our political sphere has become very tense. But where is the area in which we were able to cooperate? This [collaboration] has been going on since 1975 when an American spacecraft at the height of the Cold War met and docked with a Russian spacecraft, and the crews lived together for nine days. We’ve been working together ever since. We have exceptional cooperation,” Nelson said.
As Rogozin told earlier, he expects that NASA will form its position on cooperation with the Russian state corporation for the summit of the Russian Federation and the United States in Geneva, and will not be a “passive observer.” The head of Roscosmos said that Russia will be able to build plans for cooperation with the United States in space only after the lifting of US sanctions against Russian space industry enterprises.
Cooperation with China
The United States and China can cooperate in space and in view of the ban that was previously introduced at the legislative level in the United States, Nelson said.
He was asked about the possibility of US-Chinese cooperation in space. “There are areas where we need to cooperate and resolve the conflict in any possible orbits. We certainly need to cooperate in the fight against the orbital debris that could hit our space station, as well as the space station that they are taking out. There are areas where we can cooperate with China<… >, recognizing the restrictions imposed on us by the law, and recognizing also the reality that the Chinese are not very transparent,” the NASA director replied.
In the United States, at the legislative level, there is a ban on cooperation with China in the field of space exploration. At a congressional hearing, Nelson previously said that NASA would comply with it.
The Soyuz-Apollo experimental flight
On July 15 will mark 46 years since the start of the first joint space flight of ships from the two countries. Soviet cosmonauts Alexey Leonov and Valery Kubasov were on board Soyuz-19, while American astronauts Thomas Stafford, Vance Brand, and Donald Slayton flew on Apollo.
The docking of Soyuz-19 and Apollo took place two days later – on July 17, 1975, over Moscow, and the first space handshake of representatives of different countries – over the Elbe.