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Russia-US old space projects effective, new ones frozen over sanctions — expert

April 27, 2015, 13:37 UTC+3 WASHINGTON

Russian-US joint working group for Venus studies, set up in January 2014, has been suspended

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WASHINGTON, April 24. /TASS/. All Russian-US space projects that were launched several years ago remain effective, while new joint initiatives have been frozen due to sanctions and restrictions the United States has taken over the events in Ukraine, the director of the Space Research Institute, Vice-President of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Lev Zelyony, currently in Washington at the invitation of the US National Academy of Sciences, has told TASS in an interview.

He said that cooperation by Russian and US specialists under the ISS program, as well as a series of experiments related to studies of the neutron background of the Moon and Mars, were continuing successfully.

"Regrettably, all other projects are frozen," Zelyony said, adding that he was referring to the Russian-US joint working group for Venus studies, set up in January 2014.

"That planet has now been pushed to the sidelines of space research, because all eyes are now riveted to Mars and the Moon. In the meantime, Venus is a very enigmatic planet, too, with quite a few thrilling features," he said. "The joint group for Venus studies was created, but its first session failed to take place. The group is frozen. So are other new initiatives."

At the same time "the projects that have been already in progress for some time will be continued. There have been no encroachments against them," Zelyony said. In the first place this applies to the ISS program. Russia and the United States have agreed to keep it at least until 2024.

"The station is a scene of ever more remarkable fundamental experiments," he said. "There has been a discussion over the possibility of making preparations for experiments jointly to rule out a situation where the Russian and US research modules would be pushing ahead with their own research without knowing what the other was doing. A format for starting a discussion of joint projects and cooperation was created. NASA counterparts welcomed this. They are interested in the station’s further operation. I believe this will be of interest to our scientists, too.".

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