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MOSCOW, April 11. /ITAR-TASS/. The European Space Agency (ESA) will not limit its space cooperation with Russia as it has earlier been done by the US National Aeronautics and Space Agency (NASA), Russian Federal Space Agency deputy head Sergey Saveliev told a teleconference at ITAR-TASS ahead of Cosmonautics Day marked in Russia on April 12.
“There will be no sanctions from European partners,” he said. “On the contrary, there are plans to expand our cooperation.”
Saveliev recalled that ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst will launch as a member of an international crew aboard a Soyuz spacecraft from Kazakhstan’s Baikonur cosmodrome on May 28 to begin a six-month mission aboard the International Space Station.
“A large delegation from the European Space Agency is expected at Baikonur,” he added.
Last week, the US space agency posted on its Twitter and Facebook accounts a statement announcing the suspension of cooperation with Russia in an apparent move of siding with Washington administration’s sanctions in regard to Moscow over the situation in Ukraine.
NASA’s decision to suspend the majority of space cooperation projects with Russia was accepted not only with bewilderment among Russian space experts, but also drew criticism inside the US space agency as well. A number of Russian space experts remarked that the suspension of cooperation would be to the detriment of NASA itself.
Speaking about these sanctions against Russia, the Roscosmos official said: “We depend on each other to a large extent. This (NASA sanctions) is an incautious step.